Based on Joseph Delaney’s renowned novel The Spook’s Apprentice (The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in USA), the Seventh Son focuses on Thomas “Tom” Ward (Ben Barnes); the seventh son of a seventh son, which by legend, he possesses special powers that enables him to see hidden supernatural elements in the world that others cannot see. After a series of visions, Tom realises his destiny and soon meets his mentor, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), who takes him as his apprentice in order to defeat the powerful and deadly, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore).
Filled with delays and tribulations from the beginning, the Seventh Son was destined for critical disappointment. Released a year after planned, the film was delayed to improve special effects and upgrade for 3D. However, any further enhancements to the film could not assist the overall theatrical performance.
Barnes is a fresh face to see on screen and with his experience in the fantasy-adventure genre such as the Narnia series, the English actor exhibited a solid performance. Similarly, love interest Alicia Vikander is refreshingly elegant and the chemistry between both young leads created a warm atmosphere amongst the action and adventure.
Fresh off her Oscar win, Moore is poorly utilised through an unimpressive storyline and an overabundance of special effects. Likewise, Bridges is inadequately employed, however his performance is reminiscent of his previous wisdom-like characters in True Grit and The Giver. Both veteran Oscar winners present the best that they can under the circumstances and as a result, both actors are appealing to see on screen in their different elements.
The entire film is clunky and messy with a convoluted plot line that fails to be an interesting as viewers can immediately get lost. Many have tried the fantasy genre route – Season of the Witch, Eragon and recent release Jupiter Ascending – and unfortunately failed to reach critical acclaim. Based on Delaney’s The Wardstone Chronicles series, the Seventh Son struggles to create a formidable and fascinating franchise.
With a complex plot line and an overindulgence in special effects, Seventh Son is an unfortunate disappointment.
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