Rating: 2 of 5
In some ways this was better than I expected, and in some ways not.
The first time I saw the preview I thought it looked like a fun fantasy film, not brilliant but better than Eragon. And it definitely was that. The camera work is sometimes over the top, twisty or sweeping or unnecessarily upside down and then twisty all over again. I literally got dizzy a couple of times. So, yeah, if I could change just one thing about this film – it’d be the camera work where it’s manic. And the one ridiculous shot of the kid’s throat where it’s trying to convince us he’s scared and the moment is tense. Let me assure you, an extreme close up of his throat turned side ways doesn’t amp the tension at all. Not even a little.
Oh, and the development with the girl, not surprising. at. all. And therefore not really necessary to the overall story I think.
Other than that it was pretty good. The performances were all good. I was surprised to see Gregory Smith, so that was a nice little bonus. The twin brothers were fun and the little sister was sweet. Christopher Eccleston was obviously brilliant.
The mythology wasn’t that strong, I think in part because of the compression from book to film. The whole light and dark thing was pretty simplistic which doesn’t make for a great mythology, but the complexities of the relationships made up for that. I really liked that the dad had been pursuing the physics of light and dark and had a whole theory – light and dark fighting it out for the same space. It reminded me of A Wrinkle In Time and I wish his involvement in that aspect of the story could have been developed more. It added a compelling layer that was hinted at but never fully formed. And the dad’s contentious relationship with Gregory Smith, I wish that had been more fully developed. Not that there would have really been time for all that, I just thought they were interesting things that if the script had been handled a little differently could have been developed a little more. Though I did like how Gregory Smith’s character played into the larger story with the rider using him to try and thwart the kid.