Review: Seventh Son
PLOT:When a young farm boy is taken in by a local “Spook” - a religious man who hunts demons and witches finds himself in a dangerous and mystifying world. However, things get all the more treacherous when a powerful witch escapes imprisonment and vows to destroy mankind. Too bad she seems all talk and very little action.
According to the new fantasy adventure SEVENTH SON, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) is an evil witch who wants to destroy mankind. In fact, we hear that a whole bunch. Yet, aside from one scene nearly an hour and twenty minutes into the film, all we see is this poor woman caged, burned and attacked. Sure she turns into a dragon and early on kills some poor young apprentice, but it is merely to protect herself. If she is so darn malevolent why not show her really do some damage? Frankly, it was easier to root for her than the old drunk who just wants to kill a bunch of witches. And that drunk happens to be Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges taking on yet another paycheck role).
The story here revolves around a “Spook” and his apprentice. The two set out to rid the world of all the horrible witches and demons that cause trouble for good citizens. Things go horribly wrong for the do-gooders when a witch named Mother Malkin, whom Master Gregory locked away decades ago, finally escapes her confines after gaining power. It seems she is about to take revenge on all those who wronged her on the night of the upcoming Blood Moon. Once she is free, she collects a very tiny army of baddies who will once and for all destroy mankind. Even though the only real damage they do is attacking a small group of extras on a backlot including a witch that has betrayed her own kind. If only this fantasy based story had at least a modicum of substance and wasn’t so dumb. It is hardly more than a fantastical story of a woman scorned.
It would have been more than exciting to see Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore together in a film again - you can’t beat this combo in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. It’s a shame that the two have very little to do. Bridges just mumbles and grumbles and yells at his apprentice, Thomas (Ben Barnes). Moore has a bit more fun with the wacky dialogue but not much else. Aside from looking absolutely gorgeous, she just talks and talks about doing bad things, but rarely ever acts on it. If only they had let this talented actress have a little more freaky fun and cause some serious damage. Most of her action is when she transforms into a dragon. This includes a silly fight with another dragon/witch that is just absurd. Hell, the entire film is just absurd, and frankly kind of dull.
This isn’t necessarily a terrible film in every sense. The opening shot of Gregory locking a screaming woman in a cage high upon a cliff is pretty cool. And the IMAX 3D is okay, if a bit overbearing. Although speaking of cliffs, the “heroes” of this piece keep finding themselves at the edge of one, only to be cornered by those looking to do them harm. This was more than a little repetitive. But I digress. One of the many problems here is that the effects are haphazard at best. Oftentimes they barely register much higher than something you’d see on the SyFy Channel. However there are a few moments that work when it comes to the visual spectacle of it all. It’s a shame that I am slightly hard pressed to think of them only a day after watching it.
As much magic as director Sergei (or Sergey according to IMDB) Bodrov attempts to inject into this exceptionally ridiculous film, it simply feels long and redundant. Ben Barnes is passable in the lead role, and his romance with a possible witch - played by Alicia Vikander - is about as dim as you may expect. You can’t fault the actors so much as you can the story and script. When even Bridges can’t make something work, it would be impossible to expect much from anybody involved. This slow moving tale of witches, demons and dragons attempts to create a larger than life villain, yet she was the only one I felt anything for. SEVENTH SON is just another big screen attempt to create yet another franchise - based on the Joseph Delaney series “The Wardstone Chronicles” - and it lacks any sort of magic at all. It's a waste of talent for all those involved.
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