Movie Review: Seventh Son

Movie Review: Seventh Son

The storytelling may be dull, but does offer a deserving message

By Ben McEachenWednesday 11 Mar 2015MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Stop me when you think you’ve heard this before: fulfilling centuries of prophesy, one man has been destined to save the world – from the rising force of evil. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or you don’t, you’re probably familiar with many details of his biography. How the Bible faithfully records his status as The Chosen One, who would bring about the way for humans to be saved from the consequences of their own sinful actions. And that this unique role was foretold, many times over, for thousands of years before his birth.

Movie Review: Seventh Son 
That “one to rescue them all” summary mentioned above also describes the basic storyline of Seventh Son, the latest fantasy adventure to reach our big screens. Not to say that our hero Tom (played by Chronicles of Narnia’s Ben Barnes) is meant to represent Jesus. But his journey from Everyday Guy to Prophesied Saviour shares some basic similarities with the earthly life of Jesus.

However, where God’s No. 1 Son lived a life worthy of our deep fascination, Seventh Son is a dire work of cliches and blah execution. Despite featuring two Oscar winners (Jeff Bridges and this year’s Best Actress Julianne Moore), Seventh Son refuses to breath new life or passion or novelty into the familiar universe of witches, magic, knights and quests for good to triumph over evil. 

If you were given five minutes to come up with the most by-the-numbers plot for a fantasy adventure that you could think of, Seventh Son is what you’d create. Moore is Mother Malkin, a super-witch who seeks revenge upon Gregory (Bridges), a “spook”. Spooks are knights who defend people against supernatural forces. Some prophecy about “the seventh son of a seventh son” leads to Tom being enlisted as a spook. His boring apprenticeship with Gregory involves Bridges’ mumbling his lines, Barnes struggling to be a leading man, and audience members squirming at the barrage of seen-it-all-before moments. Building to the inevitable showdown with Malkin, cheesy dialogue and awkward performances drown out the reasonable special effects and grand locations. 

From Tom mindlessly falling in love with a witch (Alicia Vikander), to the convenient ways that powerful spirits are defeated, Seventh Son won’t convince you that it’s a fresh take on such tired material. As you puzzle over why Bridges and Moore would signed on to this weak epic, what is way more interesting to note is how saviour figures remain constant in storytelling. Plus, from Superman to Neo in The Matrix, saviour figures tend to be like Tom. Sharing many similarities with the life and impact of Jesus.

Seventh Son adds poorly to the huge amount of saviour figures in movies, novels, comic books and TV series. But it definitely won’t change how popular they are, with us. As if some core need of ours is being met, by the opportunity to enter a story of people being rescued from the ultimate enemy – evil. In our own lives, we often don’t like to ask for help or what we want to do things ourselves. Yet, we only have to look a little under our own surface to discover how keen we are to be saved – by someone more powerful than anything else – from the worst things about this world. And saved from the worst things about ourselves.

Tom in Seventh Son might share a few things with Jesus, but the comparison dies pretty quickly. The main reasons are that Jesus was real, and he provides salvation in ways that go beyond what any make-believe Saviour Figure has offered. When next you encounter such a hero, consider how they modestly point to The One so powerful that his earliest followers exclaimed about Him: “There is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.” (Acts 4:12)

Rating: M
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: Out now (released March 5)