Seeking a more unfamiliar villain

October 05, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

The men who've made the movie version of Susan Cooper's fantasy novel about Light vs. Dark, The Dark is Rising, have tinkered with everything in the book, altering the nationality, age and family of the young immortal hero, as well as adding a potential Judas character and gaudy magical transformations.

So why didn't the makers of The Seeker: The Dark is Rising go all the way and change the villain - the Dark's main man - from a fearsome horseman known as the Rider to something we haven't seen before?

The nine Dark Riders in the nine-hours-plus of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy have exhausted the eerie power of the image for most movie fans, even if actor Christopher Eccleston brings some curling-lipped conviction to this latest Rider.

Generally, in movies, familiarity doesn't breed contempt - it breeds comfort. And that's the kiss of death for supernatural fantasy.

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