I mentioned a detailed list of changes to
1) Arthurian legend does not play a part.
2) Will is a thirteen-year-old American with neglectful parents and bullying brothers.
3) "Will goes to the mall and is accused of shoplifting by security guards, who take him to their office, demand the signs, then turn into rooks and chase him around the mall."
4) The Walker is young and the Rider has a white horse.
5) "Merriman relies on a mace... Miss Greythorne is rocking her swordcane on two fully-functional legs."
6) Will has a crush on Maggie Barnes and Max is working for the Dark.
7) "Will is Superman, Jr., with super strength and a bunch of other powers. He just can't fly. Alexander Ludwig says in his interview that he regrets he doesn't have this power as well, but — what was it? Ah, yes — 'It would totally change the whole story though.' " OH, WELL THEN.
8) Ian McShane: " 'I think the one thing I wanted to bring to this was reality,' he says. 'It was written in Old English.' "
9) Will has a twin.
10) OLD ENGLISH? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?
I just realized that this is coming out this Friday, so I'm going to say something, I have to say it now. Let me explain why I care about this, and why you should, even beyond the obvious suggestion that I'm a writer and I feel horrified for Susan Cooper. No, first and foremost--nothing has made me happier than the fantasy movie renaissance of the last seven years, and given y'all's responses to things I've posted, I'm pretty sure most of y'all are fantasy fans as well. And so far, miraculously, we've gotten by with extremely respectful adaptations. In the beginning, LOTR and HP (both in 2001) set excellent precedents for faithful book adaptations making shitloads of money, and most subsequent productions have followed in their footsteps. (And yes, the Harry Potter movies have made tons of changes and omissions over the years, but--go back up and read that Dark Is Rising list and see if you don't look at the Harry Potter changes in a totally different light now.) The Lemony Snicket movie changed a few things, including more of a wrap-up at the end, but they all worked, and the rest of the movie was so obviously trying to capture the books. The Narnia movie was fantastic, the Dark Materials people are obviously trying to be as faithful as possible despite the religion issue, Stardust made some majorish changes but was still a lovely adaptation--the only other really, really horrible travesty I can think of off the top of my head was the Earthsea miniseries, and it bombed, so, you know, faithful = money was still being upheld.
What if The Dark Is Rising adaptation ("adaptation") is a hit?
Oh, the studios will say, you can still make a ton of money, but you can do whatever you want? You can change the story and put in pointless but trendy family conflicts, love interests, younger characters? You can squeeze action into bizarre places and completely miss the point of the story? You can whittle it down until it hardly resembles the original at all? Wow, this is really convenient! All this time, we were busting our collective ass for nothing! Why bother actually trying to do the work of translating a beloved property to a different medium? We can just use a known title to sell people a completely different story, and it doesn't even have to be any good!
You see why I'm getting concerned here.
Think of any book series they haven't put on screen yet--because they will, particularly now that Harry Potter has run its course and there's only two movies left. Think of any series you love. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising is what could happen to those books. In fact, I've heard that they're just calling it The Seeker now, which, as people have pointed out, is a term also used in... Harry Potter.
So what I'm asking is this: please, please do not go see this movie. Wait all of three months for it to come out on DVD, if you just need to see