Robin's review

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 A fan explains why he likes The Wardstone Chronicles saga and what he liked about the film... “Seventh Son” should convince the fans of The Wardstone Chronicles saga. The Wardstone Chronicles (Bayard Editions) inspired “ Seventh Son”, a heroic fantasy film directed by Sergei Bodrov. Robin Bouder, 19, discovered the novels on his 13th birthday and the film last week. He told 20 minutes the reasons of his enthusiasm for the story.

Exceptional novels “I devoured the first three tomes in one sitting and I let myself be carried away by Joseph Delaney's universe, because it was darker than other young adult books and the heroes are not Manichean.” he explains. Seduced by adventures filled with surprising creatures, the young man begins a correspondence with Bayard Editions. “I bombarded them with questions and they finally asked me to take care of the Facebook page for the novels, which allowed me to share my enthusiasm.” he explains. A good way to give a leg up for the communication student who wishes to work in edition.

The film: rediscover the books After having had the pleasure of meeting Joseph Delaney during his visit to Paris last month, Robin was anxious when he went to see the film. “The first trailers worried me because I thought they weren't faithful to the novels” he admits. He was even more surprised by the result. “Once I had accepted the film wasn't a literal adaptation of the books but a rediscovery of the Spook's universe I enjoyed myself. The film is effective and the relationships between the master and the student are well described” he said. Perfect to satisfy the fans Even though the hero portrayed by Ben Barnes is older than the one created by Joseph Delaney, Robin let himself be convinced by Ben Barnes', Alicia Vikander's and Jeff Bridges' performances. “You just have to admit that a film can't be the exact transcription of the novels. By the way, Joseph Delaney, who had the same reservations as mine at the beginning, had fun during the show!” Robin declares. If the young man continues to enjoy the books, he's also ready to follow the cinematographic saga, which respected the spirit of the books and gave them a new life onscreen.



Directed by: Sergey Bodrov

Written by: Charles Leavitt, Stephen Knight (screenplay), Matt Greenberg (screen story), Joseph Delany (novel).

Starring: Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Antje Troue, Olivia Williams, Kit Harrington, Djimon Hounsou.

Sword and sorcery epics all kind of blend together unless they are unique. Based on Joseph Delany’s novel “The Spook’s Apprentice,” director Sergey Bodorov’s SEVENTH SON builds a fantastic fantasy world that keeps viewers constantly entertained. Awesome, thrilling and magnificent, this is EXCALIBUR for a new generation. While it’s not Shakespeare or GAME OF THRONES, it’s certainly a helluva fun ride.

After many years of being caged and stranded high atop a secluded mountain, Mother Malkin’s power has grown strong again. At first sign of the blood moon, she morphs into a dragon and breaks free to exact revenge on the one who trapped her, Master John Gregory (Jeff Bridges), a.k.a. “The Spook” (one of the last living Falcon Knights), who is semi-retired from fighting evil. His return to fighting doesn’t go as smoothly, as it leaves his apprentice (Kit Harrington) dead at Malkin’s claws. Next in line? Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), a lowly farmer who feels he’s destined for great things. And since this is a chosen one story (because, as I’ve said before, we’re still not done with those yet), sure enough he is! But he’s got lots of training to do. With each growing day before the next blood moon (the time when Malkin unleashes her evil upon the world), Malkin’s army of shape-shifting baddies led by Radu (Djimon Hounsou) wreaks havoc. However, complications (and some betrayals) arise when Alice (Alicia Vikander), Malkin’s niece and fellow witch, enters the picture.

Dragons (done by visual effects master John Dykstra)? Good. Bad-ass female witches (played by Moore, Vikander and Antje Troue)? Great. Bad-ass female witches turning into dragons and fighting in the air? Even better. These are amongst SEVENTH SON’s strongest qualities. Moore does what Charlize Theron could not in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN; she keeps the camp restrained whilst swaggerjacking much of Theron’s SWATH wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not iconic, but it seems like she’s having fun with the role. Unlike another film debuting this weekend (cough, cough JUPITER ASCENDING), we aren’t being cheated out of “strong female characters;” all the women here are interesting throughout. Sure, Mother Malkin is pure evil, but at least she’s complex and fleshed out.   Unlike MALIFICENT, she wasn’t turned vengeful because a man spurned her (she was already succumbing).

Blessedly, levity is interjected every now and then – mostly jokes about Gregory’s booze. Interestingly enough, Bodorov brilliantly ends the GAME OF THRONES comparisons when he offs Harrington’s character. It felt like a playful wink at audience expectation. Dante Ferretti’s production design feels immersive and massive in scope, all while tied to natural elements. Plus, maybe it’s just me reading into it, but Charles Leavitt and Stephen Knight’s screenplay subtly (or goofily, depending on who you talk to) connects the fantasy world elements of the witches’ bloodlines to real world Judaism – both were persecuted, hunted and driven out of towns.

Much like the teens this is perfect for, SEVENTH SON does have its blemishes. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel’s Vaseline-smeared lens makes everything blurry – not a good thing for 3D when the special effects shots aren’t involved. While that’s bound to work better in 2D, audiences will then miss out on pretty spectacular sequences with the dragons and fights. Not only does Bridges’ silly voice feel like an unnecessary put-on, there’s a lot of stuff – mostly in the third act – that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why does Tom initially save Alice? Because she’s pretty. Why all of a sudden are there two blood moons within weeks of each other, yet there weren’t any for years before? Maybe because Mother Malkin’s cage of emotion hadn’t turned to uncontrollable anger, but that’s just a guess. What does it mean if Tom’s vision was wrong? Eh, it’s just wrong. Don’t question it – just be happy it is. Why exactly can’t he be together with his lady love? Maybe we’ll find out in the sequel (which probably won’t ever happen).

After a season of stuffy, long run times and flat films, it’s finally nice to welcome a breezy, brisk and enjoyable distraction.

3.5 out of 5