Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant TV Editor
The trend to adapt young adult novels into films has been going strong for over a decade. It all arguably began with the success of the Harry Potter franchise, which moved to Twilight, and, more recently, The Hunger Games. Along the way there have been many attempted launches of the next big thing like the Percy Jackson series and The Mortal Instruments. So far those have lost all steam due to their hurried attempt to be as big as the YA juggernauts. Seventh Son is the latest crack at earning mega bucks from eager teens, but unfortunately it creates transgressions that are simply unforgivable. It has been decreed that the Seventh Son is guilty of seven sins. They are as follows:
1. The “Obi-Wan” Character is Named…Gregory.
If it’s fantasy or sci-fi, there has to be that wise sage to teach the young one how to become the master. Yoda and Obi-Wan taught young Luke Skywalker the ways of the force and how to dispel the darkness. Seventh Son delivers Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges). Pardon me, Spook Master Gregory. The name alone oozes cheese and hoping that the characters will ever deliver his name successfully is futile. In the film, Gregory has to teach a seventh son of a seventh son how to defeat witches. Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) is the latest seventh son destined to become a witch hunter which means that he is attached to Gregory’s hip like a muffin top. Thus the spook apprentice and spook master relationship is formed. Star Wars is to Jedi as Seventh Son is to…Spook. Chilling.
2. Jeff Bridges as Spook “Banedalf” Gregory
It seems that in these adapted films, the actors try to portray their characters with eccentric accents. The Dark Knight Rises created some controversy with Tom Hardy’s warbled voice version of Bane. While the accent was at times goofy or confusing, it holds no candle to Jeff Bridges and his decision to mix the middle earth Gandalf accent with mumbled Gotham City Bane. With Bridges receiving about half of the dialogue of the movie, including most of the exposition to deliver, most of it is undecipherable with that voice.
3. The Attempt of “CGI”
For a sweeping fantasy epic, the effects have to be top notch. The suspension of disbelief can only be maintained when the more fantastical scenes match in writing, acting, and scene quality. From the first sight of a demon possessed little girl in the first act of the film, it’s clear that the digital effects are about as polished as a toilet with a fresh heaping of throw up. Gregory and his first apprentice are summoned to a church where a young girl is inflicted with a demon. Calling out the demon summons a cloud of colorful diarrhea that looks basically like the description given here. A film with dragons, spell casting, and unthinkable creatures took those concepts and turned them into finger-paint. The budget must have gone to keeping its only good actor interested: Julianne Moore.
4. Julianne Moore is Too Good for This
The acting overall is nothing to write home about, but it’s not completely terrible (except with Bridges’ voice, where there’s no clear way to know how he did). The only true standout is top billed Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin. Malkin is the head witch that was so evil she was banished to a hole deep in the mountains for centuries. Upon her escape, she rounds up her witchy cohorts to wreak havoc on the land and take revenge on Master Gregory for banishing her. Moore does her absolute best with the material given to her, but it just sticks out through entire run of the film that she deserves better. Her dialogue is campy and lame at best, but she manages to put her all into each delivery, which lessens the blow slightly. During each scene when Malkin transforms into her Crayola dragon form, one has to understand that the blame goes to the effects team, not on poor miss Moore.
5. The Blue Spark
The main heartthrob Tom Ward does in fact find a lovely lady in the form of a young witch named Alice. To make it as star crossed as possible, Tom as a spook lives to kill witches but falls in love with the very creature he must destroy. Their bond is apparently not evident enough through the flirty fruit gushers thrown at the audience, so the script decided to throw in a sign. At one point Alice touches Tom’s hand and a little blue spark emits. The sin will be clear in this line of dialogue followed immediately after the fire: “It is said that when a witch touches her true love’s hand for the first time, a blue spark appears.” *slams head into wall*
6. There are THREE MacGuffins
The one ring. The tesseract. The elder wand. All are macguffins that have previously driven successful films plots. Seventh Son again wants to make sure viewers understand what a device that moves the plot is, so they make three of them. The seventh son himself is the first macguffin. Only he can destroy the evil of Malkin. The math alone on how long it takes for a seventh son of a seventh son to appear is coma inducing, but the film never bothers to explain why the seventh child has any significance. Gregory continually smacks ghouls and Tom with a Spencer’s Gifts glow staff throughout the film that ends up being the most important weapon of all time apparently. Its introduction describes it as the key for Tom to learn how to fight properly. Soon after, it’s dropped and forgotten for the next macguffin. At one point Tom receives a medallion from his mother that glows blood red, just like the red blood moon of power that Malkin keeps worshipping. This medallion eventually becomes the main focus for Malkin due to its ability to give the lead witch unending power. Wait…wasn’t the blood moon the thing that gave unending power?
With horrible dialogue, subpar acting, unforgivable digital effects and no sign of any real direction to the writing, Seventh Son is punishable just for its very existence. While other YA to film adaptations have been sinful, this is in its own league altogether. This film is the bratty school kid example of how to ruin any chance of a franchise.
Overall Grade: F