Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seventh Son Review

Sometimes people wonder why I voluntarily go see what I think are going to be bad movies. Several reasons. Yes, I actually find it fun to write a bad review of a movie that I didn't like. That's one reason. Along those lines, it is really fun to make my list of top 10 worst movies of the year. In order to do that, I actually need to see a good sample of bad movies. That's another reason. And of course I have found that I enjoy the role of warning people about movies that aren't that good. Most importantly, though, is that there are actually a lot of times where I have gone into a movie thinking it would be bad and actually had a good time with it. Being surprised like that is actually one of the best movie-going sensations in my opinion. Thus I like giving all movies a chance because there's always the hope that I will actually enjoy the movie. Seventh Son is a great example of that. It currently has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.7 on IMDb, so when I went into it, my expectations were very low. And guess? This movie isn't that bad. I mean, it's not the most epic thing you'll ever see, but I actually had fun with this.

Seventh Son is actually based off of the first book in The Wardstone Chronicles titled The Spook's Apprentice. This series is written by Joseph Delaney and is a fairly popular series that now has 13 different books in it. I have not read this series, but I have two friends who really enjoy it. One of them actually came with me to this and was also fairly impressed with the adaption. According to him, there are a lot of differences between the book and the movie, but they do keep the same general structure of the book and don't commit any huge sins like that of the movie adaption of Eragon. The book stars 12-year-old Thomas Gregory as the new apprentice to John Gregory. Gregory is what is called a Spook, someone who fights off all sorts of fantasy creatures like witches and boggarts. His previous apprentice was killed and Tom becomes his new apprentice because he is the seventh son of a seventh son. In the movie Tom is a lot older than 12. I can't remember how old the character in the movie is supposed to be, but Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia movies) is 33 years old. Or, well, he's that old right now. Since production on this started several years ago, he was probably 30 or 31 during the actual filming. But it's the same idea. He's recruited to be Jeff Bridges' new apprentice because he's the seventh son of a seventh son and together they are trying fight off the evil queen.

The movie actually started off really interesting. We see Jeff Bridges and his old apprentice fighting this queen, but failing as the apprentice is killed and Jeff Bridges escapes. Being that the reviews were so bad, I was waiting for this to take a serious dip with the story, the acting, the quality of the movie, or something like that. But it never did. They did throw in a love story with Ben Barnes and a new witch that is somewhat distracting because it just happens with very little build up. Also, Ben Barnes towards the end of the movie suddenly becomes an amazing fighter overnight after a speech by his mother, which felt a bit odd. There were a few other things like that that weren't done that well, but overall it's actually a really fun fantasy adventure. The most unique and original fantasy movie ever? Probably not. But the visual effects are actually really good. The soundtrack for the movie is great. The acting by Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, and others is really great. There was a lot of chemistry between the whole cast that made this work. When the battles happened, they were really fun to watch.

There were a whole lot of production issues with this movie. It was supposed to come out initially in February of 2013, two years ago. But it got pushed back multiple times and even switch distributors, I believe. The marketing for the movie wasn't done very well at all and Universal decided to release the movie on the same day as Jupiter Ascending and a week before Kingsman: The Secret Service. It's as if they gave up on the movie some time ago and didn't care for success. But in the grand scheme of things, productions issues don't matter. Or they shouldn't at least. But I feel that a lot of people went in to the movie with the idea that this was a problematic movie that earned nothing in the box office and thus wanted to be good. I don't want to see people had written their reviews before they saw it, but I do think they went in with the idea in mind that they were going to hate it and just decided to find everything wrong with it to justify themselves. Because who wants to be the only one to actually like a movie? Better to go with the flow, right? In my opinion this is wrong, but it's the only thing I can think of as to why this movie is hated so much because it really doesn't deserve all the hate that it's getting.

So in the end, I went into Seventh Son with low expectations, but I found myself surprisingly enjoying the movie. It's a well-shot, well-acted fantasy adventure that I had a lot of fun with. It's not on the level of Lord of the Rings in terms of a fantasy movie, but I'm glad that I decided to give this movie a shot because it's worth your time. If you are one of the people that decided to completely ignore this movie because of all the bad reviews, I would honestly suggest that you actually give this is a shot. Because who knows, maybe you'll be like me and actually enjoy this movie. I highly doubt we're getting more of these movies because of how poorly received it was. I mean, it's actually made a small profit due to a high showing overseas, but I don't know if that's good enough to justify more. However, I am actually now interested in checking out this book series sometime in the future when I actually have time to read. When a movie based on a book gives me that desire, that's a good thing because it doesn't happen that often. My grade for Seventh Son is an 8/10.

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