Seventh Son - A forgettable fantasy: Merely dust on the fingertips - 2 stars

'When darkness falls, the son will rise'
Walking into the cinema...

You would think that this could be a winner with two Academy Award winners in lead roles. The fantasy genre can be a hit or miss for audiences, especially when sourced from obscure material. Going in to the cinema, there are not many expectations. 

Overall rating: 2 stars
Cinematic rating: 2 stars
Family value: 2 stars
      Thomas Ward () has been chosen. Tom is destined for greatness in the fantasy world of The County. A role that will take him beyond his farm upbringing. In the film adaptation of Joseph Delany's, The Wardstone Chronicles, Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and is chosen by the local 'spook', John Gregory (), to fight off the multitude of dark characters that inhabit their world, such as witches, boggarts, and ghouls. Gregory recruits his new apprentice because he is the last of a band of warriors that can fight against the rise of a queen witch, Mother Malkin (). As the newest apprentice to Gregory, Thomas must learn quickly to overcome his own fears and lack of trust in his new mentor. He has to come to terms with the realities of a world that he thought was merely mythology. Coming to grips with his new found gifts and the burgeoning love of a young witch named Alice (). 
       People who work with copy machines know the effect of making multiple copies of an original, the quality diminishes with each copy. In the search for the next fantasy cinematic adventure, Seventh Son has the feel of the attempted copy of The Lord of the Rings, Snow White and the Huntsman and even to a lesser degree, a humourless, medieval Ghostbusters. The recruitment  of Academy Award winning actors, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, brings hope for this fantasy tale. Considering Bridges and Moore battling it out on the big screen has massive appeal. Unfortunately, their talent is wasted on an unoriginal story line. Bridges is a commanding force on the screen, but he needs to move pass the mumbling delivery of his lines. Many times his dialogue was not discernible, but this is a minor issue on the grand scale of Seventh Son. Great actors must have a strong supporting cast to give a depth to the dialogue and develop the strength of the lead characters. Interestingly enough, Bridges and Moore are supposed to be supporting characters. Ben Barnes plays the lead character in this film, but he seems to suffer from a supporting actor trapped in a leading man's body. He does not have the charisma or masculine presence to match Bridges. Also, as a romantic lead, Ben lacks any chemistry with the beautiful witch, Alice. The only chemistry that occurs between the couple is a blue spark, but it is not convincing. The weakness of characters and story development by Director Sergey Bodrov fail this tale. He does manage to provide beautiful scenery for the backdrop of the story and the CGI is admirable, but these elements fail to capture the imagination of the audience. Like the 'blue spark' between the lead characters, this story is merely dust on the fingers and there is no love lost on the audience. 
        Seventh Son does open the door to some deeper considerations. The key element is the comparison between Thomas Ward and King David of the Bible. Not that Joseph Delany acknowledges the Bible as an influence, the comparisons are uncanny. Thomas is the the youngest son chosen by a 'prophet' to go forward to battle an insurmountable evil. Thomas does not realise his potential until chosen by the elder. Comparisons can be made to his strengths and weakness, primarily that his main weakness would be a woman. Yet, in the end he represents the saviour for the world. Not to press the analogy too far, but even in the weak storyline of Seventh Son, the messianic message permeates narrative on the screen.   

Leaving the cinema...
Throughout the film, there were sighs from the audience of 'been here before.' Walking out of the theatre, it was a quiet walk to the lobby. Amongst friends, we tried to find positive points from this fantasy adventure, but it was difficult. When cinematography is the only consistent positive note, it does not bode well for the screening. Overall it was not too offensive or over the top for fantasy violence, but it might be worth waiting until it comes out on DVD. 

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. Is there such thing as hell? (Mark 9, Revelation 20)
2. What is our purpose in the universe? (Proverbs 16:9, Romans 8:28)
3. Is God in control of this world? (Proverbs 19:21, Romans 8:28)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews