Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington, Djimon Hounsou
Plagued by pre- and post production problems, the latest fantasy book adaptation of Seventh Son, book one of Joseph Delany's series, "The Last Apprentice”, isn’t the disaster I anticipated. It’s not anything to rush out and see by any means, nor does the IMAX presentation really elevate its mediocre grandeur. However, opening the same week against sci-fi fantasy epic Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son is the more interesting and entertaining feature. So if you do decide to watch it and you go for Jeff Bridges as medieval Gandalf or Ben Barnes as a yuppy John Snow, you’ll find the real eye catcher is Oscar nominee Julianne Moore as the diabolical villain.
Following the death of his previous apprentice, Master Gregory (Bridges), the last remaining Spook, is in search of another seventh son. He finds one in Tom Ward (Barnes) an unskilled and timid half-breed who is unaware of his special gift. Master Gregory and Tom make their way to the kingdom of Mother Malkin (Moore) who has been resurrected by the blood moon and vows revenge on the Spook. Malkin is summoning an army and her spies as the most powerful witch in the world; she will spare nothing to secure her reign, especially after being imprisoned for years by the man she once loved.
It’s a breath of fresh air to see actors interacting with nature and open spaces instead of complete green screen and claustrophobic CGI .
Co-writer Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises) has some pretty decent work under his belt, and the dialogue and adventure sequences are far better than the battle scenes—which are mostly a cue for a bathroom break. So much focus (and money) was spent on visual effects for action scenes, and yet, they all look the same. There are only temporary pauses in the narrative until some blood is shed, and then the story resumes. Seventh Son doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre, but it may have a more promising future franchise than many of the recent book-to-screen adventures hitting the big screen (e.g., Bridges’ other film, The Giver).
The first thing I noticed when walking out of Jupiter Ascending and into Seventh Son was filming on location (Canada). It’s a breath of fresh air to see actors interacting with nature and open spaces instead of complete green screen and claustrophobic CGI in all corners. Game of Thrones Kit Harrington is barely in the film, Ben Barnes is a fairly uninteresting lead, but all of the female characters were very interesting and powerful, of course led by Julianne Moore. It’s nice to see a genre film not only casting diverse female characters, but also having them equally tough and powerful in relation to the males.
Moore is not only the highlight of the film but in the running for best villain of the year.