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Monday, September 21, 2020

    ‘Seventh Son’: Teen ‘Witcher’

    Ben Nietzel
    Ben Nietzel
    Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

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    “Seventh Son” is a movie about a professional monster hunter determined to rid the world of a great evil once and for all.

    Con – Been here before

    “Seventh Son” is an unusual choice for this column as it usually only covers new releases. A poorly rated release from 2014, it would hardly seem to be the first movie to buck that trend. Having come to Netflix though, the movie is having something of a renaissance and for most people feels like a new release. “Seventh Son” lacks a lot of things, and originality is chief among them. The movie feels like a teen-friendly version of “The Witcher” with a dash of “Men in Black” thrown in for flavor. While some may point out “The Witcher” just released on Netflix this year is a series, it is important to note the books that serve as source material for that series started coming out back in 1994. A sword and sorcery movie like this attracts a very specific audience, and it’s hard to imagine most of them won’t have seen or read “The Witcher,” which is an improved version of this film in all respects. The other bits all feel like generic paint-by-number fantasy fare.

    Pro – Entertaining

    All that said, “Seventh Son” can be entertaining. It’s over-the-top, ham-fisted, and clunky at times, but it also moves quick. The baddies are interesting, if not a little too under-cooked. The action can be pretty fun to watch, and is never more than a sword’s reach away. The dialogue isn’t great, so quickly moving from set piece to set piece is a boon. Ironically, for a movie that does not have a great script or dialogue, perhaps the best thing for it would have been to have more time. There are a lot of cool things hinted at, but things fly by so quickly that little time is taken to explore the world or its inhabitants. It feels like this would have made a great Netflix series–oh wait.

    Neutral – Uneven

    Perhaps the weirdest thing about “Seventh Son” is how uneven it is. The cast is stacked. With two Oscar winners (Juliane Moore and Jeff Brides), a two-time Oscar nominee (Djimon Hounsou), and slew of young actors anchoring popular franchises to this day, it’s an amazing cast. They play it fun campy. On the other hand, the dialogue and story does little with their talent. It feels like having the 1994 Chicago Bulls start a band. The digital effects are pretty amazing, while some of the physical effects are really poor. The most egregious is a minor character with tons of screen time who clearly looks to be wearing a big mask.

    A true appraisal of “Seventh Son” will reveal a movie that feels derivative and uninspired. It checks all the boxes of the genre with nothing new to offer despite some interesting avenues to explore. That said, it’s not as bad as it was panned back in 2014, and it has moments of excitement and humor culminating in a fun viewing experience. It also deserves a nod as a nice break from the dark, graphic fantasy that has seemed to grip the genre since “Game of Thrones” skyrocketed to popularity. “Seventh Son” doesn’t need to go to the top of anyone’s watch list, but if you enjoy the genre, it’s not a bad way to spend a couple hours.

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