May 25, 2009
The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) (part 6 of 14)
They stop just outside the doors, and Merriman gestures at Will to go ahead, which he does. Will shoves the doors open and goes in (my, isn’t he trusting?). Inside it’s dark and atmospheric, with lots of big uneven pillars that look like they were made from a lot of flagstones stacked on each other. Up ahead there’s a big stone platform, and light streaming in through a giant window.
Merriman and the others come in, and Will asks what this place is. Merriman tells him that this is “the Great Hall, where we’re strongest.” The hell with that, I’m calling it Merathgadan. Way more badass.
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Merriman claims that Will is “safe here” because no one can come in without their invitation. Ah, now I’m just picturing a roped-in queue outside with a couple of mean-looking bouncers. Will says “who are you?” and argh, that stupid accent of his is getting more grating and out-of-place with every scene.
“We’re the Old Ones!” says Merriman, as if it’s blindingly obvious. He goes on to explain that, well, actually they’re not old or young because they’re “outside time.” Well, that clears everything up. Thanks, gramps. Merriman then tells Will that “you’re the last of us to be born,” and also “you are the Sign-Seeker” (everybody sing now: “They call me the Seeker/I’ve been searching low and high/I won’t get what I’m after/Till the day I die”).
Will is somehow not very comforted by this gibberish, and says that everyone keeps asking him about “these Signs” and he doesn’t know “what that is.” Well duh.
Miss Greythorne takes over. She tells him he’s part of something that’s been waiting for him all his life, and now we finally find out what the point of all this is. Apparently the Old Ones serve “The Light” and the rider serves “The Dark.” I think you can pretty much fill in the rest of the exposition yourselves here. Chosen One, fulfil the prophecy, save the world, etc. I suppose that back in the 1970s this was a bit more fresh. Nowadays, sadly, we’re up to our ears in blonde-haired brats trying to save the world, so pardon me if I don’t find this particularly engaging.
It seems that The Dark is getting more powerful (i.e., “rising”), and Will has to restore The Light. Why? Because. Will, of course, breaks out the tired old “you got the wrong guy” line. Fortunately Merriman just ignores him and shows him some embossed battle-scenes on the wall, explaining that a thousand years ago Light and Dark fought, and Light won. Hey, you know what? I would really like to see a movie were Light loses. Sadly, the only movie I can name where that happens is Night Watch. Er, hope I didn’t spoil it for you.
Miss Greythorne says that the Light was protected by being divided into six “Signs.” Again, why? What’s the point? Now it’s up to Will, as The Seeker, to find those Signs before it’s… too late.
Will is still skeptical, but Merriman tells him that on his fourteenth birthday he became old enough to sense the Signs (again, why? Why fourteen? Why did he have to wait? What’s so special about turning fourteen? Trust me, we won’t find out), the Dark could sense him. And remember, guys, his fourteenth birthday is when the freaky crow-guys came after him. Yep, it’s all coming together. Magical powers as a metaphor for pubertal onset—it’s all so fresh and inspired!
Apparently in five days [!] the Dark will be strongest, and Will has to find all the Signs so he’ll be strong enough to fight. Will protests some more (shut up!), only to be told that “the book” will teach him. Merriman pulls said volume out of a gap in the wall, and Miss Greythorne says that “only the Seeker” can read it. She adds that Will is “special” because he’s “the seventh son of a seventh son.” Will starts grinning like a moron and claims that they’ve got it wrong—he only has five brothers. (ARGH, this brat’s acting is so IRRITATING! I want to infect the little shithead with plague!).
Anyway, so now he’s got an ironclad excuse he switches on The Smirk and tells them he’s “not the one.” Neo, is that you? Miss Greythorne, of course, tells him he can’t run from this. Yes, like Al said, the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself. Wherever you go, there you are. Merriman has a better method of persuasion: he throws the bag the rider gave them back to Will and tells him to “see what will happen if the Dark prevails.” Let me guess… the birds start singing H.I.M and Marilyn Manson? Everyone has to wear black leather? Ozzy Osbourne becomes President (hey, one crackhead is pretty much like another)? Noserings and studded wristbands start growing on trees? Hey, I think I like this vision!
Will opens the bag and finds a snow globe inside. Yes, a snow globe. I wasn’t joking about that. He looks inside and sees what looks like a long-haired version of himself floating in the water, before we cut to a vision of… stuff happening, really fast. The rider’s horse rearing, crows flying everywhere, a big house flooding with water. Then we zoom out to see the rider galloping over a field with a sort of black mist streaming out behind him. The mist spreads over London (destroying Big Ben, of course), and then the Statue of Liberty before we see it spread over the entire Earth. Yes, because London and New York comprise the entire world. Or at least the part of it that counts. Well, it’s a relief to know that Australia will be just fine (we usually get off lightly in apocalyptic movies because no-one remembers we exist).
Then we cut back to Will… and he’s suddenly standing in the middle of a road with a big four-wheel drive headed straight for him. Yes! Yes! Squash him flat!
Unfortunately the car just swerves around him. Will looks around, puzzled. Looks like Merathgadan and the Old Ones just suddenly vanished. And they were kind enough to dump him in the middle of a road, too. Gee, looks like you found some good friends there, kid.
He returns home, and now it’s night. The Annoying Twins are lying in wait, and one of them remarks that he’s “home late.” What, nobody noticed that he just walked out of the party? No-one went looking for him? Twin A just wants to know where he went and why he’s all dirty, and then throws a ball in his face. Will yells at him to leave him alone, and shoves him away, inexplicably hurling both Twins across the room.
AW YEAH! Dude, that was totally awesome! Do it again! Beat them up! I’ll stop hating you, promise!
Unfortunately he just runs off upstairs. You blew it, kid.
The Twins, sprawling on the floor, “comically” ask each other if they’re okay. Sadly, they are. “What was that?” says one. “I dunno,” says the other. “Puberty?” Boom boom.
Upstairs, Will is on a computer, and… oh no. Please no. Well, it seems he’s doing exactly what every kid his age would do in this situation. Wanting to find out more about what’s going on… he’s doing a Google search. No, really. He’s searching for “the light and the dark” on Google.
I’ll just give you a moment to process that.
The All-Knowing Google informs him that there is a physics theory concerning “the light and the dark,” and Will proceeds to print off some info, which mostly consists of big pictures. Once again, I’m just dying to know how they can afford this. And not to bring myself into this, but if I printed off that many pictures my Dad would skin me alive.
Anyway, can’t he just look at them on the computer screen? Doesn’t he know paper is an expensive resource that’s causing world-wide environmental damage due to logging and wood-chipping practises?
Okay, fine, I’m being pedantic. But he’s meant to be trying to save the world. And in my experience, the best way to do that is use resources wisely, and recycle wherever possible because paper and other materials are a non-renewable—(ow! Stop hitting me!).
Will shows these revelatory print-offs to his Dad (watch out, kid—here comes the lecture about how expensive ink cartridges are and do-you-think-I’m-made-of-money). Instead, Dad asks where he got it from. Will “casually” says he got it “surfing” and since it’s to do with physics he thought he’d ask him. Dad, who I guess is a physics professor (and I’m still really wondering about how he affords this big house), expresses surprise that Will would be interested in physics. “I thought you’d stick to more fulfilling pursuits,” he says. “Like XBox.”
Will insists that he really is interested, and then starts talking about what he’s found. According to him, it’s “like an equation,” with “light and darkness fighting for the same space.” Oh, great, now they’re trying to make this all “scientific.” Sorry, but the scientific profession has nothing to do with morality, and none of the scientists I know (and yes, I do know a few) would want anything to do with this. And it goes without saying that none of this was in the book. Magic’s magic, guys. We don’t need “explanations.” Just say “a wizard did it” and we’re cool. And add some explosions. I want explosions.
It seems Will has one question—”can Dark win”? Please refer to my earlier comments. Dad tells him that isn’t how it works, and that there are “no winners and losers in physics.” Unless you mean losers like yourself, of course. At this point, I paused just as Will makes a face so utterly hilarious that I have to screencap it.
Funny faces or not, he has a counter to Dad’s argument: he’s found something else where the writer claims that Dark isn’t just darkness, as in the absence of light, but “like a thing.” Yes, well, according to the internet, “ur warez r liek awsum lol bubies!!!11,” so who are you going to believe?
Will wants to know if the Dark “can hurt someone.” Well, the other night I got out of bed to go to the loo, and bashed my knee on the door, so…
Dad looks nonplussed, but as he looks away from Will’s distressed face he happens to see the kid’s reflection in a big mirror that’s on the wall (why does he have a mirror in his office? Wait, it’s to set up this neat little shot. Query withdrawn). Dad suddenly gets all distressed and tells Will not to “waste [your] time with this stuff.” Wait, is he trying to offer me some advice too? “It’s theoretical,” he says. “It’s boring.” Wait, he is talking to me! “You’re a kid, just enjoy it.” I’m trying, I’m trying! “Be happy you don’t have to deal with it,” he finishes. I know! I just couldn’t help myself! Then he basically tells Will to push off. Okay, that’s a little weird. Do university professors usually get this touchy about their work? All the scholars I’ve ever met like to go on and on about it at the drop of a mortarboard.
Will takes the hint and walks off, but he stops in the doorway for a parting shot. “You know,” he says, “When I was little, you never told me not to be afraid of the dark.” Wow, would you like some ointment for that burn, Dad? The Smirk reappears, apparently thinking that was the sharpest bon mot not thought up by George Bernard Shaw, and follows its owner out of the room.