Seventh Son

“SEVENTH SON”

Yes, I was never going to win this week. Everything that was coming out, I just didn’t want to see, so I just bit the bullet and went to see Seventh Son, which seemed the best option of the bunch, considering the cast of people who I really like, including the recent Oscar winner Julianne Moore. I wasn’t fully convinced about going to see this one and even at one time considered going to see The Sponge Bob Movie!, so I could vent my rage as to how this has somehow become a franchise that is one of Nickleodeon’s most successful!! But I decided to review Seventh Son as it was highly recommended by my good friend Simon Howard who previously joined me to review Big Hero 6. He said he really enjoyed this and I thought, hey ho, lets give it a go. I was slightly dubious about this film as I remember at the time it was coming out, people were worried that Julianne Moore had managed to norbit herself out of an Oscar with this film (norbitting is where an actor does a really bad film around the time they are nominated for an Oscar and it ends up costing them the award, as reference to the fact that Eddie Murphy looked likely to get an Oscar for Dream Girls, then made the film Norbit and pretty much kissed that one goodbye!). Obviously that didn’t come to pass as Julianne Moore did get the Oscar for Still Alice, but with all that said and done I booked the theatre tickets and I went to see it. Seventh Son has been kicked around the release schedule 5 times since its initial estimate of January 2014 and it really shows in the final product

The film’s plot is that Master Gregory, played by Jeff Bridges has been forced to take on a new apprentice in the art of being a spook, a night who deals with creatures of darkness, aka, witches, dragons, demons and all that fantasy stuff, after the return of the dark witch queen Mother Malkin played by Julianne Moore. He recruits Tom Ward, played by Ben Barnes as he is the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and don’t ask me to explain that the film never does so I have no more of a idea than you. From what I can gather it’s something to do with an Order of Knights. However, Tom does not take to this very easily and Mother Malkin is planning a mass invasion with her army at the turn of the full blood moon where she will be at her most powerful. If you think this plot sounds familiar, you are absolutely right! This was generic and I was constantly thinking, been there, done that, got the T Shirt and it was better the last time! Nothing feels very original about this plot at all, it’s every single reluctant hero, with a bland love interest whose only quality is that they fancy the main character and he is trained by a wise old master who has a mysterious past and that would be fine if they added something new which would give the movie an identity of its own! But it never does, it just feels like every other fantasy series ever, in fact it feels like almost like every other movie ever, you get a slight Rocky vibe in some instances.

Last week I said that The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was one of the most engaging plots of any film I had reviewed for the site. This is the complete opposite! I was bored out of my skull watching this, mainly because of its unoriginal nature but I was predicting half the turns of the film as it was going and I didn’t care about a single one of these characters. They are truly that bland! They are not written to have any personality whatsoever, they just feel like cardboard cut-outs, especially Tom Ward whose only defining feature is that he is the main character! I didn’t care at all about him by the end of the film!! The comic relief character Tusk is not entertaining enough to be of any enjoyment and Alice, as the love interest is almost at points even more derived of personality than Tom is! Julianne Moore’s character Mother Malkin is also a completely one dimensional villain and a really non threatening villain and at times she almost feels insignificant to plot since we have several moments where she seems to disappear. It’s not even like she has a presence like Sauron did in Lord of the Rings films. In that instance they could get away with him not being on camera because there were plenty of other villains to attach ourselves to and as I mentioned you constantly felt his presence! Julianne Moore is trying but she does not have that effect because the writers clearly don’t know how to write threatening villains! The time they try to make her threatening they do it in the classic way possible in making a hero of Mam by doing the whole “now it’s personal thing”. By the way you will see it coming at the point it happens in the film. It was that obvious! The only character who has even a mild amount of personality is Master Gregory, but I think more of that is by Jeff Bridges being cast in the role since his humour doesn’t come off very well, especially in the third act. He clearly, has not been written very well, especially considering that he doesn’t come across like he is very interested in teaching Tom anything and at times it almost feels like he could do the whole thing himself, why does he need an apprentice?

The screenplay is based on a novel called the spooks Apprentice , which admittedly I haven’t read and in case your are wondering it actually says in the credits that it’s “inspired by the novel” so, yes, take that for what it’s worth. The screenplay itself is written by Charles Leavitt along with Steven Knight whose only really well known credit is a writing credit on Dirty Pretty Things and Steven Knight is also writing the upcoming World War Z 2, Huzar, we’re all looking forward to that. They clearly are in-experienced and clearly binged themselves on fantasy fiction without putting any original ideas of their own in there. Even the monsters just feel like someone’s lazy custom dungeons and dragons map. Basically my point is the plot is boring and unoriginal and has absolutely no identity. I know I am repeating myself, but there are only so many ways you can say that and it really shows. This film runs in at 101 minutes and I was counting the clock on my phone because I just wanted to get out of the Cinema and do something else.

Acting wise, they are all just as bland as the script! No one gives a decent performance with the exception of Jeff Bridges who looks like he is trying his best but it’s just not all there and it just seems like even he knows the writing is rubbish. Poor Jeff Bridges, it seems like everything he has done since True Grit has just been disaster after disaster and I would really like it if one of his next film’s would actually be decent because I really like the actor, there is a reason he has multiple Oscar nomination. He was excellent in films like True Grit, Iron man and of course The Big Lebowski. Julianne Moore may have got the Oscar for Still Alice, but she is not really good in this role at all. The writers, either could go with making her a complete bad ass maniacal villain or they could have made her an over the top hammy villain and they don’t do either! So as a result, Julianne Moore has absolutely nowhere to go with this role, she is trying her best, but it’s not a brilliant performance. Ben Barnes, playing Tom Ward, however, was really not one of his better decisions, he’s not great in this role and I am doubtful anyone is going to let him near a big leading role after this film. Honestly, they are the only cast members that leave much of an impression on you. Alicia Vikander really doesn’t do much better as Alice, Olivia Williams is basically an extended cameo and John DeSantis does an okay job in his physical acting, but it’s not exactly all there. The only other actor who really built much of an impression on me was Djimon Hounsou, he’s arguably one of the better actors in the villain roles but he is not given enough to do to really show it off and even when he is, I don’t think the Director really knew how to work with him because he was made a much better villain in Guardians of the Galaxy, which by the way has also been reviewed on the site. So while this film doesn’t have some performances which are really that good, and I can blame a lot of it on the writing, I do also think that is down to some bad direction by Sergey Bodrov whose previous work is rather a mixed bag, but I don’t think this will be one he will be mentioning a lot the next time he is pitching film to a production company.

The only thing left is the action scenes and films aesthetics. Now I went to see the film in 3D, but in doing my research in going to see this film I actually discovered that several areas were not screening the film in 3D. In fact I know a lot of people who work and attend the charity Autism Inclusive meetings who read this blog are based out of Crewe and if they are reading this they can ignore this advice as Crewe Odeon are only playing the film in 2D. Even in other areas there are no 3D screenings either, but even if your area is screening a 3D version of this I would say skip it and go see the 2D version. You are being ripped off by the bucket load for the 3D glasses for this film. The 3D really doesn’t work because the background has basically been blurred beyond belief to make the actors seem like they are in the foreground and even then it doesn’t really work. I actually discovered that if I was tipping my head to the side in the slightest, I actually caused the 3D to flip out and go even more blurry, so I had to make sure I kept my head really still and as I said, even when I did only a few of the shots were actually very good in 3D. One of the action sequences about an hour into the film used the 3D very wisely and a lot of the landscape shots also did the 3D pretty well. Other than that there really is no reason to see this film in 3D. If you still want to see the film, see it in the 2D version, and if you’re lucky enough to own a 3D TV and a 3D Blu Ray player, this is not one to pay the extra amount of dosh for and this stinks of a rushed post convergence 3D. With that being said, this film’s special effects are okay, at best. It’s not as bad as say, Ninja Turtles and the CGI does blend with the actors pretty well, but it is very apparent that they were counting on the 3D being at least half decent for some of these and they don’t always work out so well and it’s pretty evident that they are not really there! Again, if you are going to have this much CGI in a film you have to try and integrate it well, this film does a decent job but it’s not well enough. I heard that the production company producing this film went broke part way through post-production and I think they made the best with what they had but it wasn’t enough.

I did enjoy the set designs, however much it seemed like they were copying other more successful fantasy franchises. The cinematography is not bad, except a couple of the scenes felt like they were cut quite badly and it seemed like a couple of the actors had sort of teleported in a split second! The action sequences on the other hand are varied. The sequence involving the massive blind monster that is basically a rip off of The Balrog from Lord of the Rings and was the only sequence that actually used the 3D very well and was actually a decent sequence. I also did enjoy some of the fight between Jeff Bridges and Djimon Hounsou, other that that, I really didn’t care much for these sequences, some of them were pretty good but some of them had the tendency to do typical quick cuts and zooming in the camera to make sure that you don’t notice a lot of the specific choreographies done that have been prepared for the sequence. Some of the special effects that had clearly been added in afterwards didn’t blend in as brilliantly as I would have liked. Seriously, there is, at one point, a fight between two dragons and I was still bored by it. How do you manage that? But at least there was no shaky cam. We can at least say that!

Overall I really disliked Seventh Son, it was so boring. It had a script of a film that I had seen a hundred times and it’s been done better before and it wasted a brilliant ensemble cast. How you have a film with Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges in and you don’t get a decent performance, I will never understand, and it is a sign of poor directing. The 3D was laughable and I think actually impeded the film I was watching and the action sequences were really varied in quality. It’s a very bland, very forgettable film and if I haven’t forgotten about most of it in a week, I will be amazed!! I won’t be surprised if this film turns up in my worst films of 2015 list, although it is way too early to speculate on that. The ending of the film eludes to this becoming a franchise PLEASE NO!

My advice: Skip this film in the cinema and DVD, especially the 3D version!

Well what are your thoughts on Seventh Son? Leave something in the comments section if you would like to express your opinion on this film, and remember, if you would like to write your own reviews or put your own contents on the site, send an email to calvin@axia-asd.co.uk.

My question for this week is:
With Seventh Son not getting that many 3D screenings, despite the fact that it is advertised as so, are we all wanting to say goodbye to 3D as a whole, or is there still some hope for 3D?
Please leave your honest thoughts, we would love to hear them.

Easter week-end is coming up and I am going to the cinema to see the next installment in the long, long, running franchise “Fast and Furious 7” and my review will be on our site on 10 April.

Thanks for reading my review and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy making them.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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Posted in Film Society
One comment on “Seventh Son
  1. Calvin says:

    my friend Simon Howard’s comments on Facebook when he read this review:
    “NO just no Cal man I love you dearly, but your review is horse poop XD This film is cool xx”

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22nd January 2020
at 12:30 pm
The Next Axia ASDis 26th February 2020
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

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