Based on The Spook’s Apprentice, a novel written by Joseph Delaney, Seventh Son does its best to stuff every fantasy trope in existence into one movie.
Jeff Bridges plays Master Gregory, a ‘Spook’ who keeps the land safe from evil. He’s getting on a bit though, and has been training up a new apprentice to take his place. When old enemy Julianne Moore returns, after breaking free from her shockingly makeshift prison, she kills Gregory’s talented pupil, forcing the Spook to find another student. In steps farm boy Tom Ward, who happens to be the seventh son of a seventh son. Rumour has it the seventh son of the seventh son will have certain powers that make them special… somehow. The film never tells you what these powers are supposed to be unfortunately, and even now I still have no idea. Unless that power is being intensely unlikeable as a protagonist.
Oddly enough, Gregory mentions that the seventh son ought to be seven times stronger than a regular son. So… why not look for an eighth son? But anyway.
When Gregory swoops in and takes Tom away from his simple life, it feels like the film wants us to join in the fun and laugh at the hilarious odd-couple. Gregory is the grumpy old hand, while Tom is the young rapscallion who falls for the first girl he happens to see. But there’s no real chemistry between the duo, especially when neither displays any personality. For Tom, his blandness is really on show when he lays eyes on the aforementioned girl. This character – played by Alicia Vikander – provides the token love interest to top-off the unlimited clichés we’re forced to sit through.
The whole film passes as one dull generic fantasy. All-powerful enemies are beaten with an evil stare and some fancy footwork, there are coincidences that only serve to hurry the plot along, and some hilariously bad dialogue for us to snigger at. It’s disappointing too, seeing a rising star like Vikander squander her talents like this. Considering she alone carried Testament of Youth with her strong acting skills, it’s a shame she has this giant black mark on her CV. Her character in particular is at fault for wooden dialogue and bizarre decisions.
Seventh Son lies in awkward position when you think about it. It’s not offensively bad enough to warrant Razzie nominations, or perhaps even a cult following. It’s just bad. Yes, it must stick to the source material, but if the book is in any way similar to the film, why bother taking it to the big screen at all? Maybe that’s being too harsh on the author, but with a film like this, it certainly doesn’t do the book any good either.