Movie Review: Seventh Son

I apologize for being so late on my review. These past few days have not been the best for me, but I do not think I am the only one that wanted nothing to do with Seventh Son. Honestly, if the studio was so apprehensive to releasing it, going so far as to delay the film for two whole years, why should anyone bother? Just because it stars The Dude in the role of a drunken paladin does not mean I will ignore what happened behind the scenes. Nevertheless, I saw the movie and will tell what I thought.

Also, I broke my rule again and watched a review beforehand. Thanks again, Dave and Brian of the Cinema Snob:

http://www.thecinemasnob.com/midnight-screenings/midnight-screenings-jupiter-ascending-seventh-son-and-the-spongebob-movie-sponge-out-of-water

***

            I think it is safe to say I am one of the few critics, amateur or otherwise, familiar with the works of director Sergey Bodrov. Granted I have only seen two, but it is enough when you consider how little we see from Russia, a country I used to respect. Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan is a gem from 2007 and an epic that makes Braveheart look like Transformers. If you want to see Mongols done right, look no further. Nomad: The Warrior was an extreme drop in quality, but I forgave it because it came out before Mongol, and unlike the latter, it was not written Bodrov.

The same problem arose when I heard he was directing Seventh Son, a movie with a mostly Western production. It also did not help that the film looked like a cookie-cutter young adult fantasy that wanted to be like Conan: The Barbarian (1982). Preconceived notions aside, how did it turn out?

I am curious as to why the studio wanted to keep it on the shelf. Seventh is far too harmless to do any sort of damage because there is nothing to get angry or excited about. Cookie-cutter though it may be, at least it was not insulting. Comparatively, it is similar to Conan: The Destroyer than Barbarian in terms of content. It is more concerned with being a fun adventure of swords and sorcery than something serious.

The story follows Tom Ward, played by Ben Barnes, an ordinary farmer with dreams of escaping his boring life of raising pigs. He gets his wish when Master Gregory, an aging paladin, played by Rooster Cogburn cosplaying as Geralt of Rivia, visits his family and takes him for his apprentice. Together, Gregory must train Tom to help take down Mother Malkin, a powerful witch, played by Julianne Moore, before she gains full power and consumes the world in darkness.

I do not have much to say about Seventh because there is nothing to talk about. It is simple, predictable, and mostly harmless. It is your run-of-the-mill Hero’s Journey with all the tropes and plot points you expect. There is no reason to get mad at this movie because it does not care what you think. Apart from some strange directing and editing choices, there is not much technically wrong either.

Does that mean you should watch it?

Though painfully ordinary, Seventh qualifies for good bad status because of Kevin Flynn. You can tell he is having the time of his life as he gargles scenery in order to speak in the character’s strange accent. The fun of this movie is trying to figure out what he is saying. I have a feeling the writers knew exactly what they were getting themselves into and wrote Clu with the best lines possible.

Julianne Moore tried her best to over-act, but she did not go far enough where there was opportunity. It would have been exciting to see her and Obadiah Stane in a duel of who could ham-it-up the most.

Another problem with the film is the dialog. Though it is good bad, you still have to listen to the actors read lines as if they were dubbing an episode of Berserk. It is stilted, awkward, and face-palm worthy whenever anyone but The Giver opens their mouth.

I was expecting something awful and found something that was too ordinary to be offensive. Seventh Son is honest fun that will annoy those who are expecting something different and charm those who know exactly what they are looking for. I recommend this to parents who do not want to sit through The SpongeBob Movie. If you want to see Big Z (Thought I ran out of references, did you?) at his hammiest, be prepared to laugh. But if you want to see something you have not seen before, stay home and rent Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan.

 

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