Seventh Son

star2star2

Seventh Son had a very tough road to screen that included multiple release delays. As it turns out, there was good reason for the delays. Despite a very competent cast and writers, director Bodrov managed to make a banal mess of most of it. There is minimal emotion driving the action and music is over-used to attempt to manipulate you into thinking of the story as a big screen epic; instead it just stands out as forced. Additionally, he allowed Bridges (R.I.P.D) to make character choices that, while amusing, had him mumbling through the entire movie.

Despite all the issues, the movie has some beautiful visuals, both scenic and f/x. And the performances mostly worked, even if they didn’t have quite all the moments they needed to pull it together. In the major roles, Barnes (Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Vikander (Anna Karenina) create an interesting, if obvious, conflicted love story. Moore (Still Alice) gets to chew up scenery with abandon as the great evil driven by, well, events that never quite feel real; that doesn’t stop the actress from going all out. And even Bridges is entertaining, though I’d have preferred him not sounding like he was eating his beard all the time. No amount of good timing on his part was able to overcome the forced feel of the characterization.

In the smaller roles, Williams (The Worricker Trilogy) doesn’t quite get the time and moments she needs, but I do always enjoy seeing her work. Harrington (Pompeii) continues to build his non-Game of Thrones resume and does well enough here. Hounsou (The Tempest) plays a typical big scary well, though it doesn’t really tap his abilities.

For a rainy Saturday afternoon, this is perfectly acceptable fare. It could have been more, and perhaps it was at some point in its cycle, but after being edited down it just feels rushed and empty. While you can normally ignore that aspect in a good B-grade flick, this one keeps credibly reaching for the good moments, and missing. With lesser performances the gaps would have felt natural, but you can see the possibilities and feel even more cheated for their lack.

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