REVIEW — “Seventh Son”
What/Who is the “Seventh Son?” Only one of those questions is answered in this fantasy adventure piece, but will you even care? From start to finish we are thrown into this dark medieval-esque era filled with fantastic otherworldly creatures and apparitions, but the story and plot is never fully explained. The characters lack development, the story is weak, there’s an awful forced romantic subplot, an anti-climactic finale, but the characters are fun, the visuals are great and the pace is fast.
The cast is one of the best things about this, but that’s not a bad thing. Jeff Bridges always exceeds expectations, and he delivers in spades in his performance of a Spook, a master at fighting dark creatures (ghosts/ghouls/etc…). Julianne Moore and Djimon Hounsou are grossly underutilized as the main antagonists, but their characters transform into giant monsters so that’s cool! Ben Barnes plays our lead, the Seventh Son, but the film never explains what a Seventh Son is (outside of it being the seventh son of the seventh son….of the seventh son?). Kit Harrington plays a role that he was obviously cast for before “Game of Thrones” really took off in popularity, as he is barely in this. What they all have in common is that they brought a certain energy to the flick that kept things light, even in darker times, and really entertained.
The story, while simple, still manages to be really weak. Basically, Moore plays the head witch that can turn into a dragon thingy, Bridges plays someone that hunts witches (and other creatures. Not unlike a Hunter on “Supernatural”), Moore escapes captivity due to an unexplained phenomenon with the moon, and the quest begins; kill her before the moon phenomenon occurs…in which something will happen that is also not explained. The writing in this is so weak that they could have completely cut out one of the characters, that contributes to the forced romantic subplot, and the film would be missing nothing (except the poorly orchestrated finale which would have happened another way regardless). The Seventh Son is never explained, he is meant to be loads stronger than anyone else, but never shows it and that is also never explained. There are also inter-species relations happening that are never explained (witches and humans), and no one cares about despite vowing to kill all witches and witch hybrids. The final action sequence starts off pretty cool, with some surprising developments from certain characters, but then ends in a way that is lackluster and disappointing (especially after the buildup).
The characters themselves in this are really kick-ass, but they are poorly developed. We get a little back story for a few of them, but the most interesting ones are left to be dispatched as common henchmen. Jeff Bridges gets to have some fun as a smack-talking, booze-drinking, Spook, with a persona similar to that of Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” Djimon Hounsou plays some supposedly epic assassin, but they never develop him, explain his bad-ass chain-axe weapons or his ability to transform into this bad-ass dragon. There’s another character with 4-arms that they do a great job animating, and showing in combat, but they never develop him, and he dies in a non-epic way. There are several other baddies, like a guy that transforms into this amazing looking bear, but they too are dispatched quickly, and not given any development. I truly think developing the characters to make them seem more epic, and cutting out the romantic subplot, could have made a huge difference in the impact of the story.
Overall “Seventh Son” suffers from extremely weak writing, but manages to engage audiences with its visuals, action sequences and fast pace. There are some interesting, yet poorly developed, characters, and some fun action set pieces. The romantic scenes bring the story to a screeching halt every time, but they only account for 10-15 minutes of run time. As a whole “Seventh Son” is a fun fantasy adventure film, but it fails to live up to expectations, and settles for being mediocre in order to stick with the Hollywood formula. A little more focus on the script and characters, and less time on romance to please teenage girls, and we could have had something special. This is still a fun time at the theater, and is definitely worth a trip for some popcorn and soda. 3.5/5