WRITTEN BY: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight
DIRECTED BY: Sergei Bodrov
STARRING: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander
RATING: 2.5 stars
Based on the first in a series of Spooks books by Joseph Delaney, the film introduces audiences to Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) who is an alcoholic and grumpy spook tasked with keeping the supernatural world at peace. He imprisons the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), but years later, she escapes and becomes more powerful than ever. She kills his apprentice and threatens to take over the world, so Master Gregory finds himself a new apprentice – the seventh son of a seventh son – named Tom (Ben Barnes) to help him defeat Mother Malkin for good.
While there have been several young adult books adapted to film in recent years, Seventh Son will unfortunately go down as a dud. It has the ingredients for success including powerhouse actors, plenty of action and romance. But writers Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight, and director Sergei Bodrov fail to make the story engaging. It is not that the film is boring, it just does not stand out or leave a lasting impression. Some of the dialogue is also very poor and at times I found myself cringing.
I have no idea what Moore was thinking when she took on this character. A lot of actresses have portrayed over-the-top villains to have a bit of fun and balance out their more serious roles, but this was a poor choice for her. Mother Malkin lacks depth and imagination. Meanwhile, Bridges can barely be understood with all his mumbling. At least Barnes is solid, although his character is a bit annoying. Alicia Vikander plays his love interest, and while she is beautiful, the pair lack chemistry. Big stars like Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harrington are also wasted in such small parts.
Visually, Seventh Son looks great. It is just a shame that the story did not support the action, and the cast, which included Oscar-winning actors, failed to impress.