Fantasy is a hard genre to get right, there is a very fine line between fantastic and naff. This is probably why this is a genre that I find it hard to get excited about, I was pretty convinced that Seventh Son would be awful after all the trailers. Then the poor reviews started flooding in but yet, as always, I still wanted to see it to make up my own mind.
Let’s just say that I can understand why Seventh Son has been receiving some criticism. It certainly has a few problems that do effect the film in a negative way. I think one of the major issues is the lack of build up in terms of plot and setting. Where and when does this film take place? On top of this there is a lack of much needed character development throughout. Due to this I never felt any real threat as although I liked the characters I wasn’t particularly invested in them. Jeff Bridges once again plays a wise old mentor type figure here but he just didn’t look real or something, his whole performance and presence kind of baffled me, it was like he doing a really bad Bane impression for the entirety of the film. His relevance to the story was also limited, as he is presented as the character who will train Tom (Ben Barnes) but very little training actually happens, because of this there isn’t much of a journey for any of the characters and the film feels like it is cut short almost. I thought, if anything, Julianne Moore would be the saving grace of the film. Much to my disappointment she is just fine here, I feel this is the fault of the poor character and script though as her villain just wasn’t exploited to her full potential. Some of the CGI in Seventh Son really didn’t help things either, at times it really cheapened the film and don’t even start me on the fact that the dragon had Julianne Moore’s red hair.
Despite all these flaws though I strangely enjoyed myself while watching Seventh Son. The lack of build up and character development, whilst definitely a flaw, mean that the film is fast paced and you never have time to be bored. I really did enjoy some aspects of the fantasy too, especially the different creatures that the villains could turn into – this was pretty cool. Whilst Bridges and Moore seemed wasted I thought a few other cast members did well. Alicia Vikander was awesome in her role as Alice, the third time I have seen Vikander in a film this year and each time I watch her I like her more. My favourite character and cast member though had to be Djimon Hounsou as Radu, he is so badass in this role and I almost wish he had been the main villain as although I thought he was great he was definitely underused. Ben Barnes himself was pretty solid too but he never gets that much focus in this frantic fast paced fantasy flick. Despite some awful CGI there were also some really nice moments of this too, usually it is either all good or all bad but strangely Seventh Son had a mixed bag meaning that some scenes actually looked pretty sweet.
Seventh Son is not a polished fantasy film by any stretch of the imagination and there are problems with nearly every aspect of the movie but somehow it still manages to be really enjoyable. Its fast pace mean that you will always be engaged and with some cool fantasy elements to enjoy coupled with some nice performances from Vikander, Hounsou and Barnes Seventh Son is some harmless fantasy fun for the cheap night at the cinema.
BIGGEST FLAW – More plot build up and character development needed
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Djimon Hounsou as Radu
Rating – 6/10