MOVIE REVIEW: Seventh Son (2014)
After having its release date pushed back three times, ‘Seventh Son’ finally made it to the big screens this month.
The film was originally scheduled for release back in Feb 22, 2013. Later it was moved to Oct 18, 2013 to complete post-production before being postponed to Jan 17, 2014.
As the film began to approach its Jan 17, 2014 release date, it was announced in November 2013 that ‘Seventh Son’ would be released on Feb 6, 2015.
Thankfully that was the US release date because here in Malaysia we managed to catch the movie on New Year’s Eve.
Directed by Russian director Sergei Bodrov (Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan and Nomad), the production actually started in March 2012.
The film sees Jeff Bridges playing John Gregory, also known as the Spook, Ben Barnes as Tom Ward, Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin, and Alicia Vikander as Alice Deane.
It is loosely based on Joseph Delaney’s novel series ‘The Last Apprentice’ which circles around a seventh son of a seventh son named Tom Ward as he becomes the Spook’s apprentice.
The Spook, also known as Master Gregory to his apprentice, is the last of the Falcon Knights, a mystical order tasked to fight evil creatures including witches and baggots.
The main villain is a powerful witch called Mother Malkin (Moore) who was imprisoned by Gregory years ago.
Like most mystical stories, meteorological conditions play a crucial role in the story plot.
Apparently witches in this film are strongest during the ‘blood moon’ which is when the moon turns red.
Taking advantage of this blood moon phase, Mother Malkin manages to escape from her prison and begins plotting her revenge against Gregory and the rest of the human race.
But first, she starts to gather her followers before the full blood moon because that is when their evil power reaches its peak.
Racing against time, Gregory is also on a mission to fight Mother Malkin before the full blood moon.
Conveniently, his apprentice Bill Bradley (Kit Harrington) is killed in the beginning of the film and that is when Ward comes into the picture.
Game of Thrones’ fans will be disappointed to learn that Harrington does not make a miraculous resurrection later on in the movie.
Honestly, I never grabbed Delaney’s books but from the synopsis I have read, I am pretty sure ‘The Last Apprentice’ of the books would be very disappointed watching this movie.
For instance, in the series Ward was supposed to be a 12-year-old farm boy, but the protagonist in the film is played by 31-year-old Barnes whom some of us remember as Prince Caspian from ‘Chronicles of Narnia’.
Considering Barnes’ good looks and believable acting, however, I am not complaining.
Acting-wise, the whole cast gave fairly good performances throughout the film.
Bridges could fool me as a neurotic knight determined to fight evil. Or maybe because his super deep voice makes him fit perfectly into the fantasy film.
Seeing Moore as Mother Malkin the lady boss of all witches was pleasurable for me because any leading actresses who decide to play villains once in a while is entertaining.
Speaking of witches, unlike most witches we know, Seventh Son’s witches do not only cast spells or whip up potions. In this movie, they turn into dragon-like creatures with piercing sharp tails.
Overall, however, ‘Seventh Son’ reminds me of the Harry Potter series. How so? Well, first we have a villain who’s resurrected and starts to assemble her minions much like Voldemort gathering his Death Eaters.
Then there’s a scene where Malkin and her crew of demons are flying to the nearest town to give a piece of what future human abomination might taste like, prompting me to think, “Death Eaters”.
I will let the screenshot from ‘Seventh Son’s trailer to do the talking.
Their mode of transportation really reminds me of Harry Potter’s Apparation.
Sadly, the best action scene of the movie happens 15 minutes in when Gregory has a bar brawl and he uses a beer mug as a weapon.
It was fast, amusing and laid expectations that there were more interesting altercations to come. Sadly there were none; as the story builds up, the excitements crumble down. The final battle was too hasty and disappointing.
If only the film lived up to the expectations built up in its trailers, the movie would not been that bad after all.
Yet, the truth is fantasy film audiences are so hard to impress nowadays. The Hobbits trilogy was so epic and phenomenal that 20 years down the road people will still be talking about it.
Then we have the Harry Potter series which still lingers in the minds of Potterheads out there even though the last movie came out back in 2011.
Even with all the sword-fighting scenes, magic and witches and a cheesy love plot here and there, the film is simply unmemorable.
As much as I love that Barnes traded his Prince Caspian long locks for more youthful short hair, I give ‘Seventh Son’ 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Seventh Son (2014)
Director: Sergey Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander
Running time: 102 min