The Dark Is Rising (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/10/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

The Dark Is Rising has a strong cast and is well paced, but the script is rather bland, the action sequences are extremely dull and it lacks a big effects-heavy set-piece.

What's it all about?
Based on the award-winning novel by Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising stars Alexander Ludwig as Will Stanton, the youngest of six Stanton boys who have relocated from America to a small village in England. When Will meets Merriman (Ian McShane) and Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy), he learns that his presence in the village is no accident and that he is actually the last in a line of warriors called the Old Ones, who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the Dark.

Will learns that he is The Seeker, who must use his special powers to seek six signs that will protect against the forces of the Dark. However, the Dark is rising, represented by the sinister Rider (Christopher Eccleston), who will stop at nothing to ensure that Will fails in his quest.

The Good
McShane makes an excellent mentor figure and Eccleston is clearly enjoying himself as Rider. There's also strong support from Frances Conroy, Amelia Warner (as the beautiful Maggie, who captivates Will) and from Emma Lockhart as Will's younger sister, Gwen.

The Bad
However, the film's biggest problem is Alexander Ludwig, who lacks the necessary charisma to make Will as likable as he should be and isn't a good enough actor to really convey the importance of Will's quest. Similarly, the film lacks a big dramatic set-piece, as the effects sequences are limited to unexciting shots of CGI crows, CGI snakes, moving darkness and water flowing upwards.

Another problem is that the script is rather dull and could have used a bit of humour. In addition, the characters are constantly talking about how evil the Dark is and just what's at stake, but we never get any sense of that from what we see on screen.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Dark Is Rising is just about watchable, but it's never particularly exciting and it's unlikely to please fans of the book.

Film Trailer

The Dark Is Rising (12A)
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Content updated: 19/07/2018 14:41

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