Monday, 30 March 2015

Review: Seventh Son

World of Blackout Film Review

Seventh Son Poster

Seventh Son (3D)
Cert: 12A / 102 mins / Dir. Sergei Bodrov / Trailer
WoB Rating: 3/7

Now, I initially felt a little lost in the first act of this film, because I haven't seen Son, Second Son, Third Son, Fourth Son, Fifth Son, or Sixth Son, and that's a lot of ground to cover for someone late to the franchise. And that may well be a hoary old joke to begin the review with, but please believe me that it's more original than anything in the script for Seventh Son

Jeff Bridges plays Gregory, a sort of alcoholic Witchfinder General channelled through Yoda and Danny Trejo, who acts surprised when the witch he imprisoned in a mountain breaks free, largely due to the fact that she's a witch. He couldn't bring himself to kill the witch because of Plot Reasons™, and so is going to spend the next hour and a half of your life attempting to do just that, aided by his new sidekick apprentice, Tom, a seventh-son-of-a-seventh-son psychic and child of a witch. Who also has a thing for witches. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, murky visuals, ghosting-3D and a script so laboured you could set your watch by it don't really help matters. The problem isn't that the film is bad (although coincidentally, it is), but that with each hackneyed plot-progression and pixel-heavy setpiece, it becomes more and more bland. It's all snarling and pouting with no spirit or conviction; like a mythology assembled by a marketing committee. The limitations of the 12A certificate deprive Seventh Son of the heft (read: violence) that the story really needs, but it's no excuse for that story being so profoundly uninteresting. The film is like a 100-minute cutscene from a very average video game that you know you won't bother playing to completion.

So whatever Jeff Bridges is trying to pull off, it's at least clear that he's having a good time doing it. Julianne Moore, on the other hand, is practically holding up a sign reading "Look, I'm in this for the money", as is Olivia Williams. It's down to Ben Barnes and Alicia Vikander to give surprisingly straight turns as the titular Seventh Son and his sorcerific love-interest. But even then the pair are constricted by the dialogue they have to deliver. Dialogue which can be neatly divided into three categories: Exposition, Cliché, and Exposition And Cliché. There's no real character development because there are no real characters. The most mysterious thing about the screenplay is how Steven 'Locke' Knight was happy to have his name attached to it.

By the time you've added in a very curious range of accents (considering the film takes place within a 100-mile radius), and an array of costume changes for the female characters which appear to have been executed with a view to selling action figures, Seventh Son isn't so much a fantasy film, more a cover-version of one.

You know you're in seriously camp territory when a gang of ruthless assassins all wear leopard-print capes.

If Lord Of The Rings is a mythological banquet, Seventh Son is chewing-gum…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
Is it bollocks.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Wait until it's in a format you don't have to pay directly for (TV, Netflix etc).

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Well the film industry's in real trouble if it is

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
If its aim is to prove that Julianne Moore's acting skills are far better than her judgement in choosing roles, then yes it does.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
*looks over spectacles*

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
I didn't hear one (although the volume in Screen 1 was set to 'deafening' tonight), and there really is no excuse not to cram one into this sort of thing.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Alicia Vikander starred in Son Of A Gun alongside Ewan 'Obi-Wan' McGregor.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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