“Seventh Son” – the good, the bad, and the ugly

Seventh Son [Below info from Legendary.com:

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In a time of enchantments when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order (Oscar® winner Jeff Bridges) travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son (Ben Barnes). Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen (Julianne Moore) and the army of supernatural assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom.

Sergei Bodrov directed Seventh Son from a screenplay by Charles Leavitt and Steve Knight and a screen story by Matt Greenberg, based on the book series “The Last Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney.

So, now that we’ve covered what the studio says the movie is about, Let’s talk about what happens when you actually watch it.

First, and let’s get this out of the way. It’s an okay film. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not great. Want to know why? Keep reading.

I must admit that I read the hitfix.com review [credited to one “Drew McWeeny” — Hey, I didn’t make up the name….] after I stumbled onto it looking for the film’s image to post. That review makes some valid points, but also some completely stupid assertions.

I’ll try to address both.

One of McWeeny’s [that’s going to either get funnier or more annoying, the more I say it…] early complaints is about Jeff Bridges and his “Rooster Cogburny RIPDy […] gravel voice mush mouth thing.” Let’s clear that up right now.

He’s right.

An actor as accomplished and talented at Bridges has to have another way to express world-weary frustration and loss. If not, he’d better stop picking those roles, because that voice is now officially done. It had it’s time, and that time has passed. Even if Bridges had spoken in a generic American accent it would have made Master Gregory sound better and more sympathetic. Otherwise, the character of Gregory, as written, performed adequately enough to move us and the story along.

Quick side note on another of McWeeny’s [he he–still funny] points: soundstage versus location. Pretty clear which was which.

And speaking of witches, he said, using the lamest of segues, 100% agreement with McWeeny [he h-… starting to fade, now] about the Monty Python ripoff introduction of Alice. It was the absolute first thing that went through my mind as the crowd was gathering. All it was missing was “I’m not a witch.” Probably couldn’t afford to pay the Circus royalties for its use or something.

You’ll note that I haven’t even talked about Thomas’ and Alice’s relationship. Thomas is the Spook’s apprentice, who generally just kills witches out of hand, and Alice is half-witch. A doomed love story? You’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out.

Another quick note on McWeeny’s [nope, not funny at all, now…] review: the casting of Kit Harington, now of “Game of Thrones” fame. the film started shooting only a year after GoT premiered, and Kit wasn’t the name he is now. The idea that the film wasted that appearance doesn’t make sense. I hate to say “standard trope” here, but it is. If there’s an apprentice, the apprentice dies, and gets replaced. Since that’s the whole storyline here….. the studio couldn’t have wasted an opportunity that didn’t exist at the time by not using Kit Harrington. Now, if Mc-dub is suggesting that marketing should have played up Kit’s involvement simply to generate ticket sales, only for ***spoiler alert*** him to be killed off in the first 10 minutes, he’d probably be the first person lining up to shout “fraud!” of  “false advertising!” at them.

Okay, apparently that note wasn’t so quick, but you get my point.

Regardless, the filmakers do play a little too-humorous with the situational dialogue, and, as a result, the tone of the film gets a bit muddy, with [as Mc-dub points out] Julianne Moore unable to find a consistent way to play her Mother Malkin.

Overall, I found the effects to be of above-average quality, and actually was starting to really like the character of Tusk by the end of the film.

And, to agree one last time with Mc-dub, films are weird and wonderful in that each person processes them differently and comes to their own conclusion, like his assertion that Jupiter Ascending was pretty good, when everyone knows it’s a complete dog.

Nevertheless, I still think that Seventh Son is a perfectly acceptable, though hardly genre-defining, film despite it’s flaws.

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