Is there any movie Jeff Bridges can’t make instantly more interesting by being in it? Case in point: Seventh Son, an otherwise run-of-the-mill bit of swords-and-dragons fantasy, apparently shot some three years ago but released just last February, that Bridges almost single-handedly raises to the level of entertaining-enough. Whenever he’s onscreen, that is, which thankfully is a lot.
Based on the first in a seven-book series by British author Joseph Delaney, it casts Bridges as the last of an order of knights—seventh sons of seventh sons—who protect humanity from supernatural evil. After a powerful witch (Julianne Moore) kills his latest apprentice (Kit Harington), he acquires a new one (Ben Barnes) to help him defeat her and her witch allies.
Run-of-the-mill does not mean awful. Indeed, Mongol helmer Sergei Bodrov competently coordinates the proceedings, making sure the CGI doesn’t overwhelm the action, and no expense appears to have been spared on the sets and costumes. As well, I always find it intriguing when non-magical beings, like Bridges and Barnes here, must use science and smarts to battle those who possess magic.
I also liked the idea that Bridges loved Moore when both were younger (which history-repeats when Moore’s witch-niece (Alicia Vikander) hooks up with Barnes). Unfortunately, that angle fizzles, along with everything else that comes out of Moore’s mouth. That’s because Moore, who nails regular-people roles, sounds as wooden as a tree playing a woman who can turn into a flying lizard.
Bridges, on the other hand, qualifies as the life of the party. Adopting an odd, regal-ish accent not entirely unlike the one he used in R.I.P.D., he strides through the film as not always the most likeable person, but the closest thing to a real one we’re going to find. He’s a little uppity, a little sad, drinks a bunch, and is frequently funny (which helps lighten up the film’s so-serious tone).
No stranger to fantasy flicks, Barnes (Prince/King Caspian in the last two Chronicles of Narnia films) acquits himself well as well. If not quite as lively as Bridges, he easily convinces as a hero to root for, and performs some admirable athletics. And both get a great co-star in John DeSantis, who, even buried under tons of makeup, earns our sympathy as Bridges’ loyal abhuman assistant. – [DVD]
DVD Release Date: 5/26/15