Movie Review: The Seventh Son

Film Reel Picture

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After seeing the trailer, I was interested in seeing The Seventh Son, mainly because it was obviously fantasy.

Unfortunately, fantasy has fallen into the cliché trap. Without a breath of freshness, it starts sounding the same, and I was worried Seventh Son would follow the trend.

Except for a few minor twists, it willingly walked into the trap of the stereotypical fantasy story.

That’s my main beef with fantasy. When will we get something new and unique?

Okay, I’m going to stop complaining now and get on with the review.

(You might want to read my introductory movie review post so you know what to expect.)

Plot

The story follows Tom (Ben Barnes) and his mentor Gregory (Jeff Bridges) as they attempt to thwart the plans of the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), who of course wants to use her powers to rule. There’s not much explanation or motivation for her actions other than hey, I’m the enemy so that’s what I do.

Unoriginal from the get-go.

They have a deadline of needing to defeat Malkin before the Blood Moon is full, when her powers become too great to stop. The deadline provided a good chance to add some tension, but it struck out.

Through the course of their journey, they run into various sorts of trouble—nothing too heart pounding or riveting—get into fights, and uncover less than interesting mysteries. Tom also meets a witch named Alice (Alicia Vikander), who happens to work for Malkin and who ends up getting him into trouble.

The climax is a letdown. All through the movie, Tom has learned it’s his destiny to defeat Malkin, that he alone can do it. I won’t give the ending away, but it was painfully ordinary.

Spoiler alert, but not really. Of course they win, because that’s what happens in fantasy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything to make the climax different or suspenseful.

Ordinary. Typical. Uninspiring.

Setting

This was the strongest part of a weak movie. With a quest plot, the Tom and Gregory traveled frequently, taking them to several neat places along the journey. The locations for some of the cities were cool and different.

The creatures in the world were the most interesting aspect of the world. They had a distinctly fantasy flavor without being too cliché, other than Mother Malkin turning into a dragon. Each of Malkin’s minions (that has a nice ring) could morph into a different beast, something I haven’t seen before.

There was a magic system, but it was unclear how it worked and what the rules and consequences were for using it. Characters had unexplained powers and there was a lack of cohesion as to how, why, and when they used (or didn’t) use those powers.

Characters

Meh. Nothing inspiring or endearing here, which is a shame considering the cast.

Tom is a stock fantasy character, living a humble life before he’s pulled into a journey toward his destiny. He’s the hero, but he doesn’t come across as heroic. He’s not very smart either, since he easily falls for Alice.

And at the climax, where the hero is supposed to show his stuff and prove his worth…well, I’m sorry, but considering what he did, anyone could have been the hero.

Gregory is your typical mentor: gruff, grouchy, and gray-haired. (Insert eye roll.)

Nothing the characters did or said stood out, or if they did, I’ve forgotten. Case in point.

In some places, their actions didn’t match their character, or they acted on something without a reasonable explanation of their motivation.

There was one bright spot in this otherwise dreary gloom. Alice’s attraction to Tom. A conflict of interest that created at least a ripple of intrigue. And it went against the typical lover relationship found in fantasy.

Rating

Seventh Son was rated PG-13, which I thought was accurate. There wasn’t any over-the-top violence, and I don’t recall any swear words (though with my puny memory I could be wrong).

There was some boy-girl stuff between Tom and Alice, including one short bed scene where they’re kissing. You know, typical Hollywood rubbish.

Conclusion

Several parts in the movie stretched the bounds of believability, even for this generally accepting fellow. Either events have to be reasonable, or the story has to be enthralling enough that we don’t notice or care.

Failure on both counts.

If you’ve seen Seventh Son, good for you, if you haven’t, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time—unless you’re bored and don’t have anything better to do.

In which case I’m extremely jealous of how much free time you have.

At a rating of 5, Seventh Son falls into the Hints of Promise category.

Have you seen Seventh Son? What did you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Comments

Movie Review: The Seventh Son — 2 Comments

  1. Good review, both insightful and funny. Now the question skulking about in the back of my mind is, what would happen if the good guys lost (in any fantasy story)?

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Meg.

      Funny you should mention the good guys losing. One of my fantasy books deals with that…

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