Title: Seventh Son
Specifically, The Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, Right? Yes. Referring not only to one of Iron Maiden's best albums, but also -- according to folklore -- a person possessing paranormal abilities.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One glaive out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Alcoholic child killer recruits boy to help him murder his ex-girlfriend.
Tagline: "In the face of evil, claim your destiny."
Better Tagline: "Deathstalker V: The Spook Abides"
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Sir Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is the last of the fabled Falcon Knights, colloquially known as "Spooks," who wage war against the forces of evil and darkness and evil darkness. Having recently lost his last apprentice to the witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), Gregory recruits the young(ish) Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) to join him on his crusade as the final battle against Malkin -- who also happens to be Gregory's ex-lover, don't you know -- looms.
"Critical" Analysis: Dig, if you will, a picture, one combining the most tired elements of Star Wars, Highlander, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones into a sort of fantasy trope bouillabaisse: a yearning farmboy's destiny; his older, veteran-of-a-thousand-psychic wars mentor; magical jewelry; dragons. It's like someone wrote fanfic of someone else's fanfic (see also Eragon).
I'm not happy making that assertion, because one of the screenwriters for this garbage barge was Steven Knight, who wrote/directed one of my absolute favorite movies of 2014: Locke. Granted, he adapted someone else's treatment of Joseph Delaney's novel The Spook's Apprentice, and his creative input was likely limited, but still.
So let's place the blame squarely on Delaney. His book, and the other 12(!) in the series that follow it, carry the baggage-laden designation of "children's literature," but Hollywood's ravenous appetite for another Harry Potter/Hunger Games franchise to fatten their Scrooge McDuck money bins means they'll risk making a major motion picture out of a story that even 10-year olds are likely to find derivative.
Even better, Seventh Son has been in the can for two years thanks to Legendary Pictures' departure from Warner Bros. Imagine, two years bouncing around and nobody heeded Dr. Ian Malcolm's warning: "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think if they *should*."
I wonder if Julianne Moore will suffer from the movie's, let's say, unfortunate timing. You're going to hear people murmuring about Oscar curses as Bridges continues his run of poor movies since winning Best Actor for Crazy Heart (only True Grit was unequivocally "good"). But is Moore's (until now) probable win for Still Alice in jeopardy? Or did she just want to get a jump on things?
Maybe she just saw how much fun Eva Green was having.
No one escapes unscathed. Moore at least gets to chew some scenery while collecting her paycheck (eventually going full Pris with the eye makeup), but fellow Lebowski Bridges evidently decided "Drunken Master packing a lip" was the correct approach to his character. Barnes brings the same bland indifference and boy band haircut he did to the Chronicles of Narnia, while Alicia Vikander (as Alice, Tom's romantic interest) manages to be one of the few bright spots.
And Kit Harington, cast for some reason as Gregory's first apprentice, must have come over on loan for the day from Game of Thrones. That this movie has been on the shelf since 2013 does nothing to distract from the fact that guy's had the same haircut for five years. The 3D is terrible, occasionally going out of focus, and if not for the CGI and the presence of two award-winning actors, this might as well be Krull 2.0.
On the plus side, by making a movie this bad, studios are finally (and inadvertently) caving in to growing audience demand for fewer sequels and remakes. There are 13 books in the Last Apprentice series, but I can all but guarantee you Seventh Son will be the last you see on the big screen.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.