June 30, 2015 Leave a comment
Seventh Son has a story of epic proportions that is squeezed into a 102 minute movie. Had the narrative not been interesting, that running time would have be fine. But there is a backstory here that deserves to be developed for the screen.
The film is a medieval fantasy, not unlike The Lord of The Rings, because it takes place in a world of knights and dragons, witches and spells, monsters and demons. The evil that torments this unknown land is Mother Malkin, a witch whose intention seems to be forming evil alliances and destroying normal civilizations. But an elderly knight known as Master Gregory and better known as the Spook is informed of the blood moon, an event that occurs every ten years which strengthens Malkin’s powers, making her more dangerous than ever. Spook believes he can stop her but only with the help of a worthy apprentice who must be a seventh son of a seventh son.
The choice of apprentice is a young pig farmer named Tom, a gentleman who is good at throwing blades. It is revealed that his body contains magic which not only explains his skills, but also visions of future events, plus an ability to see ghosts. He is also handed a magic pendant of hidden meaning. This makes Tom an unusual medieval hero. He is gentle, skilled in throwing, possesses magic he doesn’t understand, and is confident in following the Spook, who is frequently drunk.
The films concern is for the action sequences that are aided heavily by special effects and which are impressive. They earn some of the movies credits. Malkin and some of her allies can transform themselves into mid-size dragons which give them an advantage over any character in the film. There is also a Werebear that Tom and Spook do battle against although using an unclear tag-team strategy involving a cage. And a giant blind beast chases them over a cliff and into a river.
There are a number of deep and unusual relationships that help the movie, some of which are told as a backstory. Tom, being a hero, will naturally develop a love interest in a young and conflicted damsel. But the Spook has a couple of former lovers which, let’s just say, complicates the mission if not our thoughts about the mission.
Tom is played by Ben Barnes in a very straightforward manner, not solemn or grave, but rather inexperienced and chivalrous when necessary. Malkin is played by Julianne Moore who fits the part by her look alone. And the Spook is played by Jeff Bridges like an old drunkard practicing a foreign accent – his performance is mainly entertaining but precariously edging towards parody.
Seventh Son isn’t as bad as the impression created by negative critic reviews. The director is Sergei Bodrov, who directed Mongol (one of the great period epics about Genghis Khan). He knows how to film medieval battles. And if you’re still unsure, another measure is this: If you like the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans, then you shouldn’t be disappointed with Seventh Son.