The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising David L. Cunningham

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising David L. Cunningham

It was inevitable that Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and their fantasy lit movie hit brethren would eventually inspire also-ran titles designed simply to cash in on the trend. But that’s no excuse for the pathetic shambles that is The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, which projects such apathy from everyone involved that you guess that even the autopilot is on autopilot.

The impossibly tired plot involves 14-year-old misfit Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig), who aside from being transplanted to Britain from America, is also the very last in a long line of warriors who fight on the side of the light. But with light must come darkness (and with lazy scripting comes Manichean constructs), thus the nefarious Rider (Christopher Eccleston) is on hand to threaten the fate of the world with dark side shenanigans. Can Will collect the symbols or signs or whatever to consolidate his power and rid the world of the dark threat?

This thing is based on a novel by Susan Cooper. For her sake, I hope it’s a hell of a lot more complex than the sad, stripped-down script offered here. A barebones wisp of fantasy cosmology comes as a slap in the face to the audience, who are entitled to worlds far more lush and detailed than the tossed-off Syd Field précis we’re faced with. Meanwhile, David L. Cunningham proves completely unable to breathe life into the proceedings, phoning it in at every turn of the screw and somehow okaying the astonishingly banal set design.

And despite the presence of people like Eccleston, Ian McShane and Frances Conroy, they’re all doomed to swim against a white-water current of astonishing ineptitude. We’re supposed to approach this with wonder and awe, but I’ve found more magical things stuck between my teeth. (Fox)