Every year when the winter rolls around, my family branches out and adds Sky Movies to our TV package. Guess what that means? More movie reviews! (Hopefully that’s a good thing?) One of the premier films this week is Season of the Witch, therefore this will be the film I’m reviewing for you lovely people. 🙂
This film is set in the 14th century. It starts off by following two soldiers fighting in the crusades in ‘the name of God’. However during one of the battles Behmen (Nicholas Cage) accidentally kills an innocent woman and sees many other innocent people massacred. This makes him and his fellow soldier Felson (Ron Perlmen) think that the battles there engaging in are wrong, and that surely God can’t want the slaughter of so many people. On realizing this, they desert the army and return to Germany. However when they reach their destination they are given the task of transporting a girl who has been declared a witch, and is being blamed for causing the plague spreading across the land.
They are ordered to transport her to a monastery where they will be able to tell if she is truly a witch or not. The rest of the film consists of the difficulties they encounter during their journey, and trying to discover what the girl really is.
Well lets start off with the positives. This is actually quite difficult, because I can’t really think of many. It has Nicholas Cage in it, that’s a good thing right? He’s a great actor, he’s the equivalent to royalty in the film industry in my opinion.
There was a vaguely cute-ish character in it with curly hair and a pathetic excuse of a moustache.
There were some cool special effects, which include some CGI wolves and people being burnt alive.
Ummm……I’m all out I’m afraid….It’s not that it was a TERRIBLE film, there just wasn’t really anything that great about it either.
So on with the negatives. The cinematography was average and consisted of very obvious close-ups that were intended to be dramatic but just fell flat, the way the battle scenes were cut was slow resulting in the fights being below average, and the director seemed to think that some circular panning shots were enough to make a scene creepy. In fact, I think most of my criticisms of this film stem from my dislike of the cinematography.
The biggest issue I had with this film which may sound strange, is that while I was watching it I FELT like the actors were playing a role, rather than believing the characters were real, and I’m pretty sure this was because of the cinematography because I know from previous experience, that Nicholas Cage is an excellent actor. The film is supposed to be set back in the 14th century, which tends to suggest it should have a gritty lighting like in The Kingdom of Heaven, Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood and yet instead it had a glossy clean Disney/family feel to it like that of The Chronicles of Narnia or Inkheart, and the two just don’t mesh.
Another problem I had with this film is that there wasn’t really anything that made me get behind the characters and want them to succeed. There’s their need for redemption but that’s about it, and I’m afraid for me, that just wasn’t a great enough pull.
The plot also seemed incredibly slow, and dragged out unnecessarily. I would say two-thirds of the film consisted of their struggle to reach the monastery, and it was just boring, there’s really no other way to put it. The group encounter various obstacles along the way, but it’s nothing new or original, and it slips back into old stereotypes of having to cross rickety bridges like in Indian Jones and fighting off wolves like in Beauty and the Beast, and it just felt outdated.
I wanted to like this film, I really did. But there was just something missing, and one thing continued to elude me throughout the entire film. Who the heck was supposed to be it’s demographic? Everything about this film seems to completely contradict itself. The trailer presents it as a horror/fantasy packed full of fast paced suspense, gore, and supernatural power – suggesting an adult/late teen audience. Yet in reality it was slow-paced, with an action adventure feel, with the occasional blood splatter and a basic use of the occult – an audience of 10 – 13 year olds. The only conclusion I can gather from this, is that the director himself lacked the knowledge of it’s target audience. If I had to take a guess I would say it was aimed at 11-13 year old boys, but I’m not even sure they would be that bothered by it.
Either way, this film is nothing new, it’s packed full of average cliché’s, pitiful action scenes, boring dialogue and one-dimensional characters.
CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery): 2/5