Season of the Witch

1 Feb

Title: Season of the Witch
Dominic Sena
Bragi F. Schut
Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore, Christopher Lee
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, thematic elements, violence and disturbing content
95 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:


Oh, Nicolas Cage. Here’s an actor that truly polarizes his audience, some love his stuff, some hate him, and most of the ones who really don’t care seem to think of him as an actor who was once pretty damn good, but that now has resorted to really weird projects to make a buck or two. And while that analysis is partly accurate, I still think Nicolas Cage is kind of awesome. That’s because he’s a guy who can still act up a storm, because when he’s loud and loose he can be extremely good, and, at the very least, make one of his bad project choices at least seem funny, even if it’s in a bad way.

You look at some of the projects that guy has done in the past decade and you’ll see some pretty nifty stuff. Adaptation. obviously landed him an Oscar nomination and was amazing on all regards. But there’s also Matchstick Men, which I absolutely loved. Lord of War, which I thought was quite cool. 2009’s The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans which was seriously amazing and had Mr. Cage giving an absolutely remarkable performance, which showed just how amazing he can be when the director just lets him go. And, of course, last year’s Kick-Ass, in which Mr. Cage was cool as hell as Big Daddy.

Yes, there have been quite a lot of duds in between those amazing films I just named, but what I mean to say is that the guy is still amazing when he wants to be, and when others let him. Now, Season of the Witch, his latest, I knew would never be great, but a big part of me was hoping that at least Mr. Cage would have been allowed to let loose and be all loud and fun and at least make this film fall into the so-bad-it’s-good territory. But alas, that wasn’t the case, this one just plain sucked. But fret not, Mr. Cage still has Drive Angry 3D coming out next month, and that one really does seem guaranteed to fall into the so-bad-it’s-amazingly-awesome category.

But here we have to talk about Season of the Witch, a film that feels slow and boring and that is so bad it’s not even good to get a few laughs out of how bad it is. I actually won’t fail this film, because I only fail those films which come dangerously close to causing me physical discomfort when watching them, this one sucked big time, but it didn’t approach those parameters, maybe it was because I’m still a big fan of Mr. Cage, not to mention that his co-star here is Ron Perlman, of whom I’m also a huge fan of, or maybe it was just because this one at least didn’t drag itself for that long.

There are many reasons not to love this film, as I said, it feels horribly slow and boring, not to mention that the special effects look horribly cheap. Another thing one can find fault with is the fact that this is a film set in the 14th century but that’s filled with 21st century words, even our curse words, and, I mean, if you were gonna go and make the language contemporary then you would have probably been excused if you had done so to make the dialogue clever and good, but the stuff on display here is just horrible, and at least it could have been funny if it were done in medieval language.

Let me quickly run through the plot, as dumb as it may be. There’s a lot of crusades and the battles that come with them and over a decade of them go by until we get to the point when our two main crusaders, those played by Mr. Cage and Mr. Perlman, decide to go back to a town where a girl who’s supposedly a witch has set a curse, they will then have to take her to some monastery to have some monks deal with her.

So yeah, if you read the plot summary beforehand then you’ll know what to expect, not to mention that it’s a medieval action film with a contemporary lexicon being released in January, the traditional cemetery of films, after having its release date delayed from March 2010 to this month. If you leave this film feeling disappointed then it’s all on you, because the signs were there, bright and clear for you to know this really was never going to be good. This is also, by the way, a sort of remake of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, so yeah, that only adds insult to injury.

And even though we all knew the film was going to be bad, it really sucked to see that not even Mr. Cage was going to be good here. I mean, even in the most horrible of his films the way he chews up the scenery with his over-the-top performances always make for some really fun, if not downright good, viewing. And yet here he’s restrained, maybe it’s because even he, the guy who seems unable to turn down a script, knew it was bad. Maybe it was because the script was full of lines that would make anyone look really bad. I don’t know, he just seemed at a loss here. Season of the Witch was obviously meant to be much more of a spectacle, the $40 million budget it had surely was nowhere as big as the filmmaker wanted, but still, this is just plain bad, no matter the budget or lexicon.

Grade: C-


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