January 24, 2011

Season of the Witch (2011)

"This movie is a perfect example of why studios dump certain movies in the theatrical wasteland that is the month of January..."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479997/
Sub-Genre- Supernatural/Witchcraft
Cast Members of Note- Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Graham, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee!

*Warning: Religious jokes ahead (because Religion is usually pretty 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.

Praise him indeed, Homer. Praise him indeed.
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 known, about 52 times, that he will do it, only so that the Witch girl can receive a "fair trial." He is so pious.

In search of the ever-elusive "fair trial."
So Behmen, Al Capone and a priest named Ballsack ride around in 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.

"Are you familiar with the book of Enoch?"
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, and over again? Will January ever be a month in which we can expect decent, let alone good movies, to be released in Theaters? Yes, no and probably not. There's always February though...

She's even cute when she's all dirty and creepy.
If this movie were an episode of some syndicated fantasy show on the CW or Spike TV, it wouldn't have been so bad. It didn't make for a strong movie, but it 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 an evil Witch, this could have been fun. But once the dreaded and obligatory "Twist" arrives, there's no more fun to be found in this 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 gets so lost in direction, and becomes so dull and pointless, that there's nothing to really care about. 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 he has to work with 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, level of shit be damned. 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 truly happy.

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 to begin with, but to have it look and act so cheesy just felt wrong. 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.

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 evil's 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.

"Just keep staring at the screen and pretend you're not on a sound stage... Aaaaaand action!"
There's violence to be had here, but nothing all that good or graphic.

No.

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.

It's not hard to see why this movie was pushed back from a summer 2010 release date, all the way to 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.

D+

Aw, she's a cute bitch Witch.

9 comments :

  1. It's Xena! You know nothing, Jon Snow :) I really wonder what happened to Nicholas Cage. I used to think of him as a pretty decent actor. Then he started playing in all these SyFyish movies. What is going on?

    Oh, as an afterthought, the dark blue of the male actor names is hardly visible on the dark background of the blog. May I suggest using CSS classes instead of inline colors and then tweaking them to perfection?

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  2. Yeah Siderite, I'm going to have to look into some color options, just need to tweak like you said.

    Nic Cage is good, but I think maybe he just sees something in these projects he picks... that I usually don't.

    D indeed, Wonder Man.

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  3. Ok, I am coming back on this because I've actually seen the movie. And guess what? I liked it!

    I agree with you that is pretty all over the map, but it worked ok. The start and end scenes were really bad. It's like they actualy tried to make people retain a bad memory of it.

    I think if it weren't for the start scene and the obvious super powers of the girl, the movie would have gone smoother, making us wonder if she really was a witch. The ending was ok, although, if you can fly, why use the wagon? Maybe because idle hands are the devil's tools? :)

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  4. I respect that Costin, and I get what you're saying. It's jsut that for us here at THC, it's hard to swallow the movies that were obviously half-assed, pushed back, re-worked, and given up on by the ones financing them.

    This movie should have been WAY better.

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  5. Went to go watch this when it first came out, knew it was going to be bad. But definitely worthy of CW fantasy show.

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  6. ExtremeSFX, that's a perfect point. This could be a perfect syndication show...

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  7. My dad was actually in this movie.��

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  8. That's awesome, Brandon. We didn't like the movie all that much, but it must have been fun to work on that set.

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