D&D by the numbers

Seventh Son2Seventh SonCinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.

Rated 2.0

Seventh Son is based on a young-adult novel that I haven’t read, so it’s unclear whether the soporific dialogue and plotting is due to the source material, but the unimaginative scripting and direction sure as hell don’t keep one from developing a certain fascination with the passage of time.

Seemingly written by a group of teenagers over an evening of Dungeons & Dragons, the dialogue never rises above on-the-nose cliché (“Why did you choose this job?” [beat] “It chose me.”) and half-assed aphorisms (“Most of life’s burdens—with a little help—can become a gift.”), and melees are resolved by nothing more complicated than a roll of the loaded polyhedral dice. The movie is essentially the D&D Monster Manual adapted into a CGI time killer. And man, this one takes its water-boardin’ time.

The eponymous seventh son (of a seventh son) is a medieval farm boy (Ben Barnes) afflicted by visions, which ultimately never serve a function in the narrative. He’s dragooned into an apprenticeship with the witch-huntin’ Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges Yoda-ling as if Frank Oz’s hand is shoved up his ass to the elbow) to help him take down the queen witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore as the odd Goth at a renaissance faire) with whom he has serious long-standing issues. There’s also a bland ingénue witch to fulfill the obligatory romance needs and buckets of pixel dust to distract from the narrative gaps.

It all unfolds in a very rudimentary way that might impress easily amused 13-year-olds, as a dungeon master’s second-string bestiary (ghasts and ogres and dragons, oh my) are trotted out to be dispatched by our intrepid posse. But the rest of us will just be bored to living death waiting for amusement that never comes.