January 20, 2011

Season of the Witch

Filed under: My reviews — Hodgepodge @ 6:13 pm

Season-of-the-Witch-PosterNicolas Cage is a controversial actor. Not necessarily because of any “racy” nature that his roles might have, but because of the unpredictability of his acting quality and the ultimate success (or failure) of his movies as of late. And lately it seems, he has gone on a “long-haired-guy-with-life-experience-and-a-good-heart” streak, first with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and now Behmen in Season of the Witch. But enough about Cage!

The movie begins with the execution of three supposed witches in the 11th century. It is a sad time for everyone in the audience as 21st century sensibilities take over. (Witches? What witches?) It seems those bastards chose women who did not conform to society to blame for all their troubles, most of which were probably caused by the rarity of bathing. It is clear that the message now stands to be this: religion is bad, look what they used to do to women!

But then the plot takes a twist and you feel bad that no one listened to the poor priest. So now there is the end of the world to worry about. But a hundred and some years later, all is wonderful and shiny! Cheery pals Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman are on the scene ready to fight for the glory of God! And there is the problem. The movie can never quite figure out what its stance is. Does it like religion or condemn it? Season of the Witch is not a “thinking” movie, it suffices as two or so hours of distraction but does not generate fervent discussion. Despite this, it still feels like it lacks a sense of unity with its theme of choice.

Cage and Perlman do the swinging of shiny swords thing through a montage of graphic novel-esque battles during the Crusades and trade witty banter along the lines of Legolas and Gimli in Lord of the Rings. Although it is nothing original, it is chuckle inducing. As the battle move on, the two become disenchanted with all the violence until one fight where they killed innocent women and children. Indeed, finally discovering that VIOLENCE IS BAD, the two desert and go back to cheery ol’ Europe.

Except Europe is not cheery. After seeing a couple of gross bodies, it is clear that the Black Death is working its way through the continent. When the dream team passes through a town, they are recognized as deserters and are forced by a well disguised plague-ridden Christopher Lee to escort a witch to some remote monastery that has the last known copy of some awesomely religious book that can save them all. A crack team consisting of the two deserters, a knight, a priest, a con artist/woodsman guide escort the witch in a cart/cage to this monastery. But things are not what they seem. You are kept wondering if the girl is really a witch. She looks pitiable on the outside, but then there are these creepy incidents along the way. The movie is a game of “Is she or isn’t she?”. Needless to say, the group slowly starts to crumble along the way.

Look at that pretty face.

The special effects of the film were good. The supernatural creepiness of the film was well crafted and the desert battle scenes had a cool aura of graphic novel epicness (if epicness was not a word, it is now). However these days, good special effects are now pretty much expected in every film. And certainly a Nicolas Cage film.

The storyline of the film while comprised of some predictable moments took an unexpected and unusual turn. Overall, the movie was an enjoyable way to spend two hours. If I was one to use a star system, Season of the Witch gets 6.5 out of 10.

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