Seventh Son – 3 out of 5
I’ve never read or even heard of the book (The Spook’s Apprentice or The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch as it is called in the United States) that this film is based on by Joseph Delaney. However, when I was at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013 I remembered that they had some posters promoting the film and on them I saw The Dude and I remember saying, “Sure, whatever it is doesn’t matter. It has Jeff Bridges so I’m in," but I kinda forgot about the film after it was delayed. However, I recently noticed it was still at my local budget theater so I decided to give it a shot. Thankfully, budget theaters are cheap so I wasn’t too upset over what Seventh Son cost me. Actually, that sounds means because the film wasn’t that bad.
|The Dude abides.|
Successful witch hunter Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) finds his past creeping up on him after the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) escape the prison cell he crafted for her. After she kills his apprentice (Kit Harington), Gregory sets out to find the seventh son of a seventh son; Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), and takes him as his new apprentice. Together, Gregory hopes to teach Tom everything he knows as soon as possible and stop Malkin from rising to power and bringing darkness to the land.
|"Look there, apprentice...two dogs doing it."|
|The locales look pretty darn good in this one.|
For the most part, Seventh Son is an alright fantasy film. It has a great cast, decent special effects and some exciting action sequences but it definitely wasn’t the best work of fantasy I’ve ever seen. The film also has some fun characters going for it that make it something that never got boring and some decent visuals. Julianne Moore looks like a badass as Mother Malkin, Jeff Bridges has the right level of wise and goofy as Master Gregory, there’s an interesting creature named Tusk that has some fun moments here and there and Tom Ward kinda enters the film flat and boring but gets better as the film goes on. Ultimately, though, there was one thing that hurt the film…
|"Come, Tusk. Let us travel to the farm upstate where you can run free|
and be with others of your kind...also called the vet."
The story is pretty straightforward fantasy stuff: An evil something or other escapes from its ancient prison and now a wise mentor and the mentor’s untrained partner must save the day. A lot of fantasy films follow this path and the plot to the inevitable victory they get may have a few twist and turns in order to establish the universe it exists in without having to have a prologue with voice over explaining how things work in this new world or strange exposition pieces from the movie equivalent of NPCs. Seventh Son does this too but too often these sidetracks felt less like they were showing you the world the story exists in and more about just padding the hell out of the running length.
|"Blarg! I'm the monster who stretches this film out a little bit!"|
It’s strange that the film could end up feeling like it is just wandering around aimlessly because the film comes out of the gate at full speed and sets up the conflict and the hero’s journey very fast but then it suddenly felt like it had to put the brakes on and slow things down a bit with something that felt like sightseeing. Sure, there are times when this results in a cool scene or two but this also ended up making the film feel like it forgot the main goal of the heroes and it ended up giving a lot less screen time to Julianne Moore. Forgetting to include more of her resulted in never really getting a feel for how powerful and ruthless she could be and, even though she looked all kinds of badass in her black outfits, it made her a weak antagonist.
|Weak antagonist, sure, but she still looks badass!|
There’s a lot of awkwardness to the story and plot to Seventh Son but there’s some fun to it as well. It’s not the best fantasy film I’ve seen but it never bored me either. The film kinda wastes having talent like Kit Harington and Djimon Housou in it and Tom’s journey of becoming trained as a witch hunter feels a bit empty and without substance but the film had enough genuinely entertaining moments that it made the film somewhat decent and mildly entertaining.