SEASON OF THE WITCH
Cast Members of Note- Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Graham, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee!
What's it About?- *Warning- religious joking ahead (because they're funny)* Behmen and Felsen are fierce warriors of the crusades, carving their way through the innocent and guilty alike in the name of Jebus. when they decide that killing women and kids is just too much, they renounce their quest for Jebus, and run away. I think it's all a cop out, because if you can't slaughter innocents and non believers (or touch young boys in the pants) in the name of God, who can you slaughter? Or touch. The Catholics have been doing it forever, and they grew into pretty much the biggest company of all time.
After a lame sword fight that really doesn't prove them to be fierce warriors at all, Behmen and Felsen are captured and forced to tend the weeping wounds of a plague stricken king. The two are then forced to choose between escorting an imprisoned witch to her "fair trial" or say 42,000 Hail Marys as penance for their cowardly desertion. Behmen then lets it be know, about 52 times, that he will do it, only so that the witch girl can receive a "fair trial." He is so pious.
Together with Al Capone and a priest named Ballsack, they ride around through the forest, cross a bridge, talk, fight some wolves, ride around in the forest, fight amongst each other, talk, build a leaf fort, brood, snap off some witty one liners, play tag/hide and seek with the witch, and ride around in the forest. It's all very compelling stuff. There's also something about a book. And then everything turns into The Exorcist. Kinda.
Will Behmen and Ballsack ever figure out the mystery of the witch? Will she receive the fair trial that she's been promised over, and over, and over again? Will January ever be a month that we can expect decent, let alone good movies, to be released in theaters? Yes, no and probably not. There's always February though...
The Good- If this movie were an episode of some syndicated fantasy show on the CW or Spike, it wouldn't have been so bad. It didn't make a strong movie, but works perfectly well for the Zena or Legend of the Seeker fans of the world I'm sure. I don't like those types of shows, but hey, they serve a purpose, and obviously plenty of folks love them.
Had they stuck by the original premise of the movie, you know, which involves a witch, this could have been fun. But once the dreaded and obligatory "Twist" arrives, there's no more fun in the movie. It had it's fun moments, but those were interspersed with slow, non exciting moments that either induced laughter or a roll of the eyes. Or a quick nap.
It just get's so lost in direction, and becomes so dull and pointless, that there's nothing to really care about for we the audience. I'd like to know how this movie ended up such a mess since they re-shot and re-tooled it and worked on it for so long...
Ron Perlman, who is pretty much the b-movie version of Michael Caine, is always fun to watch, even when the material is sub par. Same goes for Nicolas Cage; he's in his share of shitty movies, but they guy has a likable quality that usually sucks us in. They both deserve better material to work with that they had here though. We hope to hear more from Claire Foy as well, as she's a cutie who pulled her weight in this one, though the weight they gave her wasn't much to write home about.
And it's always great to see Christopher Lee still going at age 89. That makes us happy.
The Bad- The CGI was pretty shabby in this one. The green screen battle scenes were bad enough, but the way they went with the demon... that just ruined it all for me. It's bad enough that the story became about a demon, but to have it look and act so... cheesy... just felt like a big cop out. If you're expecting something akin to the look and feel of lets say an Army of Darkness (sans humor, of course), you're not going to get that here. Not even close.
The Downright Horrendous- What kind of movie was this supposed to be? For a minute, it was a medieval battle movie (though a poorly rendered one at that), then it became a movie about the evils of the church and religion. It was a movie about a battle hardened warrior who finally decides he has morals and refuses to kill unjustly, and then it became a movie about "Let's kill that bitch!" It jumped around so much and left so little impression on any of the themes it was trying to maintain, that in the end it really felt like it was about time to leave the theater. See what I did there? I'm clever.
The Gory- There's violence to be had here, but nothing all that good or graphic.
The Naked- No.
Best Line- Anything Ron Perlman said, because he's always just cool or anything Nic Cage said, because he's funny to watch when trying to play it straight while being way too melodramatic.
What did we learn?- January is Hollywood's dumping ground/graveyard for mediocre, embarrassing films that they have absolutely no faith in. In most cases, they're right to think that way. Also, if you aren't familiar with The Book of Enoch, then you need to check out Fulci's The Gates of Hell. It's good stuff.
The Master Says- D+ It's not hard to see why this movie was pushed back from a summer 2010 release date, to this January: it's a shoddy little mess of a flick that doesn't look or feel truly complete or coherent. We didn't hate it, though it feels like we should, but it certainly isn't a very good start to a new horror year. We love Nic Cage, love Ron Perlman, and we love good stories about witches, but this movie is really, really hard to love. Or even like. See it at your own risk if you like it cheesy and aren't much on quality.
Final Thoughts- Aw, she's a cute witch.