Reviewed by: John Decker
fantasy witches compared to witches in the Bible
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|Featuring:||Ben Barnes … Tom Ward
Julianne Moore … Mother Malkin
Jeff Bridges … Master Gregory
Djimon Hounsou … Radu
Olivia Williams … Mam
Alicia Vikander … Alice
Kit Harington … Billy Bradley
Antje Traue … Bony Lizzie
Jason Scott Lee … Urag
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|Producer:||China Film Co.
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There are some things about the fantasy-adventure genre which command a lot of ridicule. It is apparently very difficult to portray medieval characters without stiff speech, overly dramatic dialog, and general unrealism, not losing sight of the heart of the story, if it has one. Let’s be fair now. Magic spells, exorcisms, ghosts, dragons, charmed amulets and lots of iron weapons are the thing of this swords-and-sorcery genre. This movie is no exception. Making them work together is an unlikely job, but someone’s got to do it. “Seventh Son” does this better than many fantasy genre films I’ve seen, but certainly not as well as the best.
This film has an obvious audience; namely the fans of the book it is based on and the lovers of D&D, magic games, medieval and ancient lore and the like. For them, I echo, “it’s better than most” in its genre. It is, however, highly forgettable.
Why young hero actors are so plastic these days, I do not understand. Why great talents like Jeff Bridges can’t shake a repetitive old-man caricature may be obvious, but it’s no less disappointing. And why directors of this genre don’t spend more time learning from the one man who got it right, Peter Jackson, is just kind of absurd. My criticism of this film follows most of what’s been done in this genre; I am a fan many of the concepts but not most of the products.
A few spots of decent humor and some very good visuals (coupled with some questionable ones) are the most redeemable aspects of this film for the average movie-goer. The drama, particularly the interactive side of drama, deserves very little accolade. The storyline is typical, including the modern, all-too-familiar “evil and good fall in love to make a more reasonable world,” and the “some witches are good, some bad” paradigm.
“Seventh Son” is based on the novel The Spook’s Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in America) by Joseph Delaney. I have not read the book, but from what I gather, it is not for the book purist. Adam Dileo (IGN.com) writes: “Seventh Son draws little more than character names and backstory from The Spook’s Apprentice”.
The violence in “Seventh Son” is high, also typical of the genre. There is lots of slashing, stabbing and choking, along with some burning alive which generally ends in witches vanishing in a crumble of sparkly dust.
With regard to sexuality, there are a lot of busts and busty medieval dresses. There is no other nudity, just a lot of cleavage and ornate, conforming dresses. The female attire got a lot of attention. There is some kissing, it is implied that a woman is nude in a lake, but we do not see below her neck. Two main characters end up in bed together, casually visiting—the implication being a ‘moment after intimacy’ scene. They are fully clothed.
This film contains a handful of profanity, including one or two instances of the f-word and a few less overt terms.
In retrospect, I would not go out of my way to see this film unless I were particularly enamored with the genre. In that case, I suppose I would like it enough.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate—“For G*d’s sakes,” “damn” (2), “hell” (2), f-word (“f***ing witches”) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
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