by: Jay Carlson
“The sole remaining warrior of a mystical order travels to find a hero born with incredible powers. Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen…”
That’s a slightly abridged version of the official synopsis for The Seventh Son, which hits theaters today. That description makes it sound as if we’re going to see Star Wars when the lights dim, but The Seventh Son is a galaxy far, far away from that film.
Tonally The Seventh Son feels like it wanted to be an adventure film in the vein of The Beastmaster or Army of Darkness but it misses the mark with what made those films so much fun, instead it takes itself too seriously without committing itself to being a serious film and doesn’t enjoy its adventure nearly enough.
Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) is the seventh son of a seventh son, which means he’s destined to join a league of “Spooks” who hunt all the stuff that goes bump in the night. Jeff Bridges is, Master Gregory, the last remaining “Spook” which, you would imagine, means that evil is running rampant, right? With only one guy out there handling what a thousand spooks used to do? Nah, he’s got plenty of time to hang out and be drunk as well as keeping the forces of darkness at bay for all mankind.
The trailer looked terrible but I really hoped for a more based on the talent of the two leads. Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges (who I normally love) drunkenly stumbles through the film chewing up every bit of scenery along the way. Immediately I was distracted by the voice inflection he decided to use, so inaudible at times, I wished I had his Rooster Cogburn there to translate for me. Bridges at least seems to try to do something different here, I guess. This just was not the Bridges I was hoping for.
Julianne Moore plays Mother Malkin (Who she’s mother of, I have no idea) and seems to revel playing the villain. She’s fine, a bit hammy at times for my taste, but in a different film that brand of hammy could have worked. It’s hard to believe this is the same actress tipped to take home an Oscar this year for Still Alice. You have to wonder if the other nominees lobbied to get Legendary to pull this film off the shelf and release it in time to hurt her chances and improve their own positions. Holy hell, at age 55 does she ever still look amazing, though.
The script is half baked at its best and batshit ludicrous at its worst. Bridges, seeks out young Tom Ward to take over for his last apprentice (who he trained for many years) who was killed when Mother Malkin escapes the prison Master Gregory put her in ten years prior (though the montage of time passing made it look like it could have been a thousand years). How does he know where to find Tom Ward? He just does, let’s not get bogged down in trying to make sense of anything here. It’s a good thing Master Gregory finds him, because he has seven days to train him to be a mighty warrior capable of taking on the greatest evil the world has ever seen. There’s a laughable love story in there between the apprentice and a witch, torn over her duty of spying on the apprentice and his master and his duty of slaying witches. Begging the question of, If the bad guys know exactly where their one enemy who can thwart their rise is why not take him out? Stop trying to make sense of it!
One of the more perplexing things in the movie (which is saying something in this mess) is the character of Tusk, a creature of some kind who looks like a man in a horrible looking rubber mask among some decent (not great) special effects. The character looks like a costume you’d pick up at a Halloween store for $60. You know, the kind when someone has the mask on and they make a noise and you can see the chin of mask move and stretch? That’s what you get when Tusk emotes.
In different hands there might have been a better film in here. There sounds like there were huge changes from the source material, which sounded like it could have made a fun young adult film.
If you were hoping for the annual January free fall of garbage films to finally be passed you’re going to have to wait another week and hope that the early word on Kingsman pans out.