UK Release Date: 27th March 2015
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Writer: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams, Kit Harington
Synopsis: A young man is taken under the wing of a supernatural defender as he attempts to battle an evil, and incredibly powerful, witch.
Around the time of the Oscars, there were some concerns that Eddie Redmayne could lose out on the Best Actor prize following his terrible performance in Jupiter Ascending. This notion of the “Norbit Effect” also applied to Best Actress winner Julianne Moore, who had just starred in Seventh Son – which is an absolute stinker.
Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is the last of an order of knights known as Spooks, who defend humanity from supernatural threats. His apprentice, Billy (Kit Harington), is killed in a fight with powerful witch Mother Malkin (Moore). Gregory takes a new apprentice in the form of Tom (Ben Barnes), who is the seventh son of a seventh son.
Seventh Son was more or less buried by its studio, released in the graveyard of late March amidst a clutch of big-name action movies. It’s easy to see why the studio were reluctant to push the film because it’s an ungainly, uninteresting mess. From its odd conceit to its leaden pacing, the film is impossible to enjoy.
| "Our world is divided between light and darkness."
At the centre of the film is Jeff Bridges, sporting a beard that manages to completely obscure almost every word of his mumbled delivery. There are times when Bridges’ delivery makes crucial expository dialogue every bit as indecipherable as Looney Tunes character Yosemite Sam in a fit of rage. With this coming directly after Bridges’ previous turkey R.I.P.D., maybe he should leave the fantasy genre alone for a while.
Ben Barnes makes absolutely no impact as the ostensible lead and neither does his undercooked romance with Alicia Vikander’s character. Vikander, who has been so strong in recent releases like Ex Machina and Testament of Youth, is given absolutely no meat to chew on here. In fact, Seventh Son is a pork chop short of a full meal for everyone involved.
It throws everything it has at the screen, including some admittedly impressive creature effects, but it isn’t enough to break the tedium. The script of Seventh Son is terribly half-baked, rendering the simple plot incomprehensible at certain points and impossible to care about throughout. None of the characters are relatable or interesting, even in the face of the scenery-chewing evil of Julianne Moore’s villain.
| "You think humanity is good? There’s evil inside everyone."
Seventh Son is desperately boring, plodding aimlessly from one scene to the next, without wit and without intrigue. The characters are thinly drawn and fail to develop, particularly when their performances are reduced to mumbling at each other.
There are 15 other books in the series on which this film is based, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing another. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Pop or Poop?
With a mumbling Jeff Bridges and an anonymous Ben Barnes at its centre, Seventh Son is a tepid limp of a fantasy tale.
The effects are pretty, but the storytelling is lacklustre, with heart, wit and drama all conspicuous by their absence.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.