MAKE WAY FOR SUSAN COOPER'S THE DARK IS RISING!
*****October 6 Update: Looks like the reviews are in for THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING, and they are not good. Running less than 20% favorable, the reviews condemn the lack of faithfulness to Cooper's book and the run of the mill story that is told. Biggest problem is the leaving out of the Arthurian mythos which gave the whole series its coherence. Too bad, could have been a great movie. Check out the reviews at the seeker reviews.
*****July 19, UPDATE!!!!
Check out the trailer to see a clip from the film--dark is rising trailer. Two things strike me. First, this film will only have a passing familiarity with the books. Much has been changed. Second, the jury is still out whether it will be a good film or not. It looks great, but making the young Will an American with a juvenile love interest and sticking the story straight in the modern world which has so little mystery might very well dumb this film down to the usual sci-fi, fantasy fare so evident today. In other words, the great themes of good against evil and the importance of one person achieving his destiny might be submerged in special effects and cute dialog. Let's wait, and see, and hope.
Young adult fiction was in its infancy back in the late '60's and 70's when along came Susan Cooper with a series called The Dark Is Rising. The series takes its name from the second of five books. Curiously, nearly eight years passed between the writing of the first book Over Sea And Under Stone and the second. What a difference a near decade makes. I was never particularly thrilled with the first book, a seemingly simply children's fantasy, but the second, which gives the above title, is a spectacular Arthurian fantasy involving eleven year old Will Stanton who discovers he is one of the Old Ones, a group of beings who have existed throughout the centuries trying to defeat the Dark. They are of the Light, and the Dark is rising one last time to try to corrupt all civilization. Will's mentor turns out to be none other than Merlin himself! After, the first book, the series never flags. Great stuff, which places Cooper alongside the recently departed Lloyd Alexander as one of the great fantasy writers of the latter half of the twentieth century. Read all five books this summer; you won't regret it!
Now, they are making a movie out of the second book, making a few changes here and there but basically keeping the same story. The few photographs released show a sumptuous production. We'll have to wait and see if the film can bring forth the hauntingly evocative mood of the book. The fight of good against evil can seem commonplace and mundane--a story told over and over again--when imagination lags and characters are written too thinly. Cooper's gift is to make us love her heroes and despise the Dark. The battle is not on a national scale, but involves families, friends, neighbors--the sort of ordinary life we all have. Morever, she shows that the true battle between good and evil, the Light and the Dark, is waged in the eternal soul of every individual. That is what I believe makes this story excellent and exceptionally relevant not only to young adults but to all serious readers. All one has to do is look around the world to see that the Dark is rising again. It's worthwhile to shiver a little as we await what will hopefully be a great film.
For an insightful interview of the author check the link: susan cooper interview