Director: Sergei Bodrov.
Producer: Basil Iwanyk, Thomas Tull & Lionel Wigram.
Distributed by: Universal Pictures.
Writer: Matt Greenberg, Charles Leavitt & Aaron Guzikowski. Based on The Spook’s Apprentice books by Joseph Delaney.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore & Kit Harington.
Music: Marco Beltrami.
Editing: Paul Rubell, Jim Page & Michael Kahn.
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel.
Budget: $95 million.
Box Office: $114.2 million.
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins.
Release Date: March 27th 2015
Seventh Son will for me, be more well known for its troubled production rather than the actual movie itself. Originally set for February 2013, Rhythm & Hues, the visual effects company handling the CGI for Seventh Son went bankrupt which delayed production on the film. Then Legendary Pictures, partnered with Warner Bros. started the film’s production again for an October 2013 release. However, Legendary Pictures separated from Warner Bros. and the date got pushed back to January 2014 with new distributor Universal who delayed the film once more with an early 2015 release date. With a troubled production history like that then its safe to assume that this film could be bad. But being based on the young adult book series The Wardstone Chronicles written by Joseph Delaney, then this could be a fun little fantasy romp. Is it? Let’s find out!
Seventh Son takes place in a fictional, magical world where a knightly order known as the Spooks fight the forces of darkness to keep the population safe. However, only one of these Spooks remains; Master Gregory and he must find a way to defeat an old adversary he locked up decades ago; Mother Malkin. To do this, he seeks out Tom Ward who is a Seventh Son of a Seventh Son which should grant him supernatural powers and extra physical abilities. However, Tom does not seem particularly exceptional so Gregory must train him in the art of magic and combat before a centennial event known as the “Blood Moon” as that is when Mother Malkin and her loyal demon followers will be at their most powerful.
The most disappointing thing about this film is that it has a plethora of imaginative ideas and some awesome concepts that really could be well executed to make an enjoyable fantasy adventure. Unfortunately, Seventh Son failed in one of its core elements, as these ideas and concepts are wasted and don’t provoke any sort of excitement because most of them didn’t have enough screen time to truly enhance the story. However saying this, Seventh Son was a guilty pleasure watch for me and I did get a huge amount of enjoyment in the schlocky fun that was on screen. However, there’s a difference between laughing AT a film and laughing WITH the film, so these bursts of awe and smiles occurred a few times throughout the film.
The other time spent was just being bored as Seventh Son is a boring and dull watch and it disappoints me to say that, as this concept and story seems like something I’d eat up straight away, because I love fantasy, I love giant flame spewing dragons, I love epic sword fights. The lack of world building and character development and also the lack of anything fun just resulted in a tedious film to sit through. Lots of action in a film doesn’t just entertain me; just a long dialogue scene can be compelling and engage me and ultimately can make me entertained. The world that Seventh Son is set in is such a bland and generic fantasy world that could be very well defined. But, just like the other concepts in this film, they fall victim to a lack of wonder. This world isn’t even given a name! Come on now!
The characters don’t fair any better as our lead, Tom Ward is a generic young-adult hero who is so bland and doesn’t offer any character traits that other young adult leads, like Katnis Everdeen from The Hunger Games series and Tris from The Divergent series haven’t offered already. Ben Barnes doesn’t really give any depth to Tom Ward and his chemistry with Alicia Vikander is appalling, as the two don’t really get much screen time to establish this new romance. Jeff Bridges as Master Gregory gives a laughably bad performance, as half his dialogue was inaudible due to him mumbling and putting on a stupid voice that made him sound like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. However, Julianne Moore is a lot of fun as the villain, as Mother Malkin and her poorly defined minions are the only thing that is close to good or fun in Seventh Son. Also, Moore looks like she’s having a lot of fun in the role which gives in some entertainment in this otherwise lackluster film.
Seventh Son’s production ranges from mediocre to terrible. The CGI on display for the creatures, which range from a guy who turns into a bear, Mother Malkin and her minions turnin into dragons and a warrior turning into a Panther. These creatures are solid in design but poor in the CG, as they look out of place. Marco Beltrami’s music is the crowning gem of this movie, as he manages to create an awesome and bombastic main theme tune for Seventh Son and it makes the film feel like a franchise entry. The cinematography is at points legitimately jaw dropping, as the beautiful landscape shots of this fantasy world look great and something I’d love to see more explored.
Overall, Seventh Son is a very disappointing film to look back on, as its troubled production already set itself in bad word in the general public eye. However, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t need to suck. A bland fantasy world that isn’t explored well and its barely interesting to invest in; a mostly horrible main cast, with Julianne Moore being the standout. The music is the only noteworthy aspect about the production, along with some gorgeous cinematography shots. However, the CGI is out of place and looks bad and Seventh Son is a generally slow and boring film, despite some exciting action scenes and standalone moments.