Thomas Wade was born into a unique position of being the seventh son of a seventh son. This makes him unique in a way that he cannot yet begin to understand. A protector of the peace, Master Gregory, will show him why.
‘Seventh Son’ begins without any explanation as to whom or why, but we watch as a man traps a woman in a mountain cave. The film then depicts an unknown passage of time. A blood red moon appears in the sky and the trapped woman, now transformed into a dragon, bursts from the cave into the sky. She is free at last.
The film then proceeds to introduce us to Master Gregory and his young apprentice. Gregory is a ‘Spook’, an ancient order of people who defend the realm from evil. We witness him reluctantly rescue a young girl who has been possessed.
Gregory realises what is really happening and before they know it both he and his apprentice are attacked by the escaped dragon who transforms back into a woman. She is revealed to be Mother Malkin, the queen of all witches.
The attempt to capture her fails and Master Gregory loses his apprentice in doing so, falling to the clutches of Mother Malkin whilst trying to burn her alive.
Master Gregory escapes and travels to the homestead of Thomas Wade and his family seeking a new apprentice. Gregory literally buys Tomas from the father with a bag of gold. There doesn’t seem to be any resistance, as if they have been expecting this moment for some time.
Thomas learns that he is to become Gregory’s new apprentice and must learn to become a spook if he likes it or not. Being a seventh son of a seventh son, as we will learn, makes his special. With a full blood moon due to rise in the night’s sky in a week, this is all the time as an apprentice Thomas will have to learn how to defend against evil and beat the Witch Queen. Normally an apprenticeship lasts ten years.
And that ladies and gentleman, is the plot for Seventh Son. There really isn’t anything more to it than that. A love interest develops with one of the witches’ daughters. She acts as a spy initially but soon falls for Thomas. Unfortunately this plot thread fizzles out at the end and goes nowhere.
Master Gregory and Thomas, along with occasional help from an ogre like creature known as ‘Tusk’, travel towards the mountain city where Mother Malkin and her sister witches reside. Along their journey they encounter some of the witches’ followers who will try and stop them at all costs.
These action sequences just break up the film and create gaps where not a lot happens. Some of the action isn’t even plot relevant but nearly all of it features over the top CGI monsters and creatures.
It’s a shame that so much money was spent on the CGI when the character of Tusk is portrayed with an almost immobile head piece where the mouth can barely move. It reminds me of those cheap fantasy films from the 1980’s.
The performances in this film are adequate but there must be a special mention for the lead. Jeff Bridges is a great actor who has bought many memorable roles to the screen. Who can forget ‘the dude’ from ‘The Big Lebowski’ for example? So what was he doing in this film? He plays Master Gregory with such an annoying, unlikeable manner coupled with an irritating voice that I wanted to stop watching pretty soon after I started.
I always assumed that ‘R.I.P.D.’ featured Jeff Bridges worst performances. With help from his partner played by Ryan Reynolds, I actually grew to like that film by the end. The Seventh Son however now claims the title of worst performance by Jeff Bridges for me.
The apprentice, played by Ben Barnes, made no impact and could have easily been played by any young man that the studio were hoping to hang this franchise on like ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Twilight’.
The film make a point of purposefully showing that whilst he can throw a knife, he can never actually hit his intended target. I used to refer to these moments as ‘Set it up – Pay it off’. They are repeatedly showing you, hammering the point home, that he can’t throw a knife. Obviously this will become important by the end. When he finally does throw a knife correctly, the moment was so anticlimactic I didn’t think it really wasn’t worth all the effort.
Julianne Moore is the other major star in this fantasy film as Mother Malkin. She looks like she’s playing the part for fun and is not given much to do which is a shame.
One positive note is the beautiful scenery. Filmed on various locations around Canada, some of the sweeping helicopter shots are very picturesque and do raise the quality on the film. However despite the beauty you can’t help thinking that they’re aiming for that ‘Lord of the Rings’ vibe.
Behind the scenes the film had many production difficulties. It was first slated to be released back in February 2013, but with the production company, Legendary Pictures splitting from Warner Bros this lead to further complications. Eventually Legendary Pictures signed with Universal who were unsure of what to do with the film and it was finally released in in February of 2015.
One of the best CGI effects houses, Rhythm & Hues, unfortunately went bankrupt whilst working on this film and had to be bailed out with $5 million so they could finish. Having worked on many big blockbuster movies since 1993, its really a shame this would be their last.
I wonder if Legendary Pictures were hoping to start a franchise as ‘Seventh Son’ is based on a series of novels known as the ‘The Wardstone Chronicles’ written by Joseph Delaney. Based on this first entry as a live action picture, I think it’s safe to assume they’re not going to be anymore.
If you do see this film, then I recommend you try and do so as cheap as possible. Another option would be to watch all the trailers again. After seeing the film I now realise these are nothing more than glorious highlight reels. The full length film adds nothing more.