Films that have been delayed from their original release dates, tend to fail when they finally see the light of day. Most of the reasons are simple- The public's anticipation for that film can wane over time, the last second tinkering can just make things worse, or maybe the studio had no faith in the product from the get go. Why does this happen to some movies? Many of the reasons for a film being shelved for months to multiple years is because of the variables that come with filmmaking. It's never as simple as just grabbing a camera and filming.
There's a whole lot more to it than that. Whether it be from script rewrites, to copyright issues, or even something as little as money percentages between multiple production companies and distributors, there's a lot that can get in the way from screenplay to big screen. Things like a film's controversial use of gore (House of a 1000 Corpses), a popular character's death (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), an actor's real death (Furious 7), studio indecisiveness (Gravity), distributor problems (Odd Thomas), bankruptcy and trendy alterations (The Cabin in the Woods), or just a bad venture all the way around (The Adventures of Pluto Nash), are just a few examples of Hollywood procrastination.
Seventh Son had been delayed for a few years, before the studios decided to take a risk on it. If the two and a half years of production impediments didn't caution you from this movie, then Jeff Bridges' (Tron Legacy) accent in the trailers should have done it. There are worse movies than this to be sure but, that does not mean a whole lot. This movie tries to be Van Helsing with swords. And also like that movie, decent visual effects take the place of a good story and likeable characters.
But even the effects are questionable. Most of the monsters look great but, some look less fully rendered. For how much detail that was put into the creatures, it baffles me that something simpler like witches flying through the air or a body engulfed in flames, could look so cheaply done. Like most of the visuals, the Canadian locations, the set designs, and the props, all add to the film's overall look.
The story itself is hampered by bad dialogue, a fake love story, and a lead character that is underdeveloped and boring to watch. Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) as "The seventh son of the seventh son", comes off as a modern day pretty boy that would rather have his face buried in his smartphone than saving the world.
Jeff Bridges is the film's best character. His grumpy sense of humor is definitely an asset but, his Gandalf mixed with Rooster Cogburn accent, is unstable and annoying at times. He did have the best lines of the film though. Julianne Moore (The Big Lebowski) as the villain, does her damnedest with a bad script in hand. Other wasted talents include Djimon Hounsou (Constantine), and Olivia Williams (Rushmore). With little screen time and little to say, I wonder why they were even cast in this film anyway?
They like everyone else, had barely an ounce of depth to their roles. Instead, we are subjected to a preposterous love story that "blossoms" in the span of a few moments. That trife is accompanied by cliches of secrets withheld that could have helped the heroes a lot sooner. Apparently, hormonal lust disguised as true love is more appealing to young filmgoers than training sequences and overall substance.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Seventh Son
The Good- The intro scene time lapse, the bar scene, and the entire Boggart monster attack sequence.
The Bad- Although the costumes look good, the fact that every character and extra each wore ones that appeared to be brand new, confuses me. Did they have Tide with extra stain fighting ingredients back then? They also must have had hair stylists, and dentists that performed teeth whitening sessions. Roll around in the mud, get some chocolate on your teeth, put a random bald patch on your head, do something to look more believable.
The Ugly- I had the choice between seeing this film or another one with production delays (Jupiter Ascending). I don't think that either choice would have been worthwhile anyway. Hell, I should have probably just seen The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, instead. At least with SpongeBob, I know what to expect.
Final Thoughts on Seventh Son
Seventh Son is a mixed bag of uneven effects and bad storytelling. This film is another disappointment that seemed cursed from the first written draft. With a near one hundred million dollar budget, shouldn't they have spent more on the substance and less on the look? Good as a drive-in movie or for home streaming. Maybe if we stop spending money on these lackluster films, they'll stop making them? Who am I kidding.
Rating- 3.5 out of 10
Seventh Son (2014)
PG-13 | 1h 42min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 6 February 2015 (USA)
When Mother Malkin, the queen of evil witches, escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter Spook decades ago and kills his apprentice, he recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him.
Director: Sergei Bodrov (as Sergey Bodrov)
Writers: Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Steven Knight (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges