Hello, Spongey here.
I’ve done a lot of theme months since I started doing this and some were big hits, and some were more on the mixed side. One of those was So Bad It’s Horrible Month, which I did in April of 2012.
One of hand, a lot of the posts are some of my biggest hits and I got some good reviews out of the. However, I did it too soon after another theme month and I never even properly finished it.
But it was still kind of a hate despite and I’ve always wanted to go back to it. And with the weekly reviews ending soon, I wanted to do one last theme month that goes back an earleir. So …why do this one?
Welcome my friends, to So Bad It’s Horrible Month 2!
If you don’t remember what this is, this is a month where I review films off of TV Tropes’ So Bad It’s Horrible section, where the very worst of media is listed. And they are mostly strict on what gets put there.
There will be a few differences this time around. For one, I’m going to finish it. And I will be opening it up to films from the IMDB Bottom 100! Oh yeah, I really want to punish myself this month.
There will be some positive blog projects on the side to make up for it.
Let’s start out simple with one of the more…perplexing entries on the page. It’s a 2007 film based on a popular book series that is widely hated. Usually that kind of the movie is just the hate subject of the week and week everyone forgets it soon after.
And while it is now kind of obscure, the fact that it still graces the So Bad It’s horrible page means it has to have something really bad. The adaptations that are on that page so above and beyond like The Last Airbender.
I’ve been more than a little curious about it, so it’s time to finally look at it. The book series this is based is called “The Dark is Rising” by Susan Cooper, and it’s another one of those big kids fantasy series.
Apparently it’s really good and fresh. Something tells me this film won’t represent it well, mostly because the author hates it. That’s always a good sign.
The director and writer haven’t done anything else of note so we can just jump right into this thing. Is this book to movie translation as bad as everyone is saying, or are fans just being whiny bitches again?
…Only one way to find out!
This, is The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
The movie opens with our protagonist Will, as his school has been let out for winter vacation. Wait, this is gonna be partly a Christmas movie? Drat, I’m a few months late. This is based on a book, so we need some forced exposition. Take it away!
“Any thoughts on your first semester as an American overseas?”
That’ll do. But enough of that, we gotta move swiftly forward as some dude pops up to invite Will and his sister to a Christmas party at “The manor”. Guess this is some rich family they know or something. For once exposition would be welcome!
Will arrives at home as some of his older brothers are home for the holidays. Because of that, he is forced to sleep in the attic because we need a quick for him to gain sympathy I suppose. I don’t know, nothing that horrible has happened so far.
The next morning some farmer’s show up to help them and one says bad weather is coming. He’s talking about some big evil, calling it now. Oh, and it’s Will birthday because of course it is. The books are marketed to “Young Adults”, by the way.
He is turning 14, which is nice since in these stories they tend to be younger…..But I hear he’s 11 in the books. But yeah, I don’t care how different is if the movie is good on it’s own.
I’ll give the movie this: It’s at least trying to build up the characters and stuff before shit goes down. In so many of these stories the plot begins before we get to know anyone, but here they are at least…trying.
Even if it has the opposite effect and makes me want to just skip the boring parts. I mean we still know barely anything about Will as a character. Walking around while ogther stuff happens isn’t character development.
Will goes to the mall where he buys something, but then two dudes accuse him of shoplifting. Let me guess, no one can see the chick he bought it from because of magical stuff?
…Or maybe they will turn out to be crazy clawed monsters in a scene I can barely make out due to the lights flickering like Nosferatu took over as director. ….That’s possible too. I guess the random trinket he bought being a plot device is equally as cliché.
He runs away and the guards just give up I guess. Will is starting to feel a little strange, and all the cliches are coming together. Ugh, at least this when ripping off Harry Potter was at it’s height, and wasn’t too old hat yet.
But enough of that, onto that Christmas party where crazy stuff will no doubt be revealed. While there, two people mysteriously talk about the boy and his destiny or some shit. Will sees a girl he likes but one of his douche-y brothers talks to her, saying she’s “out of your league”. Dick.
Will goes outside to mope to himself when a creepy dude on a horse shows up to try to kill him. I hate it when that happens.
“Are you frightened of me? You should be, I’m very angry”
You can tell by my monotone voice.
The farmer’s, as well as the people from the party show up and tell this guy to leave Will alone. He leaves but says evil shit is gonna happen soon, Merry Christmas. Also, he’s played by Christoper Ecclston.
They then take Wil to “the great hall”, where he shall be safe. Okay, time for some exposition about what the hell is going on! These guys are the Old Ones AND Will is “The Sign Seeker”.
“The Rider, he serves the dark. The Dark is rising”
Of course, Will is the chosen one who must locate six Signs whose possession will grant The Light power over The Dark. His powers kicked in on his 14th Birthday because that’s how this goes.
So yeah, this is an in incredibly typical story with good guys and bad guys, and a kid who is destined to do mystical shit and save the day. Some parts were kind of cool until that speech just boiled it down to another boring story.
Again, this being from 2007 makes me forgive this compared to Mortal Instruments, but it’s still nothing special.
“You are special, Will. The 7th Son”
Wrong mediocre movie.
Will says they are wrong because no chosen one kid wants to be the chosen one for some reason. He just goes home abruptly and does some internet research on this light and dark thing.
Later on, Will twists his ankle and a doctor visits him. The Doctor is actually Christoper Eccelston’s character in disguise. Hardy har har. Wait, didn’t they also make a lame joke like that in GI Joe, in a way?
He offers him the chance to have evil power in exchange for the signs, and doesn’t even give Will time to decline it before threatening him, then leaving. I suppose that had some point.
Then out of nowhere we find out Will secretly has a twin brother named Tom who mysteriously vanished. That’s sad and all but at this point I don’t care. Now we’re getting exposition a bit too quickly and I still don’t care about Will at all.
This is done to explain the 7th son stuff so now Will knows he’s The Chosen One. Don’t think we needed a random backstory just to move the plot forward when we could have moved it back there, but okay.
Will goes to his mentor buddies and does further research on this. We already have our first sign, hidden in Will’s birthday present. Good, we only have a few more McGuffins to get.
“You are the Seeker”
Roll credits, again! So then he goes home, because he needs time to think this over and he needs no further exposition or something. We cut to him in Church for the Christmas Sermon thing so we can make me feel more awkward for doing this in March.
It’s here where Will begins to test his powers a bit, and one of his powers involves time travel. Oh boy I’m sure that won’t make this movie more confusing at all. He is randomly taken to the 1200’s where the next sign might be.
Despite pressure from a snake woman (Don’t ask) he finds the next sign in the form of a thing I can’t identify, and we are randomly taken back to the present like nothing happened. That happened, and I’m still bored with nothing to comment on.
We are then randomly told about how Willa’s ancestor created the signs because reasons. There’s still other fairly important details missing from these explanations that they just skip out on for some reason.
Meanwhile, The Rider talks to a mysterious figure to ask him to help him defeat a tween boy. That’s all that happens here. Back at home, one of the brothers has invited Maggie, that girl Will liked in that one scene over for…something.
Then it turns out she is magic being of some kind too, because I care that someone we saw for one second is magic or some shit. They bond a little bit, and Will admits he has thought about her a lot and says they are “connected”.
….Anyone else think this sounds more creepy than sweet?
Then we again move on from a scene like nothing happened, as Will talks to one of the mentor guys about how he thinks he isn’t cut out to be a hero even then everyone says he will do good yada yada.
He is right though, this is another case where I don’t see anything too special about him. He doesn’t have any amazingly deep baggage, nor did he survive anything big in the past or whatever.
Of course he only says “you’ll do good” and that’s it. What a deep and complex conversation they just had. Later on, Gwen bumps onto Will, and as some dark clouds appear, he holds her tight and boom, they time travel.
They appear in the middle of a slow motion filled action scene as they see the next sign. Wait, so his time powers take him right to the next sign? That’s really convenient and kind of makes this journey less….epic. How does it even work?
They grab the sign and leave. That was…anti climatic. The signs are pretty dang easy to get, I must say. What makes Will so dang special?
One of the mentor guys…calls him out for being “selfish and irresponsible”. I don’t get it, he got the sign, what is the problem? Gwen happened to pop up there, it’s not his fault she had bad timing. I don’t get it!
“What if I can’t do this?”
“Trust that you can be”
So we’re gonna forget that he was angry? Okay.
Sometime later, a freak blizzard hits the town and Max, one of the brothers is sort of possessed by The Rider, since he can do that now that he is more powerful. Good, I was starting to think he was a lame villain cuz he barely did anything.
…Then they are randomly taken to 1690. Okay, how the hell does this work? Is Will doing this on his own or what? Explain your important points, damn it!
This is kind of a lame way to address some baggage Max had that was poorly explained earlier, and doesn’t add up to much here, so I won’t sum it all up because none of it matters. Hell, he just knocks him out anyway!
With that, he finds the sign and leaves. Seriously, these signs are way too easy to locate. Also, nevermind The Rider sucks again because his spell was weak and ended up accomplishing nothing.
And in another out of nowhere backstory, some stuff about Tom is revealed but it’s done in a way that is hard to follow, but I think Dad says he is the reason he was taken by bad guys, or something, I don’t know.
Like a lot of things in this movie, it’s kind of rushed and not explained well. And the brush it off after this bit like it didn’t even happen!
A bit later the weather gets worse, and of course it is all thanks The Rider. He pretty much tells Will if he doesn’t join him, he will kill his family and yada yada. Maggie randomly shows up to help him and asks for the signs.
She’s a bad guy. This set up usually means that the person is bad, or is being controlled. Mostly because him trusting someone he just met just sounds like a bad idea. During that, The Rider causes more mayhem, including making things flood, which just helps Will find the next sign which is…in a place under the water, I guess.
Oh, and Maggie was a bad guy. Shocking, I know. He says she has failed him, and basically kills her. …Yikes, she sure was pointless. They go to The Great Hall where The Rider can’t get in unless invited.
He impersonates Will’s parents so he will let him in, and because he’s a dumbass all of a sudden, it works. The mentor guys even tell him NOT to do it! He comes in and says he has Tom, as it turns he took him all those years ago, thinking he was The Seeker.
In hindsight, that bit was pretty predictable. Still think Tom was pointless, even now that he’s relevant. He sucks Will up into a black cloud where Will randomly realizes that he himself is the 6th Sign.
Well, that’s confusing. With this info in mind, he finally stands up to the Rider to give a “badass” speech.
“‘I’ve read the book”
And it was way better than this mediocrity! …Wait..
So with that, Will puts The Rider in a snow globe because…reasons. Yep, he defeated evil by collecting stuff, using a random black cloud thing and…existing. What a complex and riveting hero.
Also, Anti Climax ftl.
With that, things are now randomly fine, and Tom is even freed. Explaining this to the family shall be…awkward.
“You did alright”
With the Mentors approval, Will and Tom leave and go to their family, who hugs him without questioning anything. Whatever. Having learned…uh…um…something, the movie ends.
That’s right, another bad rushed ending. One of the worst since Cloud 9 actually. I mean, the bad ugy is defeated…and that’s it! Will doesn’t seem to learn anything and it just…kind of stops.
At least there’s not much in terms of an annoying cliffhanger. But it’s still dumb and rushed. Meh.
That was incredibly…mediocre for the most part. This is almost one of the most mediocre things I’ve ever seen ,but not even in a way that makes me angry. The plot is incredibly basic and cliché, but for a while isn’t really that incoherent.
Everything else follows suit being just very meh. It didn’t do anything terrible, but it didn’t anything that well either. And not even in a fun way I could discuss, the first half of this review was a bit dull because I had nothing to comment on.
I was ready to just call it mediocre and end it there…but things got worse in the 2nd half. Not to the point where it’s terrible, but it gets worse. The basic-ness of the story becomes worse when they try to add in other elements that just don’t fit, and more dumb things happen. Things just stop making sense and we are given a really lame ending.
The main character finds out he’s more special than he thought, than defeats the villain so damn easily it kind of makes the kind of decent build up worthless. Seriously, the ending may be one of the lamest ever.
My problem is that no one really learns anything. I’m not asking for anything deep, just a sign that the main character grew a little through the journey. The only thing that happened is he found his brother, but it was done so easily that it doesn’t matter.
Speaking of learning things, there aren’t really any themes and Will doesn’t exactly have a lot going on. Again, I don’t need anything deep but with a story this basic, you need some extra themes to set it apart.
They don’t really do that, making this story incredibly dull. There are cool elements I suppose, but they don’t add up to anything in the end. They try to make Will likable through minor things, but there’s not much complexity to him in the end and he begins even less interesting as he just gets these signs so easily.
That’s a problem because he’s the only character who ever does anything. Everyone else is just there and has no personality to expand upon, even the mentor guys. The Rider is kind of cool but defeated too easily.’
They try a little bit to make things interesting in some spots, but in the end those bits come together in a rather clumsy way and Will just wins easily and no one seems to learn anything before the movie just kind of…stops.
I’m a bit mixed. On one hand it’s just incredibly mediocre but on the other hand, it becomes incredibly poorly written and is among the weakest of these book movies, because it barely even tries to be interesting.
I think I’ll play it safe and still call it “Mediocre.” To be fair, it isn’t really that painful and I was mostly just bored. It’s mostly the ending that makes it almost bad, as the rest isn’t even interesting enough to warrant anger.
Now, is it worth of being on So Bad It’s Horrible page? No. Even with it’s problems, it’s competently made by most standards. It’s no worse than Mortal Instruments, which is not on there.
Sure, it might be terrible as an adaptation but it should be horrible even on it’s own merits. The fact that most people forgit it exists shows that it’s not really terrible enough to be on there.
But whatever, it’s mediocre, that’s all there is to it.
Next time on So Bad It’s Horrible Month 2, we go out to space with an infamous bomb.