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Seventh Son (Review)

For the average filmgoer, more than entertaining.

by Randy Krinsky

Seventh Son is the latest film by director, Sergey Bodrov. The setting is the ancient world, where a long-imprisoned witch has escaped her subterranean prison seeking revenge on the world. This evil is Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), the Witch Queen, and her goal is to unleash the forces of the supernatural in a war against mankind. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is the last 'spook,' a knight of an ancient order tasked with defending the world against the forces of the supernatural. It was he who, many years prior, captured and imprisoned the great and powerful witch. With Mother Malkin's escape, and her power growing, it is up to Master Gregory and his new apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), to stop her. Gregory has until the setting of the red moon to complete the training of his new apprentice and stop Malkin before she reaches full strength. With training usually taking many years, Ward must quickly ready himself to fight a battle unlike any he could every dream. Mankind's only hope for survival lies in Master Gregory and the young Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son!

Seventh Son
Directed by Sergey Bodrov
Cast Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges
Release Date 6 February 2015
Randy's Grade: B-

The film boasts a great musical score, striking set design and some stimulating visual effects. There's plenty of swordplay excitement, uncanny creatures and sorcery to keep your interest piqued. The classic trope of the wicked witch is left behind with this fresh new take. However, with an inspired starring cast of Bridges and Moore, I was expecting more from their interplay. Julianne Moore's portrayal of the evil witch queen is something fresh that we haven't seen from her before, but alas the same cannot be said for Bridges. His alcoholic portrayal of Master Gregory is rather campy and reminiscent of previous roles. He even delivers his lines using a rather unique accent that is a rehash of both his True Grit and R.I.P.D. roles. It's nothing we haven't seen before with Bridges and, unfortunately, it's getting a little played out. Ben Barnes is the standout, he juggles the romantic lead and erstwhile hero roles splendidly. Ben's chemistry with Alice (Alicia Vikander), the reluctant witch, is charming and well-played.

It is not easy to make a good fantasy film, and this one was already the victim of studio issues and push backs. I've heard the book that this film was inspired by, The Spook's Apprentice, by Joseph Delaney, is pretty good, and that the film pulls from it only the best parts. I haven't read the book though, so I can't speak to that point too much. I will say that, despite the lackluster relationship between the film's biggest stars, the story and action, with a bit of levity infused, is not a bad film. It won't win any awards, but for the average filmgoer, Seventh Son is more than entertaining. Also, on a positive note, the story is something fresh and not another reboot or sequel. I'd recommend seeing it if for no other reason than that!

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