May 29, 2018
The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) (part 10 of 14)
Cut back to casa de Stanton, where Will and co. have just finished Christmas dinner—as indicated by Mom declaring that she’s stuffed but they have plenty of turkey left (if you ask me, this whole movie is stuffed. And, hell, it’s a turkey as well. The perfect metaphor!).
Moments later, James shows up with Cute Chick in tow, and now introduces her as Maggie (she finally gets a name, nearly an hour into the movie. What a relief!). Maggie immediately reveals herself to be sweet and helpful as well as attractive, by offering to help clean up (yep, she’s evil incarnate). Will takes the opportunity to stare at Maggie some more (oh for fuck’s sake, get over it, you little dipshit!), and she catches his eye and smiles adorably (evilevilevil). We get an odd little moment of her walking around, with some decorations between herself and Will, always keeping her eyes on him, like she’s stalking him. Just in case we’re too dense to have already figured out her nefarious purpose, this is a subtle visual metaphor that shows us that she’s… um, stalking him.
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Will, of course, not having seen her plotting his downfall, just smiles dreamily to himself. Maggie finally sits down beside him, and teasingly plays with a couple of those weird, pear-shaped salt’n’pepper shakers. She pours some salt onto her hand and blows on it, and it makes a weird white cloud in midair and forms into a Wheel of Taranis. Will stares at it like the mannequin he is, and then asks her if she’s an Old One. She pretends not to understand, and then tells him she’s there to “look out for” him. Needless to say, Will completely buys it, probably because she’s holding his hand as she says it. That’s men for you, eh? Always thinking with their other head. Heheh.
Cut to the riderdoctor, sitting on a bench outside and looking pensive. It turns out he’s lying in wait: a moment later, Will’s brother Max (you know, the one who just came home from university and who studies Tae Kwon Do) emerges from a door. The riderdoctor says hi. Max asks, “Can I help you?” and the riderdoctor sinisterly says that yes, he can. Okay, you can all see where this is going, so I’ll skip the commentary.
Inside, Will sees Maggie toying with the Christmas tree and gets a smarmy look on his face. I wonder if he’s going to say something like “hey, nice baubles, baby,” but what he actually does is way sleazier. On the dinner table, a knife is lying between the salt’n’pepper shakers Maggie was playing with earlier, and Will uses his telekinetic powers (wait, I didn’t know he had those) to make it start moving. He makes it spin around, and then stand up on the end of its handle and start twirling. And I’m ashamed to admit it, but when I saw this in the cinema I didn’t spot the obvious phallic imagery here. Lighthearted double-bass music plays to try and convince us that this is amusing, and Will gets this big cheesy grin. Maggie tells him it’s “pretty good” (ew), and Will finally gives her back the scarf she dropped on the bus in her first scene. He then proceeds to top his former annoying behaviour by leaning in and telling her he can do “much more.” Argh… the accent… the smarminess… it burns!
Excuse me: rant time. I’m really finding this guy annoying. He fits into a mould I’ve seen used way too many times in the past, mostly in fantasy movies: the script tries to make him likeable by making everyone around him ignore him and/or tease him, so he’s lonely. The script also tries to make him look “thoughtful” and “dreamy” by showing him wandering around at Miss Greythorne’s house, examining the gewgaws. And then it suddenly turns around and makes him alternately whiny and immature, and then a hormonal creep. I’m really finding this characterisation inconsistent, not to mention annoying as all hell.
Oh, and one last point: I really wish he’d stop using his powers to show off. So far he’s done absolutely nothing useful with them. And would you believe that this state of affairs never changes for the rest of the movie? No, honestly. It really smacks of Deus Ex Machina and/or lazy scriptwriting, because not only does he get cool powers at the drop of a hat but they’re never properly established and they don’t seem to have any ground rules, plus they’re mostly completely irrelevant to the plot. I think I’m starting to see why this movie tanked.
Back to the movie. Will finishes by leaning forward and whispering in her ear that he “has powers.” You know, that might have been more meaningful if you’d said that before you started showing her the Obviously Phallic Knife Dance. Maggie just grins at him, and the knife drops back to the table. Will takes her into the kitchen with him, and asks her if “you and James… uh….” Will, ew. Also, mind your own damn business.
Maggie’s response, not unnaturally, is to slap the little creep full in his stupid face and then kick him in the groin. Then she rams her foot into his stomach after he’s fallen over, wheezing in agony.
Wait, no she doesn’t. My little sojourn into fantasyland ends when Maggie just smiles at him and asks what he’s talking about, and Will asks if she and James are “friends.” She says yes, and that she “likes him.” Will probes further, asking if they’re, like, “boyfriend… girlfriend.” Keep your nose out of other peoples’ business, you little punk.
Maggie just says that there are probably more important things for him to be thinking about just now—finally someone says it! I think I like this chick.
Unfortunately, this is just Will’s cue to confess his burning desire for her. Yet another romance that stems from some juvenile ogling. It’s Romeo and Juliet all over again. Will tells her he thinks about her all the time, and he feels like they’re “connected.” Will, as far as romantic dialogue goes, you may as well just say “Maggie, whenever I look at you, I get a raging hard-on.” (Enjoy the mental image, boys and girls!)
James arrives to interrupt this moment of beautiful romance. Maggie suddenly turns patronising toward Will, and James gives him a “keep your hands off my girl, creep” look and then leaves with her. You know, I’m actually starting to like the way everyone’s a complete jerk to him. Will is left behind with a serious case of pubertal moodiness. James smirks at him before he goes out the door (smirking seems to run in the Stanton line), and Will suddenly loses control of his telekinetic powers and sends the aforementioned knife hurtling across the room, where it impales itself in the doorframe—fortunately after James has already left. So, to date he’s used his powers to push his annoying brothers around, light up a tomb (which he could have done with a torch), show off to some chick, and throw a tantrum. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
Will leaves the house in a foul temper, and his little sister sees him go. He runs to Miss Greythorne’s house and knocks on the door, and Merriman lets him in. Inside, Will proceeds to spill his guts. Of course, it’s the standard whine about how he can’t cope with all the changes in his life, etc. etc. Once he was Will Stanton, “socially inadequate… invisible” (yeah, we got that. Personally, I think people ignore you because you’re a prick). Anyway, he’s pissed off because having powers hasn’t made his life any easier. Look, you pathetic wimp, they’re not meant to make your life easier, okay? You’re supposed to be using them to save the world. Now for the love of gods, get on with it! You’re pissing me off! He also adds that he’s “no superhero.” No shit, Sherlock. You don’t even have a cool costume with an insignia on it—’nuff said (and, hell, even Peter Parker wasn’t this much of a geek).
Luckily, though, Merriman knows exactly how to cheer the lad up. “You are the Seeker, Will!” he says. Er, that’s really not helpful at all, Merriman.
More helpful, though, is his next line: an incredulous “the future of the human race depends on you—don’t you understand?” Right on!
Unfortunately, now comes the most idiotic line in the entire movie, which if I remember rightly was in the trailer so everybody could savour its pure thundering stupidity for themselves. Will gets up out of his chair and loudly says this amazing statement:
Will: I’m supposed to save the world—I can’t even figure out how to talk to a girl!
Oh, my head hurts so bad…
Man, and I thought nobody would ever top Eragon for sheer self-pitying wangstiness. It just goes to show that you should always save the hyperbole for when you really need it.
Merriman just tells him he’s only got three days left and he can’t let a girl distract him, and Will leaves in a bad mood. While he’s on the bridge back over the lake, he finally lets loose with a loud scream and makes a windmill burst into flames. So, people, now are you rooting for the villain?
Merriman and Miss Greythorne watch from the roof of her house, and an incredulous Merriman asks what the blazes the kid is doing. Miss Greythorne, droll as always, says he’s “expressing himself.” Yes, and what an elegant expression it is. And I thought abstract art was ugly and hateful. Merriman asks disgustedly if Will knows he’ll “exhaust his powers” if he keeps doing that (well, no, because you didn’t tell him that was possible), and Miss Greythorne basically tells him off, saying that Will came to him because he needed to be comforted, and Merriman did sod-all to help him. Needless to say, while they’re enjoying this philosophical chat, neither of them bother to do anything to stop him. Because it’s not like this little display will be visible for miles or anything.
Will continues to scream and rage and makes more things blow up (finally, I get the explosions I asked for!), including a car, until he finally drops to his knees, exhausted. Guess Merriman was right. At this moment, his sister Gwen shows up, asking him if he’s okay. Well, your big brother’s just inexplicably developed the ability to make things explode, but other than that everything’s peachy. Also, the fire seems to have vanished, which is a bit odd.