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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Worst Idea Ever, Continued

All right. At my viewing of the trailer for The Dark Is Rising, I was left with the impression that it was set in America due to the American accents used by the characters (and I seem to recall some scene with a yellow bus. o.O). However, according to a SciFi.com article , the movie will be set in England (northern England, but more on that later); only the nationality of the Stanton family has been changed to American.

I am not rescinding my previous post. It was an honest reaction, and I think a valid one. However, with this new news, I simply get the leeway to rip everything else apart. And even from one trailer viewing, there is much to be ripped.

Let's start with the Stantons. Their Americanization is a bad, bad idea. Along the same lines as before, the Stantons' nationality is integral to the story. The Dark Is Rising in particular has several scenes concerning with British pride, and commentary on how Britons deal with this and that. Furthermore, the story is drenched in British mythology, particularly that of Arthur; it seems that the makers of the film version are attempting to completely modernize the story by leaving out all the history and tradition at its core. Not only that, but the family structure of the Stantons has been decimated. Will is older--13, where in the book he is 11, for a very important reason--and apparently he has been given a twin, a boy who has been in captivity by the Dark. And it gets better! Robin and Paul, two of Will's older brothers, have been transformed into grungy bullying jerks; their literary selves were, respectively, a rugby-player type who liked to sing and a dreamy, quiet boy who played the flute. Paul especially was sensitive to and defensive of Will. Then there's the warping of Max, the second-oldest brother, from an art student to a tattooed, pierced rebel. Simply put, the Stantons are unrecognizable. To turn them from a mainly happy and loyal family into a splintered, mean-spirited bunch is antithetical to the themes of the story. Will is not an outsider who needs acceptance into the ways of Britain--he only begins to feel distanced when he discovers his powers as an Old One. From then on, his path is one of learning and guidance from his masters, and the close of the series finds him wise and complete in the lore of his country.

Then there's the matter of Merriman and the other magical types in the story. Merriman is badass, it's true, but in a rumbly repressed sort of English way. HE DOES NOT WIELD A FUCKING MACE, PEOPLE. Neither does the Lady have a cane which turns into a sword if she needs to go medieval on the baddies. Hawkin is not gifted (or cursed) with eternal youth, and neither has he lost his soul. And, perhaps most trivial and at the same time most important, the Black Rider rides a black horse.

In case it's not obvious, I cannot find enough wrong with this film. I do not think I will be seeing it. I will remain content with the novels and my own vision of them. Who needs a homogenized Hollywood version where all that is recognizable is the title?
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