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Movie Review

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising a.k.a. “Los Seis signos de la luz,” “Wintersonnenwende—Die Jagd nach den sechs Zeichen des Lichts,” “Pimeä nousee,” “Os Seis Signos da Luz,” “I Anatoli tou Skotous,” “Pimedus kerkib,” “Les Portes du temps,” “Il Risveglio delle tenebre”

MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action and some scary images

Reviewed by: Andreana Hartbarger
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Drama, Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
October 5, 2007 (wide)
DVD release: March 18, 2008
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Copyright, 20th Century Fox
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Ian McShane, Frances Conroy, Christopher Eccleston, Alexander Ludwig, Jonathan Jackson, Amelia Warner, Gregory Smith, Emma Lockhart, Gary Entin, Edmond Entin, John Benjamin Hickey, Wendy Crewson
Director: David L. Cunningham
Producer: Marc Platt, Ron Schmidt
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

This film is based on Susan Cooper’s novel The Dark Is Rising.

“Even the smallest of light… shines in the darkness”

Fantasy films have erupted since 2000. With our new technology for movie effects also comes a new idea to how realistic they can appear. “The Seeker” is no exception to this statistical fact. However, unlike MANY previous fantasy movies that are said to be “meant” for children audiences, this actually is.

The story starts out with a 14 year-old boy, Will Stanton. Will’s a typical teenage boy who has an extreme doubt in himself and his bravery. We see that he wants his family to love him very badly, but they act as if they never have time for him. Even despite this, he never stops helping and loving them.

When he finds out that he is the newest member of a group called “The Old Ones,” he gets more than he bargained for.

“The Old Ones” are powerful guardians and warriors who fight against darkness. They put their whole lives toward protecting the world from the Dark. The “Dark” is revealed to be an extremely evil and cruel demon of a sort, named “The Rider.” As it goes, the rider travels around spreading chaotic doing’s to the world with dark magic. When it comes to bad guys, I’ve got to admit, the rider was a very scary one. He posses Will’s brother in one scene, changes the weather, and creates dark monster. Through this story, Will starts to mature. He decides to save the ones he loves from their coming doom by searching for six magical items. These are called, “The Signs,” and he thinks that they will help him defeat the Dark Rider.

When the uncertain and caring Will finally has to fight the Dark Rider, he is willing to sacrifice his own life to do so.

So, what IS appropriate for our children these days? Is it those horror movies that teach our children it’s “okay” to show gore and violence. What about the romances that confuse kids on what love truly means, and makes an impression in their teen years? Oh, and we can’t forget all the “cool” reality movies, where girls only matter if they flirt with guys and are cheerleaders, and boys are only attractive if they wear name brand clothes and belong to a sports team. Many parents pretend it isn’t there; the gossip, the flirting, the violence, and the obvious disrespect shown for parents in movies today. And the worst part is, adults are the ones making these movies that make teens turn to material things.

Positive points

-If you look at this movie for it’s morals, then you won’t be disappointed. Will makes remarks like, “I’m no superhero!” Will exclaims. “I can’t even figure out how to talk to a girl.” He IS scared of failing. He isn’t perfect! He needs help like anyone else.

-Will loves his family. He risks everything for them, even when they don’t always return his love. We see strong sibling bonds with him and his brother and sister. His brother carries guilt with a shameful secret, and because of that, is possesed by the Dark Rider. When Will sees him, we hear him tell his brother, “You don’t have to deal with it alone. Your family loves you.” Even his not-so-perfect parents release their past guilt by the end and show a strong love for their children. (Alas, finally some respect for parents!)

-There is one message that stands above them all in this story; the one of good and evil. We constantly see the darkness taunt, bring destruction, and carry great temptation to the weak people, which is everyone. The Old Ones are always talking of peace, truth, justice, and light. A lady once comments to Will, “I believe in you, you will carry the power of light.” In the end Will, magic can’t help him, only his heart can fight against the darkness.

-This isn’t a Harry Potter type movie (I myself am against the Harry Potter movies). “We serve the Light,” the Old Ones tell Will. “The Rider serves the Dark.” Aka, good is good, and bad is bad. There is NO in between or gray lines.

Negative points

-I conted two exlamations of, 'Oh my God!'

-In one brief scene we see Will’s parents sipping what appears to be wine.

-This is a PG movie and therefore has suspense and action that would probably be frightening to younger children.

Overall, I say this is an exellent movie that teaches children lessons not taught in school. I recently learned that the director is David Cunningham, the founder of “Youth with a Mission,” the Christian ministry. Even if the director wasn’t christian I’m sure this movie would have delivered the same messages that it did when I just now saw it. We need to stop our children from watching the blurred lines of movies like “Harry Potter,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” and other dark fantasies. Some good fantasies for kids(that are actually appropraite AND have a few morals) are: “Eragon,” “Nanny McPhee,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Night at The Museum,” and “Peter Pan” (live action). If you like fantasy films, then I doubt you’ll regret taking your kids to see “The Seeker.”

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—There’s no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than at a theater watching an amazing action/fantasy film. When the film is almost spotlessly clean, it’s a double pleasure. The Seeker delivers. Hardcore fantasy fanatics may find the film a bit tame; after all, the plot is simple and straightforward, and the magical creatures are limited to ravens and snakes controlled by the forces of darkness. But look past the children’s-movie generalizations and what you have is a fun, moral, clean movie about the clash between light and darkness and the boy caught in the middle. I was blown away by the cinematography alone; intriguing and unusual camera angles and tricks make The Seeker one of the most visually beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. The special effects were far superior to what I expected, and the locations were incredibly detailed and realistic (or mystical, depending on the setting).

Of course, violence abounds, but the majority of it is limited to chase sequences. Those scenes may frighten younger children, especially one memorable scene involving two security guards. On the plus side, Will adores his family and that fact is made obvious throughout the film. I heard no profanity whatsoever, and the “sexual” content was limited to Will’s infatuation with a beautiful girl; they never even held hands. There are no overt Christian themes in the film, but Will’s love for his family and his willingness to go out of his way to save the world in spite of temptations that are thrown his way speak to how our lives should be lived. The decision to go see this movie was a spontaneous one, but I’m very glad I decided to go. The complex cinematography more than made up for the simple storyline, and it was refreshing to see a modern 14-year-old boy portrayed as positively as Will was. I more than recommend this movie to families and even young adults my age.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Rachel Davidson, age 19
Positive—“Seeker: The Dark is Rising” was very good in terms of morality. Will and his allies get their superpowers from “The Light,” while they fight Rider, who is “The dark of this world”. I think a few characters drink some alcohol, but no one is ever stone drunk, so that’s a plus; moderate drinking does not offend me, at all. Will does have a crush on a girl (who secretly works for Rider), but he never lusts after her; his crush appears to be an innocent school-boy crush. Maggie reminds me of the teaching that Satan can masquerade as an angel of light, and Will is clearly tempted to listen to her candy-coated deceit near the end, yet he beautifully denies her a foothold and refuses temptation. Max Stanton confesses to his understanding father that he dropped out of school; this glorifies honesty, godly regret, and a desire to work things out.

Moral problems: Will’s brothers can be a bit bullying and forget how old he turns (14, one of them gives him a 13 card), but they clearly love him. When Will and Max fight in the 1620s after being warped there, they stumble upon a chicken fight; I did not like this, but I did not think it was worth loathing the movie over. Also, a skeleton (Thomas Stanton, the original leader of the Light’s followers) saves Will from a deadly snake, though this can appear to be miraculous, rather than occult. Another moment that slightly raised an eyebrow for me is after Rider’s defeat, the Light’s followers say the battle between good and evil is never over, but today is a good day;

In reality, the day Christ sends Satan to eternally burn in the lake of fire, evil is vanquished. I did not like this line too much (I certainly don’t agree with it, sans the good day part), but at the same time, fantasy is not reality. Let me be clear: Will is not a perfect allegory to Christ, at all, but he is definitely a perfect allegory to anyone who is a child of God; he matures, faces temptation, learns from his mistakes, and ultimately scares Rider away (who is a perfect allegory of Satan in so many ways). I recommend this movie to anyone 9 and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Overall, this movie was enjoyable and a good reflection of the never ending battle between good and evil. I liked the special effects and most of the acting. However, if you want a much better story—read the book, in fact, read the entire series. To a viewer who has never read the book, this movie will probably be enjoyable, especially the kids. The changes made the plot seem a bit light and contrived instead of the showing the richness of the original story. I feel that Walden Media should have kept more of the Arthurian / Celtic elements in the movie and that would have made a better story. They did such an excellent job with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” that I was disappointed that they didn’t do the same job with this book.

I was, however, somewhat disappointed by some of the many changes that were made. A few of the changes didn’t bother me, but there were several that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. I can see changing Will’s age from 11 to 14 (though I didn’t like it) because they wanted to show Will being attracted to a girl, who was really a very minor character in the book. But was it really necessary to change Will’s country of origin—there are many fine British actors that could have done justice to the movie. Also, getting rid of two of Wills sisters, not having him be the youngest child—there was no reason for these as well as other things to be changed (I don’t want to mention the others because they would be spoilers for the movie.

Still as movies go, there are so many bad movies that it was refreshing to see one that had little to object to. If you have children, take them to this movie—it is a good way to spend an afternoon and much better than many other movies that are out there aimed for children.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Elisa, age adult
Positive—I thought this was a great family fantasy movie. Some elements may frighten very young children, however I did not see anything objectionable or excessive. The only negative is that, at least to me, the film did seem to start out a bit slow, and from the comments of the other maybe this is because of the chages that were made from the book, but it didn’t take long to become very interesting to everyone in my family—children and adults alike.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Angela, age 29
Positive—My wife and I watched it and thought it was a good movie. My 8 yr old son watched it and thought it was GREAT! It wasn’t quite as good as Narnia, but we enjoyed it very much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Dallas, age 37
Negative
Negative—This movie was nothing like the book. It eliminated the pre-Christian arthurian elements that make the books even remotely exciting. Changing Wills country of origin was just so unnecessary and just pandering to americans. This is fine for young kids, but, as a 23 year old, I will not pander my tastes to the youngest person in the room. Give me some complexity along the lines of a Crime and Punishment or heck even Harry Potter for some ambiguity that requires some thought. For adults alone avoid. Children go ahead just beware Will has some supernatural powers that greatly rival that of Harry Potters
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Stephanie Hawkins, age 23
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie is great! I have read the novel this book is based off of and while it deviated from it a lot (which I found without reason), I found the movie itself to be wonderful. Christopher Eccleston as the Rider was great and showed that not all villains look evil. There were a lot of Christian truths to this movie, and I recommend for everyone to read the novel. I highly doubt this film will receive a negative review.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Daniel Counterman, age 13
Positive—This was a very cool movie; my whole family went to see it and even my 7 year old brother was not scared, but other little kids might be. It wasn’t too scary and easy to follow, and the “bad guy” was really cool. I liked it a lot!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Kelsie, age 12
Positive—I loved it! Although it was a major rip off of the 7th book in the Harry Potter series. I went to see it with my friend Libby and we were fawning over the character Max Staten the whole time! It was brilliant but probably appropriate for 9+. There was one part… maybe 2 that kinda freaked me out. Like the Skeleton and the part where this pretty lady turns into a creepy shriveled up thing. But other than that it was an excellent movie and the graphics were great and there was a lot of action, and I was never bored! 2 thumbs up!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Emily, age 12
Positive—I think it was an exellent movie, even though his family ignores him in away he still loves them and want to save them. He believes its the right thing to do, and he has to overcome the darkness with light.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rozanne, age 17