I finally went to see the film version of The Dark is Rising, today. Called “The Seeker: The Dark is Rising” it is based on Susan Cooper’s book. I have never read that book, and will not be doing as others are and attacking the film for being “different” from the source material.
Just to give you all a glimpse as to where I stand on book-to-screen adaptations, I feel that changes must be made almost 100% of the time. If changes are made, they should be to the benefit of the film, so long as the essence of the story is there. A few of the greatest films of all time are based on books. The Lord of the Rings has many changes, but is my favorite film of all time. The Shawshank Redemption started out as a short story by Stephen King… yes, THAT Stephen King. He also wrote The Green Mile. If I’m not mistaken, The Godfather was originally a book as well.
Some great films had their start as books and were nearly identical to the book to great effect. Big Fish was very close, save for one rather LARGE detail. The film is stronger than the book because of that, thanks to Tim Burton. However, others are created as nearly exact duplicates which has been a hinderance on the story. Harry Potter 1 and 2 for example. Having not read any of the Harry Potter books but the seventh, the films have bored me. The only ones I’ve enjoyed have been Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. But I understand they are missing things from the books.. but I didn’t notice, and really had a good time at the movies.
This brings us to The Seeker. In the last few months and weeks I’ve heard people complaining about the film, sight unseen. I opted not to read the book, knowing that so much would be changed, and came out of the theatre satisfied with what I had just seen.
The story starts with young Will Stanton as he’s getting out of school for the day and he notices the new girl, who smiles in his direction. His brothers kinda hassle him a little but his kid sister sits by him, looking up to him. He comes from a large family and has five brothers and a sister (awesome!). The beginning is somewhat confusing, as the mysteries are unveiled in mere shadows and glimpses. I figured that all would be revealed with time, and was not disappointed.
Will’s family is adequately dysfunctional, as they’ve just moved to Europe from America and seem to cope with the move by leaning on one another and acting like families do.
The villain of the story seems to have control over the elements, and the signs that the seeker is after were all created with the elements. I would say more, but I’d give all of it away, and I don’t want to do that. I will say this, though: There were some storytelling elements that remained confusing as the film went on. It became a little hard to follow and there were some things that just seemed to fall into the Seeker’s hands. He is the Seeker, but there should have been a bit more of an explanation for how he followed the clues. Instead sometimes it would appear to be random chance.
Sometimes the movie really surprised me by hinting at something and having it turn out differently than I thought, which pleased me.
I know that this is not a very complete review, as I am used to writing, but a lot happened between when I saw the movie and when I started writing this review.
All in all, I think the movie was very entertaining and got a very complex story across in a very concise manner. It might be different from the book.. I wouldn’t know.. but what I do know is that the film did its’ job and intrigued me about the world that I might find if I read the books. And that is the important thing, and what I’ve heard the filmmakers intended. They wanted to create a film that makes you want to read the books, and this film does just that. It introduces you to the characters (however different) and gives you just enough mystery that you want to have more time with them. And just as you think you’ll get more time, the door closes and the movie is over.
I’ll give it a 7.5 out of 10.