The Writer’s Review
I watched a special preview of ‘Seventh Son’ in Paris on Thursday November 27th. It was shown in a small private cinema belonging to Universal Studios.
So here is my first review of the film; here are the early thoughts of the author of ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’ after watching the adaptation of his book. It contains no spoilers. I do not intend to give away the plot or in any way diminish the enjoyment of anybody who reads this and then goes on to watch the film.
The key word is ‘adaptation’. It is not just a conversion of the text into an audio-visual form. It has been transformed. This is inevitable because the process took many years, involved three directors and several screenwriters. Change was inevitable.
Is it a good film? The answer is yes. I enjoyed it
Is it spectacular?
The answer is yes. I watched it in 3D and there is a great deal of action, conflict and combat. There are creatures of the dark that lurch out of the screen and try to remove your head, your heart or maybe even your thumb-bones. And there are witches; lots and lots of witches.
Are the acting performances good?
The answer is yes. The cast perform well. They act well. I expected no less from the people involved.
Jeff Bridges is a convincing Spook and more ruthless than the John Gregory I describe in the book. As an actor he is a perfectionist. On the film set in Vancouver (back in 2012) I watched him perform many takes of the same action sequence striving to get it right.
Julianna Moore is a dangerous and charismatic Mother Malkin who is a worthy opponent for the Spook. My only reservation is that I could see neither maggots in her hair nor slime on her dress. Neither did she suck the blood from a single rat.
Alicia Vikander is an alluring Alice, torn between her feelings for Tom and the dark domination exerted by her mother and Mother Malkin. Just like the Alice Deane in the book, she strives to do what is right.
Ben Barnes is a great action hero who is the true star of ‘Seventh Son’. I forgive the fact that he is somewhat older than thirteen. He should play Tom Ward in the film adaptation of first book of the new series – ‘A New Darkness’ (where Tom is 17). That should become the sequel to this film.
Will you enjoy the film?
The answer is ‘yes’ – but if you have read and enjoyed the Spook’s books, watch it with an open mind. I spoke to three people about their personal judgements of the film. The first two were journalists. One didn’t like it that much because she preferred the book; she was more involved in the world of books anyway. The second loved the film; she was a journalist who reviewed films. She was judging it as a film amongst films. The third was a boy called Robin who is a great fan of the series. There was a danger that he would have found the film disappointing. Historically, there are many film adaptations where those who loved the book hated the subsequent film.
What did Robin say?
Robin said the film was very good. He enjoyed it.
So go and watch it with an open mind and enjoy it too.
Afterwards please send me your own reviews but avoid spoilers. We will publish the best reviews on this site.
‘Seventh Son’ is released in France on December 17th, 2015.
It opens in the USA on February 6th, 2015.
In the UK it can be viewed from March 27th, 2015.