Movie Review: “Seventh Son” – Almost Good

Written by Caitlin Cooper February 12, 2015

seventh son

“Seventh Son” is finally playing in theaters after repeatedly having its release delayed. A while ago I saw a trailer for the film stating its release would be in 2014, and when I heard its release was delayed until 2015, I was disappointed since it looked promising. Then lo and behold, a year later I see the same trailer with a new date. In fantasy films like “Seventh Son”, there’s always a chosen one with incredible strength who’s destined to defeat a great evil before it can destroy a kingdom. In this case, it’s a young man whose order of birth and inheritance that mark him as the only person who can defeat an evil witch. With many sci-fi and  fantasy films set to release this year and the direct competition with fellow fantasy film “Jupiter Ascending” also released in February, “Seventh Son” aims to set the standard for fantasy films in 2015. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite succeed.

In “Seventh Son”, a young man named Thomas (Ben Barnes) becomes the new apprentice of the local witch-hunter, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges). Gregory angered one of the most powerful evil witches, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), and she’s escaped her prison to exact revenge on him and the humans who condemn her kind. Thomas and Gregory race against the clock to defeat Mother Malkin before she can raise an army and gain even more power. But the journey won’t be easy as Thomas must learn how to hunt witches and decide for himself what his destiny is. Thomas faces peril, betrayal, and more in this dramatic tale.

“Be wise. Be careful.”

“Seventh Son” has a really interesting premise which attempts a new take on a rather common idea. There’s a chosen one. There’s a teacher. There’s forbidden love. That’s a basic formula for films of this genre, but “Seventh Son” has enough action and interesting turns to keep the film feeling entertaining and fun. The action scenes are cool with the enemies being witches who can shape-shift into a wide variety of creatures, including dragons and bears. When the film really hits its stride by revealing Thomas’ true strength and inheritance, there’s some really awesome scenes. Thomas faces the dilemma of whether he will embrace his destiny and become a killer, or whether he will go back to his simpler life with his family. “Seventh Son” also has a slight focus on mothers as Thomas’ mother becomes a key player in the world of witches and Alice’s (Alicia Vikander) mother defends her against Mother Malkin despite her otherwise unwavering loyalty to the evil witch. I’m not sure some of the character arcs are entirely believable since they seem to jump from one attitude or belief to the next very quickly. The comedic lines are mostly funny, though some miss the mark.

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“Seventh Son”, however, suffers from some pretty obvious moments of weak writing. For instance, take the romance that we’re expected to root for and find believable. The two characters meet, stand too close to each other for strangers, meet again and exchange cheesy dialogue, etc. The only interesting dynamic between the two is the way in which their lives are similar: both lose a parent, both have one parent who is a witch. While that serves as a nice parallel, that’s about it. I didn’t feel anything for their romance except annoyance. As a character, Alice doesn’t become complex and interesting until she finally makes her own choices and starts rebelling. Another spot of weak writing is the rather anti-climactic big battle near the end. It was cool and entertaining, but the heroes won way too easily for how dangerous they made the evil witches seem. Mother Malkin turns out to be very easy to kill despite her supposed incredible powers.

“You live in a world now where legends and nightmares are real.”

The acting in “Seventh Son” isn’t half bad. Barnes, who was previously in two “Chronicles of Narnia” films, does pretty well and carries the film with ease. His talent becomes more obvious as his character changes once he’s betrayed and he decides to actually choose what he’s going to do about the situation he’s in and what he’s discovered. Bridges, however, mumbles his way through most of his lines which makes it pretty difficult to keep up with the conversations, jokes, and words of wisdom. It’s fun to see Moore take on a dark role after her latest film “Still Alice”. Kit Harrington has a short role in the beginning of “Seventh Son”, but adds a surprisingly good comedic aspect. Everyone in this film, however, likes to stand an inch away from each other which makes for some visibly odd scenes.

seventh son

Overall, “Seventh Son” has an interesting premise and some pretty awesome actions scenes. That being said, the romance is tedious, the big win is too easy, and some of the acting was weak. For a film that has so much hype, at least for fans of the book series, it certainly fails to impress. There were moments that were really good, but the bland and weak moments overshadowed them.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Seventh Son

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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