Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Seeker The rise of the Dark

The Seeker, the Dark is Rising is fantasy film involving young people based on the second of five book series by Susan Cooper. The films is self contained so that knowledge of the books would have added to enjoyment but is not essential.

Will Stanton believes he is the youngest of six sons and a sister in a family who live in an unusually designed house in a country town. just outside greater London. He, his sister and older brothers are excited as they leave school for the start of the Christmas holiday which is also the time of his birthday.

He notes a girl on the bus who appears interested in him and when she leaves the bus without scarf he tries to attract her attention and failing this takes hold of the scarf. The girl appears older. All the members of the family are reunited with the exception of one son who is in the Navy and who contacts via the internet video link. The return of another son results in Will being sent up to the attic as a temporary bedroom. The brothers are normal young men. His father appears self absorbed and troubled.

On their way home the Lady of the Manor and her assistant (Ian McShane) invite the young people to a Christmas Party and two local farmers who are undertaking some work on a building comment about the weather while appearing to be keeping the boy under surveillance.

His little sister is the only one of the siblings to provide him with a good birthday present so he goes to the local shopping centre to buy her a gift and buys an unusual stone pendant for her. He is approached by two men dressed as security guards who claim he has stolen the item and they quickly emerge not to be what they seem but somehow he manages to escape their clutches with the emergence of latent powers which make him feel odd and different. When he tries to explain his concerns to his father these are dismissed as adolescent problems which he should discuss with his older brothers.

At the Christmas party at he Manor House Will sees the girl from the bus and is upset when an older brother cuts him out and arranges to date the girl. There is discussion between the Lady of the Manor, McShane and the two farmers whether it is time to explain to Will his position and destiny. They decide to hold back as the boy is troubled but when he leaves he is chased by two ferocious black dogs and a rider on horseback, played by Christopher Eccleston of Dr Who fame and also the classical theatre actor.

The four from the Manor have followed and intervene. The Dark rider demands possession of objects which he believes Will has and which could prevent him rising to great power in the world within five days. The four escort Will through time to what is a great Hall and in present time the Church which the family worship. They explain that they are the last of the old ones. Will is the last of the Old Ones and the one who can stop the Rider as the seventh son of the seventh son.

I knew a family of seven sons of seven sons as well as my own ancestors one of whom the grandfather of my mother was the sixth of seven sons all born in succession. The family I knew were political and I have his painting of Durham Cathedral in my home created by one.
In the film and book Will explains that he is the youngest of six and not seven, a fact which he establishes is not so when he returns home and learns that he had a twin brother who disappeared and which the parents have been unable to talk about since.

The four explain to Will the nature of powers as the trheyr commence on his fourteenth birthday and in order to stop the Dark he must quickly locate the six signs which the Dark is also after to stop him. Will falls and twists his ankle on returning home the doctor who calls is none other that the Dark demanding the Signs and threatening the rest of he family if he refuses to join him.

Will is instructed in the extent of his powers which include summoning great strength to combat forces assembled against him and which involves control of light and fire, telekinesis, time travel and the ability to decipher an ancient text, The Book of Gramarye.

He returns to Great Hall to learn the nature of the Signs, one of which is the pendant he acquired for his sister on the visit to the Shopping Mall and which the men from whom he escaped were after. It is around this time that we learn that the girl on the bus and who became the girl friend of an older brother is in fact a witch working for the Rider in exchange for her remaining a youthful beauty. Will has to use his powers to prevent the influence of the witch over his family. Eventually despite his emotional attachment to the witch in the form of the girl he is able to break her power and she becomes her true age and appears to disintegrate.

As the struggle between the two intensifies the Rider launches an attack on the village and the family home with a great blizzard and extreme cold. Will then faces his greatest challenge as the Rider impersonates his father and mother and offers to reunite with his twin if he surrenders powers. In addition to the pendant he has worked out that that the second is a skull of the creator of the signs inside the church/great Hall from the 14 century. There is Viking Shield used to attack village which he is able to acquire by trading the watch given to him by his sister for his birthday. The is a feather on the sign of the local Inn which dates from the late 17th century and when the Manor is underwater when the snow turn to water and he ends the life and power of the witch. The final sign is the power within himself his soul.

Having understood the signs he becomes untouchable and is able to rescue his twin brother who the Rider had mistook for Will and imprisoned in glass sphere and which in turn Will now imprisons the Rider, returning to his family with his twin brother.

I have no information if there are to be other films. It is noteworthy that there are similarities between Will and Harry Potter with both boys unaware of their powers and their destiny against he forces of the dark until had there childhood and adolescences is over. Both have supernatural powers as the forces aligned against them and both have those who, understand and support. However the way the stories have been brought to life, and the level of acting and the concept of using the same trio of Harry and his two friends is difference between on become an internal legend with incredible financial success and the other comparatively unknown.

Talking of Harry Potter it is noteworthy that the completion of his film series failed to get recognition at him Oscars in the same way that recognition was given to the Lord of Rings. And talking of the Lord of the Rings the first of at least two Hobbit films appears on screen later this year in time for Christmas and in 3D.

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