Even best actress Oscar winners can have a bad day at the office, and this is one of those for Julianne Moore.
A supernatural saga based on novels by Joseph Delaney, Seventh Son sees Moore play Mother Malkin, a malevolent witch who escapes imprisonment to wreak havoc on the world and the "Spook" who captured her, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges).
The story is set in a mythical land in a time "long past" and is full of stunning mountains and lakes, witches, dragons, giants and supernatural creatures - if it sounds a little Middle-earth, it is. Peace is maintained between the supernatural and human by Spooks, knights who fight dark forces. As Mother Malkin summons her loyal subjects to serve again there is only one Spook remaining to stop her, Gregory, and his assistant, Tom Ward (Barnes)
Moore does a passable job of Malkin, confidently wielding her power and thrusting her curvaceous black fingernails into her enemies' necks. The problem is that - apart from her thirst for vengeance, and the impressive wardrobe - there's nothing else really there.
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Bridges puts a spin on his wizard-like character by having him talk in a low, slow voice as he guides his apprentice (who has to be the seventh son of a seventh son for some reason) through his job. Bridges gets all the funny lines, although his delivery lessens them. Ben Barnes missed the memo about having fun and takes everything too seriously, spending most of the time staring into the distance or into his love interest's eyes.
Everything about Seventh Son feels undercooked. The lacklustre script tells a story that's predictable and vague, while the art direction and visual effects are pretty standard for the genre. Wardrobe and makeup were obviously given a reasonable budget and have produced some spectacular creatures, but none are terrifying and the action they whip up fails to get the heart pumping.
Seventh Son tries to tick all the boxes - funny, thrilling, romantic and terrifying - without succeeding at any. It's a little staid, and it's hard not to think: been there, done that.
Cast: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Running Time: 102 mins
Rating: M (violence and offensive language)
Verdict: Waste of a great cast.