Seventh Son

Posted by Joel Copling on February 5, 2015

I will come straight out with a confession: I mentally checked out of "Seventh Son" ten minutes into its thankfully-swift 102, so I barely understood (or cared about) what was going on in the film. Oh, I watched it, and my full intent was to be able to have a nice, little review that stated the exact reasons for my dismissal of it, but let's just say that the only reason I didn't rate the film even lower on the star scale is that I cannot possibly hold anything beyond disinterested dislike for something with which I never once engaged on an intellectual, emotional, or visceral level. The following paragraph is my best guess at a summary of the film, and the one after that will likely be disconnected and disjointed thoughts about it.

An indeterminate time after a prologue in which Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), a witch with something of a grudge, is locked in a deep hole and escapes to revenge herself upon the man who put her there, we meet Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges, in an embarrassingly awful performance for which the actor should have known better), who loses his latest apprentice to Malkin and gains a new one in Tom Ward (Ben Barnes, wooden as always) who is the "seventh son of the Seventh Sun" and is such in a long line of them. They band together to defeat Malkin and other terrible creatures, such as one that I'm roughly 65 percent certain was called a Boggart, making this not only a rip-off of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the terrible "Eragon" from nine years ago, and any dime-a-dozen fantasy story of the last quarter-century, but partly a liberal derivation of the names of creatures from "Harry Potter."

It's impossible to know. None of this is worthy of big-screen treatment. There is a director attached, Sergey Bodrov, whose involvement seems to be as intimate as the clockmaker and his clock. There are action sequences, mostly ineffective blurs of movement and noise that neither thrill nor irritate. There is a screenplay, written by Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight and based upon a book (unread by me) by Joseph Delanery, but it is roughly on the level of an indistinctive cutscene in a bad video game. Beyond Bridges and Barnes, Moore seems bored beyond belief, Alicia Vikander is the Stock Love Interest as a witch in whom Tom develops a romantic interest without the chemistry, and Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, and Jason Scott Lee cash quick paychecks in random supporting roles. At least nothing of interest happens in "Seventh Son"--which can only lay claim to professional-level visual effects in order to escape direct-to-video status--because it keeps utter dismay at bay and simply replaces it with annoyed indifference.

Film Information

Ben Barnes (Tom Ward), Jeff Bridges (Master Gregory), Alicia Vikander (Alice), Julianne Moore (Mother Malkin), Antje Traue (Lizzie), Djimon Hounsou (Radu), Olivia Williams (Mam Ward), Jason Scott Lee (Urag), Kit Harington (Mr. Bradley), Kandyse McClure (Sarikin).

Directed by Sergey Bodrov and written by Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight, inspired by the novel "The Spook's Apprentice" by Joseph Delaney.

Rated PG-13 (intense fantasy violence/action throughout, frightening images, brief language).

102 minutes.

Released on February 6, 2015.