Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Dark is Rising Angst

Its worse than even I had heard. This post at the livejournal community "A Blog of Authors" breaks it down in a handy chart. (Hattip Bellatrys) It does not look good.

I could handle the nationality and the plot changes, even removing my beloved Arthurian elements, but they are changing Will.
Will discovers his powers on his thirteenth birthday, because John Hodge says Will's extra years make him more "plausibly capable."
One of the things about Will was he always seemed like an old 11. He was like a thousand-year-old man wrapped up in a little boy's body. Why would they need to add two years to him if seeming older than his age is still a characterization point?
Will is assertive, challenging his older brother head-on, and doing many other things — as John Hodge says often — "head-on." I guess it's a pro to his being American, as Americans have a reputation for being more proactive than passive.
Yay for nationalistic stereotyping! Will he do rope tricks too? All the British kids'll be tea-drinking and uptight, right?
He is told of his powers, refuses to believe anyone when he hears of them, then goes home and apparently gives his brothers what-for.
Why? Would he think his brothers put the guy up to it?
At thirteen, Will gets disgusted at not being able to tell anyone. He blows up a car and acts out in some other ways. According to John Hodge, Miss Greythorne tells Merriman, "He's just expressing himself."
Remember the scene where he got especially curious and went out to the woods and set a stick on fire with his powers? Then realized what a humongously stupid thing he'd done?

Yeah, I bet that's gone. That way they get to blow up cars and shit whenever Will gets angry, because he doesn't have that natural "Old One" attitude, he's a spoiled brat with anger management issues who wants attention and glory! Yeah, way to keep with the unique spirit of the hero of these books there.

So, the thoughtful, introverted youngest member of the Old Ones? Our gentle little hero who was loaded with ancient power despite all appearances to the contrary? The guy who was responsible and thoughtful and didn't waste his power in showy displays? Gone! Replaced by a Harry Potter clone!

Oh, but they changed all the surface stuff that would make people mistake him for Harry, but they went ahead and took Will's unique personality and exchanged it for the more popular boy's so they could clone Harry Potter but not be accused of cloning Harry Fucking Potter.


You know, I hate to be one of those fans who gets mad whenever they change any little thing about a book I loved, but seriously, this sounds like mass-produced shit that's trying to capitalized on the Potter popularity. They're killing this book, dammit. Killing it (And yes, you can quote that for your fan entitlement rants, thank you very much.)

Seriously, though, the Jack Black as Green Lantern rumor (it surfaces every few months) didn't induce nearly as much disgust as that chart does.

Its just as well, they probably wouldn't have gotten a good actor for Bran in the sequels, and Bran is the character I'm really a fan of in this one.

When this movie comes out I'm spending my ticket money on a bottle of whiskey and sitting home to reread the novels.

I advise you to do the same.


  1. Want. To hurt them. With a spiked mace. Up the nether regions.

    My Will. My lovely, strong, quiet, brave, wise, Will.


    In reality I'm torturing those fuckers in my mind like the most imaginative fanatical 'movie adaptations suck' fans that ever were.

    There are certain books that affect who you are and how you see the world for the rest of your life. For some people it was the bible. For me, it was The Dark is Rising.

  2. Well dammit Will, I wanted to be quoted when someone picks apart the Dark is Rising reaction for fan entitlement.

  3. I have the name, but you're more prominent. They'll probably think you said it.

  4. Thanks for the H/T, Ragnell - what really floors me in this is the sheer reekingness of their utter contempt for the original. And thus, by extension for the fans of the books.

    They don't even pretend to be treating it reverently, to have any respect for the source materials, or to try to justify it to fans. They're just all "the book sucked, it was BOORING, so we're going to remake it asking ourselves 'What Would Michael Bay Do?' and kids are going to LOVE it!"

    (Which says that they didn't pay any attention to the fan reaction to Eragon - a highschool boy I know was starting to go off on his worries about it in Barnes & Nobles before it came out, sheerly based on the casting problems in the posters, and subsequent fan reaction was a resounding "meh" reflected in the box-office. And again, they *did* claim to respect the source and make changes with reluctance, but it didn't stop fans and non-fans alike from going "none of this makes any sense, and how can you care about any of these people? It's all SFX!")

    Someone in a comment on one of the many reaction threads asked if they even know what the Newbury Award is, what that sticker *means*, and the consensus is that they probably don't have any idea that this means it is a book that LOTS of kids have been reading and discussing and loving for *decades*, no matter how much too "hard" and "boring" for these so-sophisticated adults...)

  5. Well, all this controversy has got me curious enough to check out the books, I'll give 'em that much.

  6. Yeah, we saw the preview for that yesterday and my girlfriend's soul broke while I was sitting there next to her. Those books were her childhood.

    Why must they ruin our childhoods? Why?

  7. You know, I hate to be one of those fans who gets mad whenever they change any little thing about a book I loved,

    There's a difference between being all upset that the scary brain attacking Ron wasn't in the OotP movie, and getting pissed that they completely missed the point of the story.

    Your rage is quite justified.

    The annoying H/H shipper who wouldn't shut-up at work today? Hers, not so much.

  8. There are certain books that affect who you are and how you see the world for the rest of your life. For some people it was the bible. For me, it was The Dark is Rising.

    Thank you, Willow. I've been looking for those words ever since I heard about this.

  9. I feel your pain. The quartered circle on my wall is actually weeping in despair.


  10. The Seeker: a scandal AND a marketing mistake.
    Aside from the fact that the changes made to the TDIR story and concept are so visceral that you ask yourself, "why didn't they just write a new story?", redecorating the plot with "modern" and supposedly "typical teen issues" makes the differentiation between this classic and a more recent boy-wizard story impossible. The only way to convince audiences who weren't familiar with the TDIR saga prior to HP that this is more than just a bad HP-ripoff in which Harry has been transplanted into Ron's family, would have been to deliver an eerie, dreamlike yet deadly authentic British tale that didn't set its cards on speed, cliché teen-drama and explosions, but on understatement, a fine balance of arthurian ethereality and realism, meticulous pacing and a main character with an innate moral strength that makes coming into such a legacy and such power wtout going apesh*t believable. These qualities, excellently captured in the books have been "blasted away beyond time" by director David Cunningham along with the potential to make a truly different film for adolescents. If Cunningham's decision to americanise the story was HIS idea for reinforcing the distinction to HP and improve the story's American marketability, it's a bad one. It has already made "The Seeker" more distasteful and insignificant to North American audiences in the run-up. I won't even mention what the publicity in Will's true home country has been like. The only shame is perhaps for Alexander Ludwig who, as long as he doesn't say "awesome", is actually well cast.
    To Cunningham's "The Seeker" I simply say, YUCK! and STRONGLY recommend NOT seeing it...not even to "give it a chance". Read the books instead. Or be patient and wait until a competent screen version is made in the hopefully not too distant future, when the Cunningham "reimagining" of TDIR has faded into insignificance or been completely forgotten.