Science fiction and fantasy
The Dark Is Rising
directed by David L. Cunningham
The darkness is personified by Christopher Eccleston, both as a black-clad horseman and a creepy doctor. His pale horse rears for effect at every opportunity, as though it's incredibly skittish or badly trained. Eccleston portrays quite a civilised bad guy, almost reasonable. But it's always too obvious that Will can't trust him. Perhaps a bit more doubt on this point would have resulted in a more interesting film, but as it stands the dark rider seems somewhat wooden, and certainly trite.
Will is assisted in his quest by four "old ones", people who exist outside of time. Unfortunately they have a tendency to use slightly ham archaic speech, blathering on about light and dark and "the chosen one" without any sense of irony, or at the very least some self-conscious embarrassment.
The Dark Is Rising is very much a film for children, given its simplified and predictable plot and its extremely black and white view of the world. Yet oddly enough it's rated 12 due to its violent scenes, so the potential audience for this movie is fairly small, since it insults the intelligence of many children who are mature enough to watch it.
If you've seen the trailer you have already seen most of this film's highlights. The main redeeming features of this movie are the special effects, which can be quite attractive. But such effects are now common to all but the lowest-budget movies, and it takes more than a few shiny symbols and some smoke to make up for such a basic script.
If you like this, try:Eragon by Stefen Fangmeier
A young farm boy discovers a dragon egg, and finds that everything changes. Including most of the original plot of the book.
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about David L. Cunningham