Director: Sergey Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander
To say that ‘Seventh Son’ is one of the most predictable and boring films I have seen recently, in a month which has produced multiple box-office flops, speaks volumes of the manner in which this film crashed and burned. Treading the same narrative path as so many before it, in which a mystical chosen one is set on an exceedingly difficult journey, ‘Seventh Son’ felt like a poor, disastrous attempt at achieving what the likes of ‘The Matrix’ or ‘The Hobbit’ have been successful in doing. The gaping plot holes throughout are unforgivable, with no contextual attention for any of the characters, leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of disinterest and apathy to the events which unfolded.
‘Seventh Son’ tells the story of Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), the last living warrior of the Spooks clan, known for fighting off evil spirits. His claim to fame is his capture of the all-powerful witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), but when an exorcism on a local child goes wrong, Mother Malkin returns and escapes to rebuild her fallen empire. To halt the evil witch and her plans for world domination, Gregory must locate and train his apprentice, Thomas (Ben Barnes), laying the foundation for the tried and tested training montage. Underlying the mild action, a rather contrived, romantic subplot forms between the chosen one and the villainous foe Alice (Alicia Vikander), as well as the stuttering love story between Master Gregory and Mother Malkin. These attempts at a plot ‘twist’ are both let down by a weak narrative, and a frightful lack of chemistry leaves much to be desired.
Jeff Bridges does add a certain degree of character to his role as Master Gregory, but ultimately just comes across as being completely odd. His character has developed some kind of unusual accent from somewhere, an accent which the entirety of the fictional world in ‘Seventh Son’ do not share, thus leaving this audible anomaly to stick out like a sore thumb. Some people will of course find Master Gregory’s character quips endearing, but such behavior is pretty much hit and miss at best, depending on the sequential circumstances. Ben Barnes is arguably the worst of a bad bunch here, with a stale deliverance in most parts, and an unnatural, very awkward chemistry opposite Alicia Vikander. Julianne Moore was accomplished as ever, but even her acting talent couldn’t compensate for a very average character profile.
The main problem with this movie is that it struggles to develop anything original. The characters are almost copied and pasted out of other movies, Gregory being the stereotypical war veteran who is also a drunken cynic. Malkin is a villain with a very curious motive, seemingly targeting world domination just for the hell of it. At least theatrical Bond villains have an excuse, whether it be a contempt for society and a desire to change the system, but with Malkin it’s implied she wants to destroy the system or get revenge, but it’s not something which is developed effectively. It is highly frustrating that the two main characters are so two-dimensional and simple. Every aspect of the plot, from start to finish, is dumbed down and nothing is addressed in any great detail so as to give the impression of development and growth.
‘Seventh Son’ is guilty of many things, but the biggest failure is the stale plot and very average action scenes. Maybe there should have been more focus on creating a solid narrative, rather than transforming dragons and futile fighting. Admittedly, the visual effects are reasonable, but with so many clichés and artificial elements, as well as an array of grossly incompetent acting, any minor triumphs are soon forgotten. For a fantastical, adventure movie, this was such a run of the mill, mundane experience and I would happily recommend, literally, just about any other film from the last decade.