The Seeker: The Dark is Rising

Michael VickHarry Potter (fictional character)DeathSusan Cooper

Just as he’s turning 14, Will (Alexander Ludwig) discovers that, as the seventh son of a seventh son, he is The Seeker. Thus, he has five days to find six signs to harness the power of light, or the dark will take over the world. He also doesn’t mind exchanging glances with a fetching classmate (Amelia Warner).

Big question: Can this adventure, based on the second book in Susan Cooper’s five-book "The Dark is Rising" sequence, launch a Harry Potter-level franchise—despite boasting the worst title since Cedric the Entertainer’s "Code Name: The Cleaner"?

Skip it: Worse than "Bridge to Terabithia" but better than "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," "The Seeker" offers a substantial amount of gloomy adventure but generates neither fun nor a distinctive mythology. The vague battle between light and dark could be fantasy’s most unimaginative conflict, and Will’s power for "seeking" seems far less useful than his newfound ability to ward off pesky older brothers.

Catch it: For Will traveling back in time and almost getting caught in the middle of a cock fight. Did anyone else see Michael Vick standing in the background?

Bottom line: This overlong tale might be worth a glance if it trimmed away the repetitive bird attacks and horses neighing, and made Will’s journey seem like a privilege, not a duty. Instead, the movie’s just an acceptable way for youngsters to kill two hours at the mall until their parents pick them up.

Bonus: Now you can feel better about receiving crappy presents around the holidays. For his birthday, Will’s brothers give him only one sock, promising to hand over the second one at Christmas! Hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Michael VickHarry Potter (fictional character)DeathSusan Cooper
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