The Seeker is a 2007 fantasy film incredibly loosely based on the novel The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper and starring Alexander Ludwig and Christopher Eccleston. Because of its controversial changes from the book, it was released as The Dark is Rising in the UK, and in some other markets as The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising due to its complete lack of resemblance to the book. The screenwriter infamously claimed to have only read a few pages of the book, before getting bored and just using the back cover, referring to Cooper's novel as a "slog", and the director did not even bother reading it. Cooper was very upset and disowned the movie after seeing it (as did most fans).
This film provides examples of:
- Adaptational Nationality: This movie makes the Stantons into Americans.
- Captain Ersatz: The Stantons are now the Weasleys. Prankster twins, Aloof Big Brother, traitorous big brother, annoying sister... Check check check check!
- Cultural Translation: The film doesn't go the whole hog and transfer the story to America (where it wouldn't have worked), but Will and his family do become Americans.
- Deus ex Machina: The skeleton. Granted, he was an Old One, but aren't they immortal, anyway?
- Dutch Angle: Not abused quite as badly as it is in Battlefield Earth, but it's noticeable enough.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Will's mission is to find all of five "signs" to become powerful enough to defeat the Rider.
- Hollywood Genetics: Blond Will's parents and siblings are all brunettes. This is probably meant to signify something, but we're never told what.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: What's one of the first things Will wants to do with his powers? Get a girl. His brother's girlfriend, no less. In the books, he was a Chaste Hero with no thoughts about dating whatsoever; he didn't even notice that Jane was pretty until Bran mentioned it, and it was still inconsequential.
- In-Name-Only: One reviewer joked that "They only changed one thing in the plot - everything", and it's not far wrong. The Stanton family, who in the books are warm, caring and British, are now dysfunctional and American; Will is changed from a thoughtful, wise-for-his-age eleven-year-old to a whiny fourteen-year-old hormone-addled jerkass who's more interested in stealing his brother's girlfriend than completing his quest for the Signs, and all the Arthurian mythology is hacked out and replaced with Christian allegory. As such, the screenwriter didn't actually read the book.
- Jerkass: All Will's siblings except his sister. It's taken to ridiculous extremes, especially with the twins; any competent parent would have nipped that in the bud when they were children. Especially galling to fans of the book, where the Stantons were a warm, loving family. It's made all the worse that none of them seem to have any other personality traits.
- Market-Based Title: The film was entirely retitled to plain The Seeker in the USA, arguably fittingly in light of its large divergence from the source material. In the UK, where the books are perhaps best known, the title remained The Dark Is Rising, much to Cooper's annoyance. Canada got the compound of the two. Other markets got more 'descriptive' titles, e.g. Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries used ones that translate to The Six Signs of the Light.
- Parental Neglect: Will's parents, particularly his father, seem pretty detached from all of their children.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the books, Thomas Stanton was the first of the Stantons' children and died three days after birth. Here, he was made into a surprise twin brother kidnapped by the Rider, and freed by Will.
- Too Dumb to Live: Will Stanton. At the end of the movie, he and the other Old Ones are forced to retreat into the Great Hall, where their enemy the Rider cannot enter unless invited. Will then proceeds to throw open the doors when he hears his parents and sister calling him only to learn that it was just the Rider who — oops — is now able to enter. Evidently Will thought his completely ordinary family was able to somehow get to a mysterious place which seems to be in an alternate time/dimension.
- This is based on a very early scene from the book (The Dark Is Rising), where he, Merriman, and the Lady are holding a three-person circle of power in the Hall while the Dark tries to beat down the door, and they break his concentration by convincing him briefly that they've got his family captive. He lets go of his new comrades' hands, and the Lady has to temporarily die to save the day. Then Merriman actually explains a little bit, although he has an infuriating habit of explaining nothing, ever. (Will's also only just eleven in the book.)