The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Superficially enjoyable 'The Seeker' is nothing special

Based on the second book of the kid-lit series by Susan Cooper, "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising," isn't really that bad. With the recent success of certain fantasy movies, the inevitable slew of mediocre peer films has begun clogging your local box office. Just before Christmas, in a quaint English town, 14-year-old Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) realizes that with his recent birthday he's gained some interesting abilities. Naturally, with great power comes great responsibility, and Will must find six signs of light to fight an impending darkness. Now, there's no way to get around comparing this film to the Harry Potter movies, so let's not avoid the obvious. Whether you like them or not, the Harry Potter films take a ridiculously imaginative world and make it very accessible. "The Seeker", on the other hand, has a much harder time with this concept. The film makes it clear that Cooper's literature series illustrates a deep and creative world. And successful book-to-movie translations have shown that while you can't fit everything into a movie, what you choose to add and what you choose to leave out is crucial. "The Seeker" tries to cram loads of lore into 100 minutes of movie. Director David L. Cunningham is unsuccessful at giving the audience a simple snapshot of another world and integrating a compelling story within that framework. On that note, the presentation of the film is pretty well done. Ludwig has real talent and convincingly portrays a confused youth with powers and a perilous quest. The Rider (Christopher Eccleston), Will's arch-nemesis and the bringer of all that is dark, adds some surprising humor and variety as he switches between his roles as apocalyptic bad guy and the outwardly cheerful town doctor. It's hard to feel there's anything special about this film, and it can't help but seem a little goofy at times, but "The Seeker" avoids the painful execution of similar works ("Eragon," for example). Difficulty in integrating a lot of fantastical information into a believable story line hinders this film from being anything other than another mediocre fantasy movie. But kids will love a story that gives them hope that those superpowers they can't quite harness might be waiting for their 14th birthdays. And post-pubescent viewers will be surprised not to find themselves rolling their eyes throughout the film - and might actually enjoy it. Even if they don't want to admit it. Contact the Diversions Editor at


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