Seventh Son has been roundly panned by critics for being a lightweight epic that fails to take advantage of its rather esteemed cast. I mean, how could The Dude as a pissed-up Gandalf, Jon Snow as Legolas, or Julianne Moore with free-reign to be evil fail so spectacularly? Through weak visuals, a hackneyed plot and by just being painfully dull, that’s how. But does watching the film in 3D make up for this cavalcade of shortcomings?
Our theatrical review will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Seventh Son.
On the face of it, Seventh Son should have fit into the 3D format as smoothly as a hand goes into a glove. To start off with, it’s a fantasy, which means that there are dozens of peculiar characters floating around, some of which have four arms and others that turn into lizards and dragons. We are also taken to a variety of different exotic locales, including the inside of a cave that is the home to a band of witches, and there are numerous battles and fight scenes where 3D can be deployed to pull viewers in.
Planning & Effort Score
The problem is, though, Seventh Son was never intended to be a 3D film. It was shot in 2D and then 3D was added in post. Filming began all the way back in 2012, but its pre-production was then blighted by a number of set-backs that saw bankrupt visual effects house Rhythm and Hues Studios given $5 million by Legendary Pictures to complete their work on the film. Originally touted with a February 2013 release, this then became January 2014, and then finally February 2015. Unfortunately, all of this indecision and chaos is evident on-screen.
Before the Window Score
Did Seventh Son utilize the element of 3D where bits of the movie appear to be reaching out into the theater? Actually, this was the only real element of 3D that Seventh Son came close to taking advantage of. And they even did this in a mediocre fashion. Various battle scenes are punctuated with falling debris; Tom Ward’s (Ben Barnes) visions see Julianne Moore’s Mother Malkin protrude through the screen nicely, while a surprising appearance of a ghoul during a jaunt through a forest was slightly jolting. But it all felt rather superfluous (especially when its main use was to show rain-falling) and it never came close to enhancing the viewing experience. Instead, Seventh Son remained painfully flat, and the only plus point of its 3D use was that it occasionally reminded viewers that they were watching a 3D film.
Beyond the Window Score
Alternately, this element of 3D makes the film world seem to stretch deep beyond the theater's screen. Seventh Son never truly took advantage of this 3D trait, even though there was actually ample room to do so. Yes, there are moments where it tries to add depth to the screen. It delves deeper into the witches’ home adequately, Malkin’s spiraling emergence from her tomb is entrancing, while it does help to further establish several rooms inside John Gregory and Mother Malkin’s abodes too. But that’s it. It’s never used to show off the true beauty of the mountains and forests that make up Seventh Son’s setting, or during a fight scene on a river that culminates in Tom Ward and a beast falling down a waterfall. The latter oversight strikes me as a particular waste.
3D glasses guarantee the intended picture will be tainted with a tint of grey. So, it's up to distributors to be sure the color correct for 3D releases compensates accordingly. Seventh Son never feels void of color, but as I mentioned before it is set in a world of luscious landscapes where the greens of the trees should hypnotize and the grains of sand should singe our retinas. In the end, like the rest of the film, Seventh Son’s palette is just mundane.
Glasses Off Score
This is a very simple way to see how much 3D you're getting on screen. Take the glasses off, look at the blur, and you’ll see how many different levels were used to create the 3D effect. Taking your glasses off in Seventh Son is encouraged just to save yourself from the dross on-screen. During the sequences when it was actually used, there were numerous layers of noticeable 3D present and a good amount of blur. However when I put them back on I found that it took a good while for the 3D to settle back into place. This might have just been my bad luck. But I’d prefer to blame the film.
Audience Health Score
As we all know, watching a 3D film can be slightly nauseating time. So it’s with great enthusiasm that I reveal this is Seventh Son’s only redeeming feature! Huzzah! But should I really be praising a film because it didn’t make me feel violently ill while watching it? Screw it; I’m going to anyway, just because it’s the only praise that I can give this lifeless attempt at cinematic spectacle. That being said, it only excelled in this area because it hardly used the 3D technology that it had at its disposal. Which, in the end, just underlines how haphazard Seventh Son is.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: In the end, Seventh Son actually scores a rather adequate, maybe even above average score, on our scale. But don’t let this tally deceive you. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, Seventh Son’s 3D failed to excel and its deployment was tepid to say the least. This was down to poor-planning, diabolical execution and just all round bad-luck too.
If you are going to see Seventh Son, a decision I strongly recommend you reconsider, I’d save the extra few bucks for a coffee, Snickers or a flower for your date. Heck, I’d even give it to a verbally abusive hobo instead.
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