The Dark is Rising

  • 2007-10-24
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon

NEED A LIGHT, BABY? Like any self-respecting 14-year-old, Will uses his powers to impress girls rather than to fight evil.

Director: David Cunningham

"The Dark is Rising" is yet another adventure film in a recent string of Tolkienesque fantasy movies that pits those age-old adversaries of good and evil against each other.
The trouble with it is that it doesn't work particularly well either as a children's movie or as a film for adults. The numerous plot holes and extremely cheesy dialogue will certainly turn off adult audiences, and the formulaic plot makes it abundantly clear what will happen after every development. For kids, a few of the scenes might be a bit too scary, although at least there isn't any gore.

Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) is an American boy who has been living in Britain for about a year. Shortly after his 14th birthday, he is attacked by some sort of evil crow monsters. As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that young Stanton is "The Seeker" 's the chosen one who will lead the "Old Ones," a group of immortal warriors, in an ultimate battle between the light and darkness.
Will has a number of super powers, including the ability to control fire, move objects with his mind and travel through time, not to mention a healthy dose of super strength. He seems to have derived these powers from the arbitrary fact that he is the seventh son of a seventh son and was coincidentally born on the winter solstice.

He never uses any of his extraordinary talents in the war against darkness, however, instead relying on them to win fights with his older brothers and to try and impress a cute witch.
Will is not entirely comfortable with his newfound powers or shouldering the responsibility of saving the world, as is demonstrated in a particularly cheesy conversation he has with Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane), the leader of the Old Ones. "How can I save the world when I can't even talk to a girl," our modest young hero complains.
The movie comes to an over-the-top head with an utterly predictable ending which follows an extremely disappointing final battle. There is absolutely nothing here that hasn't already been done far better in other fantasy adventure films.
The performances aren't all that bad considering the awfulness of the dialogue and the fact that the characters border uncomfortably on the edge of ludicrous caricatures. The special effects are at least impressive though, with a great deal of dizzying camerawork and beautifully rendered waves of darkness enveloping a city.

Now playing in Latvia. Opens in Estonia and Lithuania Oct. 26

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