By Micheleen Martin | Posted
He won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for mad heart, and he has been nominated seven times; most recently for Best Supporting Actor for Absolutely Flawless Modern Western Against all odds. Jeff Bridges has one of those names that seems to go hand in hand with “critically acclaimed,” but only because our collective memory is relatively short. For example, he ended the 2000s with great movies like mad heart and the The real courage remake, and by the mid-2010s he was landing more big roles like his role in Against all odds. But in between there was a series of critical bombs like the blatant men in black flight RIPDthe dystopian drama The donorand the fantasy adventure movie currently streaming on Netflix: 2014 seventh son.
Loosely based on the 2004 novel The Last Apprentice: The Witch’s Revenge by English author Joseph Delaney, seventh son was directed by Russian director Sergei Bodrov (prisoner of the mountains) from a story by Charles Leavitt (blood diamond), Steven Knight (Locke) and Matt Greenberg (Pet sematary). Jeff Bridges plays ruthless master witch hunter Gregory, who looks like what would happen if The real courage‘s Rooster Cogburn had a child with Gandalf. When he learns that a powerful witch he imprisoned years before has managed to break free and regain power, Gregory recruits clairvoyant Tom (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son, as his new apprentice to help her track down the witch and finish her off. Hardened by years of violence, betrayal and loss, Gregory is convinced he must purge his new apprentice of all the pity he feels for their targets, but Tom has none of it. Indeed when he falls in love with Alice (Alicia Vikander), who turns out to be the daughter of one of their targets, Tom keeps his secret.
We eventually learn that Tom has more in common with Gregory than he realizes. Their prey, the murderous Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), was the love of Gregory’s life, which is why he chose to imprison her rather than kill her when he learned of her true nature. It was this betrayal that taught Jeff Bridges’ character to show no kindness to his enemies, no matter the situation. Before the end of seventh sonTom’s compassion and Gregory’s ruthlessness create almost too many complications for them to survive.
For anyone even considering the idea of joining the filmmaking business, seventh son teaches a desperately important lesson – if you think an incredible cast and a six-figure budget are all you need for success, you haven’t finished thinking and you need to try harder. The cast of seventh son reads like a table or two at the Oscars. With Jeff Bridges, there is Ben Barnes (The Punisher) as Tom, Julianne Moore (boogie nights) as the evil Malkin, Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina) as Tom Alice’s lover, Antje Traue (Steel man) as Malkin’s ally, Bony Lizzie, Olivia Williams (Rushmore) as the mother of Tom, Mam Ward, Kit Harrington (game of thrones) as Gregory William’s first apprentice, Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator) as a servant of Malkin Radu, and Jason Scott Lee (Mulane) as the werebear Urag. The film enjoyed a budget of nearly $100 million. Despite all the star power, money, and a market hungry for genre goods for years, seventh son turned out to be a critical and commercial disaster.
seventh son didn’t even recoup a fifth of its budget until it went overseas, bringing in $17.2 million domestically. Its worldwide gross landed at $114.2 million, which – considering all the costs beyond the production budget, like the marketing budget to name one – wasn’t enough for a profit. The fantasy film ended up being one of the most critically hated films of Jeff Bridges’ entire career, with its Rotten Tomatoes score landing at a horrid 12% (and the audiences score not much better at 34%). In fact, the Tomatometer’s score puts it on par with RIPD for Bridges’ second lowest-rated film on the site. Not counting movies that don’t have enough reviews to aggregate a score, the only lowest-rated Bridges film is the 1986 crime drama 8 million ways to die, with an almost dark and impressive 0%. But if you want to throw caution to the wind and check, seventh son is currently streaming on Netflix.