'Seventh Son': What the Critics Are Saying
The Sergei Bodrov-directed fantasy epic stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Kit Harington and Ben Barnes.
Seventh Son stars Jeff Bridges as Master Gregory (referred to as the Spook), a knight with the supernatural ability to fend off evil in the form of witches, ghouls and town-haunting spirits. When Bridges faces his strongest competitor Mother Malkin, a dangerous sorceress played by Julianne Moore, he enlists the help of a young apprentice (Ben Barnes).
The Legendary Pictures film, an adaptation of British author Joseph Delaney’s novel The Spook’s Apprentice, is directed by Sergei Bodrov and also stars Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams and Kit Harington.
See what top critics are saying about Seventh Son:
The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer writes that it "takes an A-list crew and cast — including Moore sporting a black feather dress and matching eyeliner — and goes nowhere new with it, investing lots in VFX and locations but not enough in an original story anyone cares about. ... Bodrov is best known for his Oscar-nominated drama Prisoner of the Mountains, which he followed with international action flicks including Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Kahn. His style here is serviceable though hardly distinguishing, and nothing in the Seventh Son really pops off the screen, with three credited editors cramming everything into a neat 100 minutes. It’s as if the film had entered Legendary’s assembly line with some promise but then started clogging up the machine, its release delayed for nearly two years due to postproduction woes and issues with then-partner Warner Bros."
Bodrov's work "is certainly watchable but far from memorable, and though a closing scene leaves things open for a sequel, business realities may decide otherwise. If anything, the movie offers up the guilty pleasure of seeing Bridges and Moore duel it out in front of countless green screens and a few stunning Canadian backdrops — two great actors clawing at each other with magic staffs and fake fire, trying to survive in the netherworld of heroic kitsch."
Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey notes, "For acclaimed Russian director Bodrov, this foray into English-language filmmaking is a rare fail. Bodrov certainly knows his way around epics, as his excellent Oscar-nominated films Mongol and Prisoner of the Mountains attest. Seventh comes as a shock. Virtually every performance falls flat, aided no doubt by the vapid dialogue. And Bridges is saddled with an awful accent he never masters."
USA Today's Claudia Puig says, "The 3D effects are off-putting: Smoke spills out at the audience, and the camera swooshes high and careens over cliffs. It's more dizzying than dazzling. Further mucking up the attempts at magical fantasy is a distracting, bombastic musical score and feeble attempts at humor. Seventh Son is thoroughly ill-conceived, a pale imitation of its more adventurous and breathtaking brethren."
The Guardian's Jordan Hoffman explains, "While Seventh Son has trace elements of Saturday afternoon fun, its unoriginal nature gets the better of it. I mean, if you were ever a young man coming of age in a high fantasy and wore an elaborate locket of unknown origin around your neck, wouldn’t you know by now that it signified a noble heritage? There are flashes where you think Seventh Son is going to be wise enough to put a spin on the standard script, but by the end it just devolves into another loud, messy CGI brawl. How much more ruined masonry can moviegoers take? A lot, it seems, as this genre seems to be in no danger of going away.
New York Daily News' Joe Neumaier commends Moore and Bridges for leading the film. "Saints be praised for whatever strange magic brought Bridges and Moore together for their own little mini-Big Lebowski reunion, whether it was playfulness, paychecks or an open spot on their calendars. Because they save this mediocre medieval fantasy adventure from the ash heap."