Seventh Son is the screen adaptation of the best selling books, The Wardstone Chronicles. The Spook's Apprentice opens the series of thirteen dark fantasy books penned by the British author Joseph Delaney. These hugely popular stories have amassed a loyal army of fans right across the globe and sold well over three million copies.
The Spook is Master Gregory a witch hunter and the last of the order of Knights known as the Falcons. Defenders of the world against the supernatural and dark forces of evil, each Knight was the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, gifting them with unique powers. Powers that Master Gregory will need to draw upon because a new blood moon is rising. With it comes the masters of the darkness and the return of Mother Malkin, Queen of the Witches. After going through a succession of apprentices, Master Gregory must find a new Seventh Son to assist him. But time is running out, can the new Seventh Son be trained in time? Does he have the powers within to help defeat Mother Malkin and her Dark Warriors at the fortress on Pendle Mountain?
Now, it has to be said that on paper Seventh Son has everything going for it. You could not get a better base story. Especially at a time when epic fantasies like Carnival Row and Game of Thrones were dominating the ratings globally. In fact, if you were looking to create a franchise of films, choosing the Wardstone Chronicles is a total no brainer. Throw a ton of cash at the production, cast some serious acting talent that includes some Oscar winners, then turn to some of the most gifted effects minds in movie history. And surely, you are onto a winner.
Yet, Seventh Son was completely torn apart by the critics. In fact, there are few films that have received such a drubbing as Seventh Son has. The fans of the books were disgusted by how far the movie had gone from the original story. Even the writer Joseph Delaney was totally shocked at the first screening.
But, do you know what? It's actually pretty good and could easily go under the category of a hidden gem. Yes, the direction from Sergei Bodrov is a little chaotic. But generally, Bodrov manages to keep the whole thing moving along pretty well. There's a good blend of humour woven into the impressive effects and fight scenes. Let's say just enough to add an element of charm that many films are devoid of in today's world.
Moving onto the impressive cast. You must admit that any film with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore heading the cast, is a great start. Although I am a massive fan of both actors, so could be a little biased. However, neither of them is giving anything like their award-winning performances in Seventh Son. But they are both fantastic playing Master Gregory and Mother Malkin. Things could have been a lot worse if they were not in this movie.
On top of this, you have Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Djimon Hounsou, Jason Scott Lee, Antje Traue, and Olivia Williams. Now, come on, that's impressive. But do you know what isn't? Ben Barnes cast as Tom Ward – The Seventh Son. For me, Barnes is the rotten egg in this film. Yes, that may be a bit harsh, but he is just not convincing as the hero at all. Let's just say that they should have switched roles with Kit Harington and that franchise may just have been made.
All in all, Seventh Son, has bags of charm and romps along at an impressive pace. I understand why it was torn apart, the screenplay finished up totally different from the book and there are better fantasy films. For instance, it falls way short of Lord of the Rings. But watch it with as nothing more than a fun family fantasy film and you are onto a winner.