“The Seventh Son,” Visually Fun, Dull Story

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"The Seventh Son."

HOLLYWOOD—It seems every year around February or March a movie arrives in multiplexes that is a visual revelation. For 2015, that title belongs to “The Seventh Son.” The flick is a bit of a mythical journey starring Ben Barnes as Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son. Trust me it took me a few moments to wrap that notion around my head also.

Ward finds himself on an epic journey to do battle with a powerful witch portrayed by Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore. It was quite the delicious role to see Moore portray such a wicked character; a bit hooky, but still a treat to watch on the screen. With such evil on the loose, our hero is molded by Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges). Gregory is an old, cranky gentleman who been hunting to destroy Mother Malkin (Moore) for years.

When his original plan to trap and burn the witch alive goes array, he makes it his mission to seek vengeance for his protégé, Bill (Kit Harrington) who is murdered by the wicked queen. Gregory pulls out all the stops in his week long quest to mold Tom into a warrior, but love gets in the way. He falls quickly for Alice (Alicia Vikander) who happens to be the niece of Mother Malkin. A portion of the movie delves into that territory of what an individual is expected to do when choosing choose between blood and the rest of the world.

One of the issues with “The Seventh Son” is it lacks that narrative drive to keep its audience engaged. There are moments that will awake you from a deep somber, but like magic you feel that eternal somber lurking at each corner. There are fun moments and then those moments of tedium. The movie doesn’t really produce solid entertainment until its third act, which take the visuals to new heights with its mystical creatures and fight sequences.

Bridges reminded me of his cantankerous character Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” The scruffy voice, the scruffy beard, I thought for a moment the movie may have made a mistake with the development of the character. The acting wasn’t bad, the script was not as sharp or original as one would hope.

The fantasy adventure is directed by Sergei Bodrov, who picked up two Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film for his movies “Prisoner of the Mountains’ and “Mongol.” If you enter the theater hoping to see something not seen before on the big screen, one will be greatly disappointed by the story presented in “The Seventh Son.”