Film Trailer Review: Seventh Son (2013)

Jeff Bridges plays another grizzled tough guy in this film based on Joseph Delaney's fantasy novel series, The Wardstone Chronicles.

Seventh Son is a fantasy epic from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, the film is set in a medieval land plagued by monsters such as witches and demons.

Jeff Bridges plays John Gregory, a demon hunter, monster slayer character who protects his country from a wide menagerie of beasts and horrible creatures. Unfortunately like Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon, John is getting too old for this shit and seeks to recruit and train an apprentice to take over. John is officially known as a Spook which is a silly name for a serious job as Spooks are fierce warriors who undergo harsh training and they are well respected.

Apparently the world is divided between the forces of light and the forces of darkness as is fairly common in fantasy fare like this. Spooks are tasked with trying to maintain some kind of balance or yin and yang between the two sides by preventing the dark forces from overtaking the land. An evil witch known as Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) was imprisoned by Gregory years ago after a long war between the two sides but unfortunately she was able to escape her confinement. Now she wants revenge on John for his role in her incarceration and she also seeks to reignite the old war by calling all the local monsters to her aid. John is facing a serious crisis and he will need his new apprentice now more than ever, his only hope is a teenage lad called Tom Ward who is apparently the seventh son of a seventh son. The significance of this is not made clear in the trailer unfortunately but hopefully the film will explain it at some stage. Ward is no doubt the Luke Skywalker or “chosen one” character here. Gregory tries to quickly school Tom in the art of Spooking and the dynamic duo prepare to fight the witch and her minions.

The film has a surprising cast as Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore are not usually known to appear in action fantasies like this, Bridges however also appears in R.I.P.D. which is another fantasy film being released this year. He seems to enjoy playing grizzled old combat veterans these days and his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers True Grit remake was a good performance. His performance here as Gregory seems similar as he has a no nonsense approach to life and does not suffer fools gladly. Moore appears to be enjoying herself here too as she is playing the hammy, pantomime villain character that is common in fantasy films. It will be interesting to see if she can chew as much scenery as Charlize Theron did in Snow White and the Huntsman. Ben Barnes plays Tom and the supporting cast includes Antje Traue who will no doubt become famous for her performance as Fiora in Man of Steel, Olivia Williams and Djimon Hounsou.

Action junkies will love the trailer as it contains an abundance of fight scenes and monsters from start to finish, in fact there is so much action on-screen that little time is allocated for any plot details. The viewer learns very little about what is going on and emphasis is placed on introducing John, Tom and Mother Malkin. This less than subtle approach is surprising considering the source material was a series of novels. There must be an abundance of detail and back story in those books and it will be interesting to see how fleshed out the film is by comparison. The trailer also overdoes things a bit with too many camera fade to black transitions which is unnecessary, it just adds to the feeling that the trailer lacks restraint and is a bit too over the top. The large number of monsters shown on-screen may remind viewers of a fairground Ghost Train where a plethora of evil things are rolled out on display for the audience. Showing so many creatures in the trailer often ruins some of the surprises for viewers when they watch this at the cinema, it also means some of these fantasy action films seem rather generic and homogeneous as so many have trailers directed in the same style, this is bad if the studio wants their film to stand out from the crowd. Some movie goers may struggle to tell one fantasy action film apart from another these days.

A bit more restraint and more details concerning plot and characters would of improved the trailer significantly, the all action approach is understandable as the studio wants to ensure the film stands out in a popular market, however it’s a shame that so many other films in the  genre have the same idea and presentation. CGI monsters are quickly forgotten, memorable characters and an interesting plot linger in the mind long after the viewer has watched a film.

Fans who enjoy watching brave heroes take on the monsters may like the film although fans of the books will no doubt be harder to please.

Seventh Son will be released on January 17th 2014, have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.

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