Seventh Son: Magic, Witches & Dragons in Run-of-the-Mill Fantasy Adventure
Alicia VikanderBen Barnes...
Based on young-adult novel, The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch, Sergey Bodrov’s Seventh Son is built on the old folklore tale of ‘the seventh son of a seventh son’ holding some kind of mystical powers – in this case, the hero of the piece, Tom Ward (Barnes), is able to have prophetic visions of impending doom.
The film develops into a classic master-and-apprentice set-up when the world-weary Master Gregory (Bridges) – grieving the loss of protégé, Billy (Harrington) – find his replacement in Tom. Our young and naive hero-in-the-making is a quality lump of clay waiting to be moulded and shaped to reach is true potential. It’s a tried-and-tested filmic and literary formula; the rest of the story writes itself as the two go on to battle the evil Mother Malkin (Moore) and her armies of shape-shifting witches for reasons that are largely incomprehensible, but acceptable nonetheless.
While it may not quite be in the league of other bigger and better fantasy productions, there’s still plenty of action and imaginative elements to appreciate in Seventh Son. Even just Watching Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore – who haven’t appeared on screen together since their work in The Big Lebowski in 1998 – battling it out against the backdrop of dragons, wizards and larger-than-life supernatural creatures isn’t the worst thing to snuggle up to a some popcorn in front of. However, even though Bridges seems fitting for the tired and worn-out warrior, his ambiguous, slurry accent is hard to digest and Moore – decked out in full black witch attire – wades into cartoonish territory a little too often.
The visuals, which come courtesy of cinematographer and special effects veteran, John Dykstra, are (disappointingly) nothing more than average and contribute a bare minimum to the overall aesthetic of the Medievel backdrop. Nothing bursts off the screen and there’s a distinct lack of wow-factor that is largely dictated by the fact that the script in itself lacks a distinguishable flair.
Although the story’s fun but forgettable hundred-minute running time feels undemanding, there isn’t enough magic in the Seventh Son to get one excited about the sequel that is almost certain to follow. And it will come.