Recently a film called The Seeker : The Dark is Rising was released. It is based on The Dark is Rising, the first second book in a series written by Susan Cooper in the 1960s and 1970s. We have two reviews of the DVD; one is by someone who had read the books before seeing the film, and the other is by someone who has never read the books.
The first review is by Grimm, who hasn’t read the books:
I never read The Dark is Rising as a kid since, you know, that would have required reading (I saw the light a bit later). The plus side of this is that I watched The Seeker: The Dark is Rising with absolutely no preconceptions and no foggy clue about what was going on (apart from the trailer). The down side is, I suspect, I missed out on an awesome children’s book (reading it when you’re not a child isn’t the same thing, surely). But anyway, to the movie: it was pretty slick and action packed… the goodies were good, the baddies were bad (Christopher Eccleston had creepy hair), the effects were impressive, and the winter was very cold. At only 94 minutes long I couldn’t help thinking another half an hour would have lent a bit more light and shade (dark?) to the story (provided they did the right things with the half an hour of course). Just one final thought: are British boys too wet to be action heroes?
And here is a review by Alex, who had read the books several times before watching the film.
I read The Dark is Rising as a kid, long before Hollywood put it through their adaption machine, so I was a little bit nervous about what might have been done to what is a classic fantasy story. I was right to be worried. Where the original book was dark and chilling, with strong links to England’s wealth of myths and legends, The Seeker has had the full “Harry Potter” treatment, if not worse. The close-knit and loving middle-class English family so central to the original story is gone, to be unconvincingly replaced with a 21st century American family, with any warmth replaced with wide screen TVs and games consoles. Like so many other book adaptations, everything is simplified – the plot is stripped down to the barest “good vs. evil” with added CGI, and Susan Cooper’s intriguing, well-developed characters become two-dimensional, if they even make it into the movie at all. Even Will Stanton, the main character in both the book and the movie, becomes little more than a teenaged action hero, losing his kindness and wry English humour to teenage temper-tantrums and a generic “love interest”. I’d recommend taking the time to read 300 pages of well-written book over spending 100 minutes watching the watered-down movie that is The Seeker.