The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) (part 3 of 14)
Will heads up to the twins’ room, where they’re busy playing XBox (product placement in a fantasy movie hurts Jet’s brain). They mock him some more, pointing at a masking tape “chalk outline” on the floor and saying that’s his “spot.” Will gives up and heads for the attic (at least he finds these morons as annoying as I do).
The attic proves to be a pretty depressing place full of junk and featuring a big window with a broken pane. There’s no bed for him—hell there isn’t even a freaking mattress—he just lays out a quilt on the floor. Is anyone else buying this? I didn’t think so. Maybe he should go sleep in the barn instead. Or maybe the cupboard under the stairs would be nice and cozy.
Downstairs everyone is having dinner, and we find out Will has six siblings—five brothers and his sister. Four brothers are at home, and a fifth is absent because he’s in the Navy. Meanwhile, Will notices the family’s two ugly dogs are growling at him. Dogs do that to me, too. Dad questions Max about how “college”—wait, screw it—university was for him that year, but Max is evasive and asks him how Dad’s getting on, which for some reason Mum objects to (it turns out later on that Dad is a scholar, and since Mum is apparently unemployed I’d really like to know how they afford this big house with more than one TV). Will isn’t listening, because he’s feeling a bit unnerved by the dogs still growling at him. Cheer up, kid, at least they’re not trying to eat you.
The Twins tease him some more about Cute Chick, until Mum tells them to quit. Dogs growl some more. End scene. Well, that was enlightening. I guess they’re trying to establish character here, but it’s all way too standard to be that interesting. I for one kept wanting them to hurry up and get to the good stuff, but I’m afraid we’re in for the long haul, folks.
Night-time. Will heads for his well-appointed new bedroom and looks out the window, where he sees… nothing very much, and then draws the curtains.
Next day he’s eating breakfast, when who should show up but the Perv Patrol, carrying a damn great Christmas tree. Ah, I remember the days when we used to get a real pine tree at Christmas (Mum finally put her foot down because she was sick of the needles in the carpet). One Perv sets about moving the tree into position, while the other one makes a point of saying hi to Will before calling his friend over to have a look at him. The other guy comes over, looking way too back-alley New York (well, Movie!New York), and also makes a point of shaking his hand. Then the two of them just stand there and stare at him before one of them mentions that there’s going to be a “storm” soon, even though the sky is blue and cloudless outside. Then they stare some more and leave. Eep.
Anyway, so it’s Will’s birthday and he sits down to get his presents, with this big grin that totally says “YES! The one day of the year when everyone remembers I exist!”
Max gives him a card that says “Happy 13th” on it, because he’s so wrapped up in himself he forgot his own brother’s age, yuk yuk. The Twins give him one sock (used), saying the other one comes at Christmas, and then walk off without even bothering to laugh at him. I’m really not getting why they’re all so mean to him. That done, everyone just completely ignores him again while Gwen gives him the only actual present so far—a rather nice digital watch. Aww. I think I just contracted diabetes.
She asks him what his birthday wish is, and he says he’d like some snow. I guess he just decided to leave his real wish, “I want all my brothers to die of AIDS,” unexpressed.
Still night-time, and we get a few shots of the village and some crows starting to congregate around the Stanton house (ooo, spooooky!). Maybe they’re just spying for Shai’tan.
Inside, Gwen has managed to contact the oldest brother, Steve, via webcam. He expositories that he’s “busy defending the free world” (insert extra-loud groan here), and that picture is way, way too good to be true. And again, how does this enormous family afford all this stuff? I mean, for gods’ sakes!
It seems Steve-o has sent over some gifts from Hawaii, namely, Hawaiian shirts and leis for everyone (har har). But he’s sent something different for Will: a cool leather belt embossed with spiral patterns and (plot point!) a series of criss-crossing leather strands that look like they’re designed to hold something. Several somethings, in fact (bum bum BUM!).
That night, Will is in bed but wakes up to see snowflakes drifting in through the open window. He lies back and smiles dreamily for a while before getting up to shut the window, which promptly smashes. Almost as if he pushed it shut with incredible strength! (Bum bum BUM!).
Next day he’s waiting at the bus stop (I hope this movie’s breakneck pace isn’t bothering anyone), and is disturbed by an ominous tilted camera zoom-in. And some crows. A bunch of them have landed on a nearby tree and are cawing at him, and while he watches they’re joined by more… and more… and ohmigods, most of them are… CG!!!
Freaked out by this display of ominous pixels, he hastily gets onto the bus, which arrives at that moment. As it pulls out, the crows take off in a big flock.
We get a rather nausea-inducing bird’s-eye view of a shopping maul—one of those dealies with a big central hub criss-crossed by escalators. The shot rotates slowly, just to make sure everyone feels ill… gods, it’s a long way down. I don’t like this at all.
Fortunately, we pan down to ground level where Will is inspecting a necklace—one of those things where they’ve basically taken a pebble, polished it, drilled a hole in it and put it on a leather thong. The shopkeeper comes up to annoy him the way shopkeepers do, and he buys it, for some reason specifying that it’s for his sister. She puts it into a gift box for him, and he looks at the lid and sees it’s got an odd little pattern on it—a grouping of spirals that’s pretty much an exact replica of an ancient Celtic symbol called the Wheel of Taranis (appropriate, given the original story’s roots in Celtic style paganism). However, he’s a little disturbed to see that the spirals are moving in little swirly patterns. Time to get those eyes checked, kid. Unfortunately, his reaction is limited to the same bemused smirk he’s been wearing for much of the movie so far.
Comically, he looks upward into another bird’s-eye shot of the maul’s hub, where we see a bunch of silver star-shaped balloons drifting downward like snowflakes. Which is spooky. Or ominous. Or something. The director has some very strange ideas about what looks spooky and ominous, as we’ll see. I know he wished for it to snow, but did he wish for it to snow Mylar balloons?
As Will is leaving, he’s waylaid by a couple of security guards, who ask him to come with them, claiming they think he’s shoplifted something. He breaks out The Smirk again and says no way, but they’re adamant. Browbeaten, he goes with them, and we get another rather inappropriate shot of him heading down the escalator, in slo-mo (WHY?), with one of the guards way too close behind him, like they’re herding him off for a little illegal touching (Sorry. My mind goes to all the wrong places when I’m bored).
He’s escorted to the security office, which amusingly reminds me of the interrogation room in The Matrix where Neo lost his mouth. Hell, the scene even starts with a shot of him as shown through a security monitor. I love it when movies try and steal from The Matrix but just end up shooting themselves in the foot.
The guards question him… well, actually they just accuse him of stealing outright, claiming they’ve been watching him ever since he came into the maul and that he “looks like a thief” (actually, if you ask me he just looks like a bad actor). Overhead, the lights start to flicker Ominously (I’m starting to think I should have added “Ominous Signs” to the cast list), and Will gets distracted by… something, as indicated by some odd, quick closeups of the guards’ hands and mouths. As one of them blathers on, he starts to see some strange things—the guard’s teeth look tiny and rotted, and his eyes turn entirely black while his voice goes all whispery and ominous (there’s that word again).
Finally, the guard tells Will to “give us the Sign” (bum bum B—okay, I’ll shut up). Will just stares at him (Smirk Powers, Activate!), and the creepy visions start getting worse: now the guard’s hand turns into a giant set of crow talons, tapping on the table, and his demand for “the Sign” gets louder and angrier until he finally lunges at him with the talon-hand outstretched (and yes, it’s as goofy as it sounds). A brief attack ensues, cut up by the constantly flickering lights, and Will takes a scratch to the neck but shoves the guard away with super strength (wait, are you sure this isn’t a comic book movie?) and then beats feet.
The guards give chase, and we get a beautifully obvious Matrix ripoff as they chase him down the corridor, with the lighting, angles and swooping camera motions all smacking of what I think I’ll call Wachowski Brothers 101. Meanwhile the guards’ uniforms tear and, yes, crows come flying out and go after Will, shrieking like crazy. Finally, the two of them disintegrate entirely and we see an empty shirt fall to the ground as dozens of crows emerge and fly down the corridor in a big flock, which I recall provoked guffaws from the audience I first watched this with. Yes, crows are cool-looking, and yes they look good perched on tombstones and pulling eyeballs out of the skulls of the recently deceased, but they’re not scary. They’re a bunch of birds. You could fend one off with a stick or, hell, even without one.
So while being attacked by a big flock of them would be freaky, you can’t really buy it as a serious threat, and seeing our hero running off with this lot in hot pursuit comes off as just slightly comical. Slightly.