Seventh Son (2014)    1 Stars

“When darkness falls, the son will rise”

Seventh Son (2014)
Seventh Son (2014)


Director: Sergei Bodrov

Cast: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

Synopsis: When Mother Malkin, the queen of evil witches, escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter Spook decades ago and kills his apprentice, he recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him.

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In some places you can find yourself in deep doo-doo for locking your troublesome ex-girlfriend in a dark pit at the top of a mountain, but Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges – The Big Lebowski, The Last Picture Show) gets away with it for a good few years at the start of Sergei Bodrov’s Seventh Son, a fantasy adventure in the mould of The Lord of the Rings, but on a vastly reduced scale. Hell hath no fury like a formerly-buried ex-, though, and to be honest you can’t blame Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore – Carrie, Non-Stop) for being a little ticked off once she finally gets out of her prison. It doesn’t help that she’s a black-hearted witch, either, and that her wrath is a touch more powerful than that of your average woman. So, it’s not just Gregory who’s going to pay for her lengthy incarceration, but the entire world…

When his apprentice of long-standing is consumed by fire in their first encounter with Malkin, Gregory must find a replacement before the rising of a blood moon which will signify the zenith of Malkin’s power. He travels to the modest home of Tom Ward (Ben Barnes – Killing Bono), the seventh son of a seventh son, who suffers from visions of the future, and together they embark on a quest to Malkin’s refuge on Pendle Mountain. On the way, Tom falls for Alice (Alicia Vikander), a white witch who just happens to be Malkin’s niece…

It’s never a good sign when a movie takes forever to be released after shooting has wrapped, and while Seventh Son finished filming in July 2012, it wasn’t released until February 2015 in the States. It’s not that bad though, even though it adheres to a formula that was common in the 1980s and relies too heavily on spectacular CGI effects to move its audience. Bridges once again leaves his top set of dentures at home to play the part of crusty old Gregory, and leaves you marvelling at just how this ancient, craggy-faced wizard could once have been a fresh-faced punk named Duane. He seems to have forgotten what it was like too, because there’s not a lot of chemistry between him and his young apprentice. Bridges is pretty good, though, but it’s a shame that Julianne Moore couldn’t have been given a little more screen time to casually flick that killer tail of hers as she’s by far the most interesting character. But like all the human members of the cast, even she can’t really compete with the stupendous special effects upon which Seventh Son has clearly staked its reputation.

It’s an adequate time-filler, but when you spend close to $100,000,000 on making a movie you expect something more than that, so in that respect Seventh Son has to be considered a failure. It’s true that we rarely get a sense of watching an epic quest unfolding in a fantastical land the way that we do with the Lord of the Rings movies (despite their numerous flaws) and that it’s honestly difficult to find one original idea amongst all those whistles and bells, but its undemanding and inoffensive, and kids should like it. Just don’t hold your breath for a sequel…

(Reviewed 29th September 2015)

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