Shot in 2012, set for release two years ago and only now limping on to the big screen, this tiresome adaptation of British fantasy writer Joseph Delaney’s novel ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’ is just the latest in a long line of CG-swamped blockbusters aimed squarely at the ‘Rings’/‘Thrones’/ ‘Potter’ crowd. Probably not the worst of its kind – last year’s ‘Dracula Untold’ still holds that dubious honour – ‘Seventh Son’ offers the traditional mishmash of dragons, witches, swords, shapeshifters, magic stones, silly names, hunky heroes and Oscar-winning actors overacting in boiled leather.
In the latter category we find Jeff Bridges – sporting the facial hair of Colonel Sanders and the facial mannerisms of Albert Steptoe – as Master Gregory, a witchfinder, alcoholic and all-round misery guts. He’s on the trail of Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore, looking like a refugee from a Meatloaf video), a powerful sorceress bent on destruction. But he needs an assistant on the road: enter chiselled farmhand Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son, and Gregory’s new whipping boy.
‘Seventh Son’ isn’t just predictably plotted, messily edited and unrelentingly dull, it’s also steeped in casual racism – the only black characters here are sneeringly villainous. As for misogyny, it’s crammed with evil women who spend their time killing the innocent and admiring each others’ shoes (seriously). Hardcore fantasy fetishists might enjoy the epic landscapes and old-school questing, while Bridges completists will doubtless get a kick out of his worst and weirdest screen performance to date. Everyone else is advised to steer well clear.