Seventh Son (Bodrov 2014) – Film Review

Pros: *

Cons: ****

All the white washed, generic, bored fantasy standards you can fit into a single film.

Image from IMDB.comIt’s not an awful film but if you want to see something new, anything new, then this isn’t the film to look at. The production quality is high; things look good. They’re shot well and you can see a lot of time and effort went into creating it. But I have to ask, if you’re going to put that much time and effort into a project, why not do something new/fresh/unique/original?

The narrative is more predictable than a Dungeons and Dragons rulebook and when the description for a monster was presented as a “level six monster” I had to take a moment to ensure my jaw wasn’t on my lap. The character archetypes walk straight of the pages of any explanation of the Monomyth or Three Act Play. The mentor is a grumpy old man who gets disrespected by everyone but who is ‘the most incredible fighter of evil’. The hero is ‘the most unlikely candidate’ to past the trails of being a Spook. Yes, the greatest warriors against evil are called Spooks – sounds too much like lazy writing to ignore. They have to defeat the ‘greatest evil’ before the ‘blood moon’ is full. The most generic fantasy content and lingo.

Some of the dialogue was also atrocious. In a fight one character comments “[y]ou know nothing of dragons.” This intimidating comment is either completely useless as there are no other reference to dragons and if it turns out that the flying baddies are dragons then the statement is incorrect as the person the comment was aimed at knows the one quite intimately. Another such comment was “his reign of terror”. The him that is referred to here holds no station of power beyond the power he claims over any person he faces in single combat, hardly a reign of any kind.

The representation of the antagonists was interesting, visually at least. The master assassin couldn’t be bothered to do anything sneaky or stealthily. His ‘army of assassins’ are incorrectly introduced as, well, assassins when really they’re just ‘random cannon fodder for the slaughter’ to fill in the fight scenes between Lieutenants; yes the bad guys (who are witches) have a queen and she has lieutenants.

The hero goes through the minimal required amount of character development, just like everyone else.  Everyone who has to die, dies on cue. The love interest is a shallow relationship that starts with eye contact and ends with betraying their respective parties at one point or another, with little other than a single make out session in between.

Beautiful camera work and great CGI means its easy to watch “Seventh Son” (Bodrov 2014) but boredom sets in whenever there isn’t magic or mayhem, which means the two-hour film feels really long even though the story feels really rushed. The books might be worth a look, perhaps some of the fault lies in the adaptation.

I’m looking for a saving grace beyond pretty pictures and I’m having trouble coming up with one, considering that pretty pictures has become an expected standard for Hollywood sci-fi and fantasy films. It’s like drinking a glass of tap water; its not bad but it’s not going to tickle your taste buds.

Published by

Franco Strydom

An emerging South African Film Maker and Critic, Franco Strydom has written, director and produced video content in Short Films, Music Videos, Television as well as Corporate Imaging and Marketing. With an Education in Music (specializing in Music Technology and Sound Design) as well as Drama obtained at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Franco has had the opportunity to travel for film which has taken him to the USA, Zambia, Italy and South Africa (obviously). The future holds more possibilities that Franco is hoping to explore in the hopes of becoming a better Film Maker and Story Teller.

One thought on “Seventh Son (Bodrov 2014) – Film Review”

  1. Just want to make one little comment: I’m a fan of the books, even as an adult. I would like to agree that the fault seems to be in the adaptation. The few glimpses I’ve gotten into the plotline of the movie do not resemble the books. Dragons? Please. Don’t believe I will be watching this one, no matter how much I’ve anticipated it.


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