"The Darkness Cannot Overcome the Light"
The battle between Light and Darkness continues in THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING, a fantasy action movie based on the popular children’s novel series by Susan Cooper.
“The darkness is rising,” “You are the seeker,” “The fate of the world is in your hands.” These are not the average things that a boy like Will Stanton expects to hear on his 14th birthday a couple days before Christmas. Regardless, young Will learns that his destiny is far greater than he could have imagined, and soon, he is thrust into an epic battle between the Light and the Dark, between Good and Evil.
Will learns that he is the seventh son of a seventh son, and that he is one of the Old Ones, those who serve the Light. He is told by others of the Old Ones that he is the Seeker who must find the signs that will help the Light triumph over the Dark. If Will should fail, though, the world will be forever shrouded in the Dark. The Old Ones teach Will that there are five signs that shall call to him, signs made of earth, water, wood, bronze and fire, and that he will have power over the elements and be able to travel throughout time so that he can complete his quest to gather the five signs.
Time, however, is short, and Will has only five days to find all the signs before the Dark Rider is at the peak of his power to unleash the Dark. Also, before time runs out, Will must find the sixth sign that is hidden in the soul of a man – a soul freely given that shall unleash the power of the Light.
Despite some awkward filmmaking and a lack of jeopardy at times, THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING is a fun fantasy movie filled with Christian allusions, including references to sin, Scripture, hymns, Christmas, church, and resurrection. The movie also has strong family values as brothers are reunited, siblings forgive each other and children connect with their parents.
Philosophically, however, the movie contains some non-Christian implications such as the Zoroastrian belief that Light & Dark are on even playing fields, with one reference in the movie to a battle from 1,000 years ago when the Light barely defeated the Dark. This, of course, is a cautionary element because, as people of faith, we know that, according to the Word of God in John 1:5, “The Light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.” There is one reference to this Scripture verse in the movie as one of the Old Ones tells Will in reference to his young age, “Even the smallest light shines in the darkness.” The elements of Zoroastrianism may simply be to provide some dramatic elements to the movie, but parents should caution their children that the Light of God is much stronger than the Darkness of this world.
Another cautionary philosophy are some implications of Gnosticism, which essentially contains a fundamental dualism that envisions two worlds at war, much like Zoroastrianism. Gnosticism, however, believes that, within a religious context, power can be achieved by gaining forms of a secret knowledge. In THE SEEKER, Will must find the signs that will give him the power over the Dark Rider. These signs that he seeks are ancient elements and forms of knowledge. So, rather than simply relying on the power of the Light to overcome the darkness, Will must seek to find elements of a secret knowledge that will give him power to overcome the Darkness.
Those elements, along with some frightening visual imagery such as birds attacking people and manifesting out of people in a demonic way, give THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING require caution for children. The movie’s context, however, is a Christian one, especially considering the church scene where “Joy to the World” is sung at Christmas time. Thus, older children and parents may enjoy this fun movie that empowers young people to believe that they can make an impact for good in the world. The movie also can open discussion between parents and children alike as to the real source of our power, the Holy Spirit and the overcoming blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is the true “soul freely given to unleash the power of the Light.”
(CC, BBB, FR, P, L, VV, A, M) Strong Christian worldview set around Christmas (including a church service where some of “Joy to the World” is clearly sung with some of its wonderful theological and Christological content, a couple Scripture references, and references to sin, sacrifice and resurrection) with very strong moral elements where good and evil (Light and Dark) battle with clearly defined characters who fight for the Light and stand for morality, but with some false religious implications such as the Zoroastrian belief that Light & Dark are equal in power and battling for supremacy as well as some concepts of Gnosticism that the Seeker must gain certain “knowledge” (i.e., elements of earth, wood, bronze, fire, etc.) in order to gain power over the Dark, one quick mention of Tae Kwan Do, and one reference to patriotism as young soldier says that he is “defending the free world”; no obscenities and one light profanity (Oh, God); some scary fantasy violence includes demonic birds possess man and claw out of his body, young boy is chased by horseman and evil dogs, hero gains powers and is able to throw his older brothers out of the way as well as command fire and make explosions when he is angry, various fighting sequences with nothing graphic shown in battles, chase sequences, etc., woman turns into snakes to attack people, and dark horseman attacks family in a home by causing icicles to fall on them and water to overtake the house, men are attacked by birds and some more elements of fantasy battle as the servants of Light battle the Dark horseman; no sexuality; no nudity; some wine at a party and some beer consumption; no smoking or drugs; and, lying by the villains, kidnapping and boy is falsely accused of shoplifting.
THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING is a fantasy movie based on the popular books by Susan Cooper. “The darkness is rising,” “You are the seeker,” “The fate of the world is in your hands.” These are not the average things that Will Stanton expects to hear on his 14th birthday a few days before Christmas. Regardless, young Will learns his destiny is far greater than he can imagine. Soon, he is thrust into an epic battle between the Light and the Dark, between Good and Evil.
Despite some awkward filmmaking and a lack of jeopardy at times, THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING is a fun fantasy movie filled with strong Christian allusions, including references to sin, Scripture, hymns, Christmas, church, and resurrection. The movie also has strong family values. Brothers are reunited, siblings forgive each other and children connect with their parents. There are, however, some scary moments and fantasy content that require discernment to interpret in a Christian manner that can inspire children rather than lead them down the wrong path away from Jesus, the true Light of the world. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for children.