“SEVENTH SON” (Film Review)



Taking many pages from previous films, the movie Seventh Son puts together a daemon slayer story that entertains. The motion picture plays well from tweens to gamers in their mid-twenties bringing a lot of action filled adventure for a Saturday matinee. Think The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with a sharper edge, but if you saw that film you may want to question seeing this one. The cinematography, special effects CGI and costumes are a starring part of the movie, so unless you are into filmmaking, Seventh Son’s more of a rainy day choice for teen males and dad’s with pre-teen sons.

The movie centers on dark Knight John Gregory (Jeff Bridges), a “Spook” (an exorcist skilled in the dark arts) that travels the ancient kingdoms in search for witches that are desolating villages. However, it has been some time since Gregory has had to do his job as he imprisoned his biggest nemesis, queen of the witches Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), many years ago. However, with the rare blood moon starting its rise Queen Malkin has gained powers to break loose of the dungeon putting her back on the track ravaging cities in her kingdom.

Knight John Gregory (Jeff Bridges) walks with his young apprentice Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes)

Knight John Gregory (Jeff Bridges) walks with his young apprentice Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes)

In need of a new apprentice to eventually take his place, Gregory takes on farmer Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son. His mother Mam (Olivia Williams) reluctantly approves as she has had a previous run-in with Malkin herself. The two men bond and begin a new chapter facing off against Queen Malkin, her sister Lizzi (Antje Traue) and granddaughter Alice (Alicia Vikander).

Julianne Moore as queen witch Mother Malkin

Julianne Moore as queen witch Mother Malkin

Director Sergei Bodrov who’s no stranger to period films having good success with Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, wastes no time in getting into the story and then moving it along at a fast pace. He opens with a short intro to his main character then quickly follows with a bonding of the buddy team. The two then face off against witches, half ghosts, boggarts, dragons and warlocks.

dragon scene created with CGI

dragon scene created with CGI

The computer graphics special effects are extremely good depicting the supernatural enemies, fire breathing dragons, a monstrous ogre, long toothed leopards, a squad of armor clad assassins, medieval towns, an instant restoration of Malkin’s castle, deep gorges and Gregory’s weapons workshop to name a few. The shape changes from human to beast are very fluid and nearly impeccable, deathly sword play realistic and crumbling buildings lifelike. Combined with an excellent camera crew that captures awesome sets, landscapes and fighting sequences the special filmmaking techniques make this film worth the watch.

The actors are put through their paces with a high degree of film direction by Bodrov who has a good eye for medieval  composition. Making Jeff Bridges’ character a bit more comical voice wise is bothersome at first as it’s hard to understand his dialogue, but as the film goes on you shouldn’t mind it at all. After all his character has existed for ages looking for someone to take over and give a rest to both his disheveled body and absurd speech. Julianne Moore shows how gorgeous a witch can be and flaunts her beauty throughout the film. She also shows she can be a tough adversary and spews her defiance at whomever gets in her way. She wants revenge and retribution for being locked up by Gregory.

Seventh Son has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense fantasy violence and action throughout, frightening images and brief strong language. If your pre-teen is into video games that project fantasy monsters and sorcerers, then they should be able to handle this film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Excellent effects drive this medieval action film for teens. (C+)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, and Antje Traue.
Directed by: Sergei Bodrov
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Action
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense fantasy violence and action throughout, frightening images and brief strong language
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min
Release Date: February 6, 2015
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Formats: 2D, 3D

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