Seventh Son (2014)

(On Cable TV, January 2016) As much as I like being surprised by good low-budget films, bad expensive box-office failures have an attraction of their own as well. When it comes to movie-watching, big money is compelling, especially if you can see it on the screen: even when the story is hum-drum and the actors are sleepwalking through the plot, it can be moderately amusing (for schadenfreude-heavy values of “amusing”) to be swept along by what’s made possible by a big-enough budget. So it is that in Seventh Son, we get Jeff Bridges reprising his persona from True Grit and R.I.P.D. (speaking of expensive disappointments…), a curiously alluring Julianne Moore vamping it up as an evil witch, sweeping camera shots, an epic fantasy setting and slick CGI creatures. Unfortunately, we also have to suffer through a dull-as-dirt story, clichés by the barrel, barely repressed misogyny and grotesque secondary characters. Seventh Son is not fun, not thrilling, not even interesting to contemplate on a plot level: it’s far better to watch it for the visuals, the unintended laughter or the way it somehow manages to make its male protagonists exterminate the female antagonists without quite realizing how awfully misogynistic it is. Director Sergei Bodrov does put together a few interesting moments with the means to his disposal—too bad it’s in service of such an easily forgotten result. The decade-long glut of fantasy films lazily adapted from rote source material in an attempt to replicate the success of The Lord of the Rings is not helping the genre gain any ground. In the meantime, we can only watch in amusement and marvel at the colossal waste of money it is.

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