Starving for some high-flying fantasy adventure? Then check out Universal and Legendary Pictures’ Seventh Son. Definitely geared toward the stereotypical crowd that enjoys fantasy movies, this film provides a solid two-hour experience that is filled with action from beginning to the end. Although the trailer gives away much of the story, it is still worth a watch if you want to escape from reality into a world of handsome heroes, beautiful witches, and magic. However, had the film not cast the incomparable Jeff Bridges (Greggory) and Julianne Moore (Malkin), the film most likely would have greatly suffered. There is definitely potential here for future movies, but the writing will have to improve and A-list actors will need to continually be cast in key roles. Despite the areas needing improvement, if the series is to continue, this is a movie that keeps your attention from start to finish, and could have easily been expanded to include more exposition or backstory.
Seventh Son takes you to a magical world that is one part medieval and one part ancient Rome, complete with mystical and mysterious knights, beautiful and cunning witches, handsome and heroic apprentices, and mythological creatures. Having trapped the powerful witch Mother Malkin (Moore) in a deep cavernous prison within a mountain, supernatural knight Greggory (Bridges) believes he has saved the world. Unbeknownst to him, many years later, she has broken free and is developing her powers with the rising of the blood moon. Just as the malevolent Malkin summons her followers, Greggory trains a new apprentice to take the place of the one killed by Malkin. Thomas (Ben Barnes) is a seventh son of a seventh son, meaning he is endowed with abilities to fight evil and is recruited from his home by Greggory. Often in disbelief or with an unwillingness to do what he needs to do, Thomas learns the ways of Greggory in order to defeat Malkin and her hoard of witches and warlocks. Unfortunately for Thomas, he falls in love with a beautiful witch named Alice (Alicia Vikander) and must decide if his allegiance is to Greggory or to his newfound love.
This is one of those movies where there isn’t much to critique. Not that is was a great movie that is sure to wow audiences and become a favorite of many, but because it does not pretend to be anything other than what it is–a cliché fantasy/adventure movie taking place during a mythological middle ages that may or may not have actually existed. Often with these types of movies, they are purposely written to be high concept movies in which, most anyone who enjoys this genre, will find a high degree of entertainment value. There may not be a lot of character development, but there is definitely a sufficient amount; the characters may not be ones you love or love to hate, but they sufficiently play the roles well. There is little backstory to go on, but there is just enough to get the idea behind the narrative. In other words, it is very much par for the course, but still contains the elements necessary for a work of fantasy.
The best parts of the movie were the characters played by Bridges and Moore. Had Universal and Legendary not chosen to select two brilliantly talented performers to play these character roles, then the movie would have most likely not been nearly as enjoyable as it was. Amidst the cliché action and adventure, the writers managed to sneak in some clever and humorous dialog that bring about some laughs and chuckles along the way. Unlike Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Chronicles of Narnia, there really isn’t any metaphorical or allegorical value to the film. It pretty much is a very surface-level story that is designed to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
When choosing to see Jupiter Ascending or Seventh Son yesterday, it wasn’t a terribly difficult choice. I knew both movies would likely be “meh,” so I chose the lesser of the two “meh’s.” I would much rather be entertained by Bridges, Moore, and the rest of this cast more so than seeing Mila Kunis in an over-the-top, mindless, sci-fi adventure that pretends to be on the level of other more classic versions of the same thing.