Perhaps it's appropriate that a supernatural fantasy like Seventh Son seems to have some kind of curse upon it. Originally set for release almost two years ago and based on Joseph Delaney's long-running The Last Apprentice fantasy novel series, Seventh Son's path to the big screen has been marred by numerous delays and a change of hands when Legendary Pictures split away from Warner Bros. and distribution was taken over by Universal Studios.
Seventh Son was directed by Sergei Bodrov and stars Ben Barnes as Thomas Ward, the titular seventh son of a seventh son, who is apprenticed to "the Spook" (Jeff Bridges), a fighter whose job it is to protect the locals from all manner of wicked supernatural creatures. Among those wicked supernatural creatures is a powerful witch called Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), who escapes from the Spook's prison and brings down a storm of evil upon the county.
A new featurette for Seventh Son outlines some of the internationally-sourced supernatural baddies recruited by Mother Malkin, including Djimon Hounsou's shapeshifting, axe-wielding warlock Radu. Universal has also released a few new clips from Seventh Son, showing Mother Malkin and her crew in action and also introducing Alicia Vikander as Alice, a good witch (you can tell because she wears white instead of black) who likes to go for moonlit swims.
Despite a reasonably strong cast, which also includes Game of Thrones star Kit Harington, Seventh Son doesn't exactly look like it was worth the long wait. It should be pleasing for fans of cheesy fantasy but some of the dialogue is pretty cringeworthy and the blue spark that marks Alice as Tom's designated love interest seems like a lazy shortcut in lieu of developing an actual relationship between the two characters.
It could be argued that Seventh Son has a built-in audience with fans of Delaney's novels, but many have expressed disappointment at the extent to which the film appears to diverge from the books, with numerous changes (Tom is supposed to be in his early teens, whereas Barnes was 31 at the time of filming) and the addition of a number of characters who weren't in the source material. The setting of the books was based heavily on Delaney's home county of Lancashire, whereas the movie seems to be set in a generic, vaguely English fantasy land.
The first couple of months of the year can be pretty dry for movie releases, but Seventh Son is releasing on the same day as the Wachowskis' (also long-delayed) sci-fi Jupiter Ascending, and of the two movies Seventh Son definitely looks less unique.
Seventh Son arrives in theaters on February 6th, 2015.