John Gregory, who is a seventh son of a seventh son and also the local spook, has protected his country from witches, boggarts, ghouls and all manner of things that go bump in the night. However John is not young anymore, and has been seeking an apprentice to carry on his trade. Most have failed to survive. The last hope is a young farmer’s son named Thomas Ward. Will he survive the training to become the spook that so many others couldn’t? Should he trust the girl with pointy shoes? How can Thomas stand a chance against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the county?
Jeff Bridges : Master Gregory
Julianne Moore : Mother Malkin
Ben Barnes : Tom Ward
Director : Sergey Bodrov
˝You’ve spells, boy. What kind?
Sometimes I…I see things. Things that haven’t happened yet.
Could be useful. Not the passing out part of course, but the visions.˝
Take the cartoon “The Sword in the Stone“, add in a few ingredients of “Willow” and use a diminutive small portion of “The Lord of the Rings” and you’ll get “Seventh Son” as a result. The umpteenth adaptation of a series of youth books and again a contribution to the fantasy genre. Now, I’m a huge fan of fantasy. Start a movie in which knights, magicians, dragons, trolls, witches, gnomes and other mythological creatures are introduced and I will be completely absorbed in this fairytale world. Unfortunately, this film is a huge mishmash of multiple facets of previously released movies (which at first sight shouldn’t be a problem) .The biggest problem is the storyline. What an incomprehensible tangle this is. Had the seventh son of the seventh son seen this in his visions , he would leave without notice to an unknown destination and never be in touch again.
It’s certainly not the overly present CGI which is disappointing, although it doesn’t look smooth all the time. It’s mainly the interpretations that started to annoy, with frontrunner Jeff Bridges as Master Gregory. This mumbling pub visiting magician, better known as a Spook, is doing his utmost best to come across as an unpleasant person. It seems like Bridges just copied his character from ˝R.I.P.D.˝. A mix between Catweazle and Gandalf but with a huge toothless lower jaw which ensures you can only hear an unintelligible stream of mumbled words coming from under his D’artagnan-like mustache. Besides a few witty and sarcastic quotes, you shouldn’t expect any serious dialogues of this character. Ben Barnes interprets the lucky apprentice Tom Ward. A person without charisma who acts and looks quite dull and colorless. The only thing you can admire him for, is the fact that he worked his way up to savior of the world in a record time (the previous unfortunate was already 10 years an apprentice. He had to master it in 3 days. Respect!), because mankind is about to meet again with a gang of villains led by Mother Malkin. Julianne Moore attempts to depict Mother Malkin as a demonic witch who can transform effortlessly into an invincible flying dragon. However, it remains an attempt because she doesn’t really look that frightening. As a person she looks to ordinary and her cleavage impressed me more at times than her acting performance. The fact that Bridges and Moore acted together in ˝The Big Lebowski˝ as The Dude and daughter of Jeffrey Lebowski, probably made for a lovely reunion.
But the biggest problem in ˝Seventh Son˝ was undoubtedly the total absence of any explanation. The seventh son of a seventh son has access to magical powers. I guess we have to take that for granted ? Gregory knew to outwit Mother Malkin one way or another in the past and saw a chance to lock her in a cave somewhere in a high mountain. He used a huge iron gate to close it completely. Apparently at that time Mother Malkin wasn’t powerful enough to beat Master Gregory. That’s quite obvious to me, since he was able to carry that huge fence together with her up the mountain. In the wake of Mother Malkin there was also an army of invincible figures. Probably they were at that moment astray I guess. And the term invincible is also something you should take with a grain of salt. They were eliminated without too much trouble. The multi-armed Shiva-like swordsman looks dangerously but disappears out of the picture in a ridiculous way. The course of the entire history is nowhere deepened and logical explanations remain off. Eventually you don’t bother about the whole story anymore and continue to watch in a haze of total indifference with this recurring thought ˝Oh well, I guess it ought to be like this and it probably will be obvious to the savvy viewers. I’m obvious not part of that group.˝
The CGI looks stunning but occasionally it simply sucks. The dialogues are quite comical at times, but mostly they feel contrived and uninspired. The whole is extremely predictable and some developments are downright ridiculous. That the half-witch Alice (Alicia Vikander) seduces Tom with a single glance. Now that’s what I call magic. Ingenious opening sentences and flirting techniques aren’t necessary those days I guess. The release of this film was delayed by one year. That alone you can interpret as a bad omen. It’s pretty unlikely that they are going to make a motion picture of the subsequent books. Well, I’m not eagerly looking forward to that.