Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore.
Generally speaking, fantasy movie adaptations do not perform well at the box office, the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit and Harry Potter films, notwithstanding. Ironically, the very elements that made the original books popular are usually the first things to be changed in a movie adaptation, leaving the film an empty husk, full of cliches and tropes.
Seventh Son is loosely based on Joseph Delaney’s dark fantasy novel, The Spook’s Apprentice which concerned 12 year old Thomas Ward and his adventures as the apprentice of the Spook. A Spook travels the county fighting troublesome creatures such as boggarts, ghosts, ghasts and witches for the people who need these things gone. Being the seventh son of a seventh son and Ward has the ability to see ghosts and fight other supernatural beings, and thus his parents have apprenticed him to the Spook.
Sounds interesting, right? Well, the producers made sure it had no similarity to the core premise whatsoever. In the film, Ward is a good looking young man (Prince Caspian‘s Ben Barnes) and has no such special ability. Basically, the producers removed everything that was intriguing about the book to make a watered-down fantasy movie that is closer in tone to similar flops like Eragon and The Scorpion King.
One hopes the paychecks were satisfying for Bridges and Moore as it seems inconceivable that they would want to be involved in a turkey like this. Bridges’ portrayal of the Spook is a combination of the Dude, Rooster Cogburn and Bane (!) and Moore virtually phones the performance in. Neither seemed to really give a damn.
Even though Delaney’s The Wardstone Chronicles (of which Spook’s Apprentice was the first in the series) currently has 12 books, it’s highly unlikely that Seventh Son will be anything other than a one-off. Thankfully.
Seventh Son is showing at the cinemas now.