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SeventhSonFeature

Review: Seventh Son

Ros Hull

In a time of enchantment when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order needs an apprentice. The last seventh son leaves his life on his parents’ farm to join Master Gregory. They must vanquish a dark queen and her army of supernatural warriors. Official site (sort of)

A bit like getting Chinese food from the Cessnock bowls club, when you were in the mood for Sammy’s.

I haven’t read the book, The Spook’s Apprentice (The Last Apprentice in the US because ‘spook’ might be offensive – yawn) by Joseph Delaney but it was good enough to spawn not one but two series of further books … so I have to believe it is not formulaic, cliché loaded SciFi channel fodder.

This, however, is just that. Every single element has been seen before and often done better than it is here. The worst thing is – it isn’t a bad movie. That, at least, would have been something. This is just … bland.

Not an easy task, being bland, when you have soaring dragons, powerful witches, morphing assassins, ghasts, ghosts and boggarts. And a cast to kill for – Julianne Moore’s pre-Oscar winning Mother Malkin (dragon, witch, queen and all round bad-ass) is too much pose and not enough fire.

Then there is Jeff Bridges, whose Master Gregory grew on me but he really, really needed to spit out the chawin’ tobacco and pick an accent. Any accent. Ok, I know it is unfair that all fantasy characters have British accents but, given that there were two Americans, four Brits, a Swede and a German in the cast, it actually meant that more of the cast had to learn an American accent. Why? Why does only the priest, actually an Irishman, have an English accent?

Ben Barnes is good as Tom, the apprentice and the very busy Alicia Vikander is spot on as a reluctant witch. But why, given that her powerful mother and aunt stay in the same costume throughout, does she suddenly appear in leather pants in the battle scene when she has been in medieval dresses throughout?

The CGI work is pretty good and the exteriors are gorgeous. The marketplace and city look good, as does the dragon’s lair – but with all that attention to detail why not reshoot a scene when you must have noticed that at least two mysterious assassins are about to lose their Ghengis Khan bonnets?

Why does the landscape change so much (an entire lake dries up if the time lapse from the first scene to the second is just ten years?

Why does Ben Barnes sword fight with his left hand, write with his right and then toss knives with either?

How does Gregory magically adjust the neck of his shirt without touching it?

A movie needs to be so gripping that you do not notice mistakes until much later … when someone invents the internet … and super slo-mo on computers (hello stormtrooper walking into the bulkhead in Star Wars). If not, the production better have the best continuity person in the business because geeks like me are going to see your slip-ups!

Especially when the film seems just plain wasteful with the talented cast involved.

Djimon Hounsou is good and at least gets a few lines. Why have Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) as a killer who morphs into a cheetah and never give her a good fight scene or even a decent close up? And to not have Zahf Paroo (Continuum) even speak?

But worst of all – why is Kit Harrington in this film for so little time? Why? Why? Why?

Ros Hull

Ros saw Star Wars and immediately wanted to fly the Millenium Falcon. Unable to do that she became a Jill-of-all-trades as her army husband whirled her around the world – and back to Canberra 10 years ago. She has worked in public programs and museum education ever since. She gained an MA in writing whilst getting two daughters through high school - both are now at university and undeniably fabulous (according to her). She can worry as an Olympic sport so she sees lots of movies instead. More about the Author

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