Movie News

Quint was rooting for Season of the Witch, but walked out disappointed

Published at: Jan. 7, 2011, 11:54 a.m. CST

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with some thoughts on Season of the Witch. I have been greatly looking forward to this movie for a long time. I mean, it’s Nic Cage and Ron Perlman, two of my favorite batshit crazy great actors, as disgraced Crusade Knights escorting a possible witch through plague-infested medieval countryside… How could anybody NOT be looking forward to this?

So it is with some sadness that I tell you the film doesn’t live up to its premise and cast. It still has many moments, but most of those moments fall under the umbrella of unintentional humor. Like seeing Nic Cage’s character Behmen gain 40 pounds in one scene that was obviously reshot a year after the original. Or the laughably bad CG work towards the end. Or the clunky merging of six actors on a sand hill with a big, LOTR style CG army behind them.

But the real heartbreak can be blamed completely on the script and direction. Nic Cage and Ron Perlman bring everything they can to their roles and keep the film above the shit waterline. Young Claire Foy, playing the captive girl that might or might not be a witch is also surprisingly strong even if her casting is completely wrong since they fuck up her character so badly at the script stage.

I am going to go into some spoilers here, especially in regards to Foy’s character, so you’ve been warned. I’d avoid it if I could, but what they do to her character is the reason why this movie ultimately fails.

So, they spend so much time trying to make it ambiguous if “The Girl” is really an evil, deceiving witch or an innocent young girl being cruelly accused of being responsible for the horrible black plague sweeping the land. Here’s an idea: if you’re wanting to keep the audience in the dark, don’t have the girl do witchy things like have the strength of 10 men and make people see visions of their long dead daughters. Or, like you see in the trailer, make Nic Cage’s torch go out and come back while asking him if he thinks you’re a witch or not.

Here’s the trouble. There are two good movies here, but it feels like the screenwriters got to that particular Y in their storytelling and couldn’t decide which way to go. One way is essentially Wages of Fear/Sorcerer, with the priests and Crusade Knights transporting a dangerous element (instead of Nitroglycerin, a pissed off witch) across hostile territory in order to reach a place where it can be safely disposed. Hell, there’s even a “tense” bridge sequence.

The other way is the way they seemed to want to go: is she a witch or isn’t she? Is she manipulating their kindness or a genuine innocent?

So instead of two equally interesting approaches to this story we get elements of both that dilute the whole. On top of that the twist of the movie (hint: the title is deceiving) is ham-handed and makes little sense if you think about it for more than 4 seconds.

So you have a story trying to pull into two different directions and a director who doesn’t find one little bit of visual charm to help ease us over the rocky script. Dominic Sena won’t ever be confused for a great director, but at least Swordfish, Gone in Sixty Seconds and Kalifornia all had a little bit of style and some energy. Season of the Witch is competent at best, but so devoid of any real forward drive that it’s never as exciting as it wants to be.

Sure, the CG is late ‘90s level stuff, but if this was a true fun B movie I could have overlooked that in place of crazy fun time. I wouldn’t be able to say the same if it was going for a more serious tone, but at least then I would have something else to grab on to instead of just sitting back counting the minutes to the crappy American Werewolf in Paris-ish CGI kicks in. “Nope, not yet… not yet… Oh, there it is.”

What I will give it is a great opening scene that features a priest hanging three women accused of witchcraft. This is the only scene in the movie that feels like there’s some tension and atmosphere all while setting up the rules of this world, showing that the supernatural is part of this reality.

On top of that, Cage tries (although his tortured knight performance is more suited for the serious take on the story that the rest of the creative minds on the project decided not to pursue) and Perlman brings just enough lighthearted energy to keep it from dragging. The Girl, Foy, is adorable and can deliver some lines that would be eye-rollers coming from a lesser actress. And they got Christopher Lee in the movie! Sure, they hide him under some (admittedly) disturbing make-up, but it’s always great to see Lee on the screen.

I didn’t hate this movie, but found it sadly disappointing. It’s not offensively bad, but damn does it strive for mediocrity. And I’m kind of the target audience for this movie, the guy that was pulling for it to rock my world.

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Season of the beeyatch.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, noon CST

    How much screen time does Lee get?

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Golden Compass time, or LOTR time?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Sorcerer

    by Sirmausalot

    Is it sacrilege to say I prefer Sorcerer (one of the worst titles ever) to Wages of Fear? Quint, how about you post a Sorcerer trailer or some such to get people to see this amazing lost under appreciated work. Or maybe someone can dig up a behind the scenes picture.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Damn...

    by j-bot

    I was really pulling for it as well.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    i see the word spoiler

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    and expect to find why there is a Golden Child devil/demon in the commercial (which shouldve been in the comms)... so, is she a demon?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Nic Cage: An American Mediocrity

    by LargoJr

    Seriously, when I look at this guys career, I see where he started with really REALLY good film roles, some even fantastic! But as his paychecks got bigger, the effort just seemed to sort of peter out and disappear. I haven't seen Cage do anything worth seeing or even remembering in literally a decade. Absolutely nothing comes to mind. I think he started imploding when he ditched his long-time wife for Elvis's little monster spawn... AFTER she had already proven herself to be damaged goods by swapping spit on stage with Michael 'New Nose' Jackson. Some train-wrecks are worth watching... while others scream for an intervention.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:17 p.m. CST

    NOT THE BEES!!!

    by Axl Z

    my eyes!! as long as Cage is wearing a wig you know that it'll be a craptastic film.. can't wait to see this and GR2!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Nobody portrays burning death as real as cage.

    by UltraTron

    And the best thing about Christianity has always been the witch burnings. Nothing says god like burning innocent people and saying they are supernatural demon super-beings with all the powers of the hellworld

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Again, we are surprised?

    by WriteForTheEdit

    Lame, hopelessly derivative-looking trailer; January release; bogus title...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST

    "Nobody portrays burning death as real as cage"

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    that scene was so tragic but hilarious at the same time... probably the thing I will forever remember about KickAss... speakin of KickAss, did anyone hear about the "heroes" in Seattle? Phoenix Jones bitches!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:46 p.m. CST

    by Chief_Macho

    Season of the Grinch. She tears off her face at the end and it turns out to be that loveable Jim Carrey. Thankfully, it is all saved when Randy Macho Man Savage and Nick Cage (sporting 40 lbs. of pumpkin pie inside his cheeks) hit him with a steel chair. Roll credits.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Poor Nicolas... he really must be in the soup, financially...

    by WriteForTheEdit

    Lame, hopelessly derivative-looking trailer; January release; bogus title (when you have to crib a shitty Halloween sequel's subtitle, you're not trying very hard)... This thing had stink all over it since day one.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Nic "I need a paycheck" Cage

    by MrWug

    He became a red flag casting decision for me a long time ago.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    I'm not sure why you used he spoiler tag

    by Alphanumeric1971

    sine this is again one of those movies that the trailer shows the entire movie, and I agree with you. Even in the trailer the uneveness come through.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Fucking Nic Fucking Cage

    by fitzcarraldo2

    Nic Cage - "batshit crazy great actor". Please tell me that's sarcasm. Please. He is so bad he's just... astonishing.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Cage is an enigma

    by elsewhere

    Sometimes I think he doesn't even bother to read the script.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    This looked like shit from the very first commercial I saw.

    by BilboRing

    Nick Cage is NOT an action guy. I hate him in anything other than comedies. Plus the movie just looked bad no matter who was/is in it. Shit is shit.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:51 p.m. CST

    So...THIS IS NOT COUNTRY STRONG?

    by doom master

    shit, i sure thought it was...it sucked right?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Hey, here's an idea! Let's cross...

    by ObiBen

    ...The Last Detail with The Name of the Rose. next on the list: Care Bear Movie meets Robocop.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Say, when if ever is Solomon Kane coming to the US?

    by vic twenty

    I am tired of waiting. When oh when can I see this damn thing?????

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Season Of The Bitch: The Story Of The Tampax Empire

    by PleaseWipeMyAss

    lul

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Quint Rocks

    by HalJordan2814

    Harry Sucks

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Damn that sucks

    by jimmy_009

    All signs pointed to dud, but the premise is good and sounded like fun. Is it too late/early to remake this, but better?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:25 p.m. CST

    I knew it.

    by UltimaRex

    Nic Cage as a knight from the crusades? C'mon.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    The problem with Cage...

    by UltimaRex

    His crap now outweighs his gold and people remember his crap more because he's just as bugnuts in both.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:38 p.m. CST

    I could smell it on the trailer

    by PorkChopXpress

    When I found myself laughing at the trailer, I knew my cinematic spider sense was tingling...I just had a feeling this flick would disappoint.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:58 p.m. CST

    vic twenty

    by LargoJr

    Don't bother with Solomon Kain.... it was a shit-tastic remake of 'V For Vendetta' I barely made it thru the whole movie, terribly predictable and boring.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:17 p.m. CST

    largojr - that is a shame.

    by vic twenty

    I always loved the REH books. I'd still give it a spin if it ever came available here in the colonies.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:26 p.m. CST

    largojr, wtf??

    by MattmanReturns

    It was nothing like V For Vendetta, what orifice did you pull that out of? Solomon Kane wasn't great, but it was decent for what it was. The cinematography was nice and it had some good action scenes.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 2:50 a.m. CST

    mattmanreturns:

    by LargoJr

    My GF smacked me upside the head the moment he came across the Quakers and I sort of singsonged out loud "Watch and see as he gets them all killed"... but folks started laughing when it actually happened 15 minutes later. That's bad writing, and yet I STILL felt guilty for having said it out loud when it actually happened.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 4:12 a.m. CST

    If it isn't about Silver Shamrock masks

    by INWOsuxRED

    It gets no money from me.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Nothing wrong with this film

    by lprothro

    Just got back from it and it's fine. I'd say if you can enjoy the occasional b fantasy/action flick or have ever taken a shine to any of the 60's/70's Hammer flicks, you'd be cool with this.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 6:37 p.m. CST

    I quite liked it

    by CherryValance

    I was expecting it to be awful from what Capone said, but I didn't really find fault with it. The CGI didn't look bad to me at all. Maybe if I had had certain expectations going in I would feel differently, but I thought it was a solid 7/10. That's what I give all movies that are "good" or a B/B-. I do think it was meant to be longer as they got to their destination way too fast. But what was there was fine. And I definitely think Nic Cage should keep that hair. He looked really good. The only thing I would even attempt to be disappointed about would be that the cast, which includes that guy who looks exactly like Sting from Festen and that BJ kid from the Red Riding Trilogy, weren't in some kind of Oscar bait movie instead of a witch movie. But as far as witch movies go this was fine.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    largojr, did you miss Bad Lieutenant?

    by CherryValance

    That was last year and it was one of Cage's best roles. Adaptation was this decade too.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Not the bees !

    by PTSDPete

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 7:57 a.m. CST

    "How could anybody NOT be looking forward to this?"

    by AsimovLives

    If one has two working braincells, one wouldn't be lookijg foward for this. Because this movie has the stentch of bullshit since it's first anouncement. One doesn't need to be Albert Einstein to figure this out. I'll never understand the geeks attitude toward upcoming movies. It's as if they became deliberatly naive, deliberatly dumb. How the fuck do you do that? Really, how fucking hard it is to read the writing in the wall?

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 8:07 a.m. CST

    You know what's the best thing about this movie?

    by AsimovLives

    To see the lovely Claire Foy on the big screen. For all those who saw the pilot of BEING HUMAN, you know what a pretty young talent lady she is.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Nic Cage made how many good movies last decade?

    by AsimovLives

    Three movies, right? ADAPTATION, MATCHSTICK MEN and BAD LIEUTENENT. That's it. 3 good movies in a whole decade! Considering he makes, like, 3 or 4 movies a year, that's a terrible average! A very terrible average. He's like the actor version of Jerry Bruckheimer, a whole recent career made of suck with the occasional good movie when he got distracted. Nic Cage can do good work. BAD LIEUTENENT is proof of that. But he just doesn't seem to care anymore.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 8:31 a.m. CST

    As for witch burning in the middle ages...

    by AsimovLives

    ... again this is the typical Holywood medieval bullshit. Contrary to popular belief, and contrary to what Hollywood bullshit would want to make you believe, there was very little witch burning in the Middle Ages. The movies mistake the middle Ages with the 17th century, which was the century that saw the most witch burning. The mistakes about the witch burning found in this type of movies: 1- In the middle ages, the Catholic Church ACTIVELY tried to supress the superstitious belief of witches. The Catholic Church considered belief in witches to be superstition, and did it's best to presuate the people to put not much stock in such silly beliefs. And they actually did a good job, because until the late 16th and the 17th century witchhunting was not much of a job. If the Church did persecutions, mostly they were about supressing heretics. The Catholic Church job was to procure and eliminate heresy. Wirchcraft was just a silly superstition the church didn't took too seriously. 2- The rewal persecution of witches happened much later, in the late 16th and in the 17th century. And rarely it was done by the Catholic Church. In fact, it was the protestants which specialized in witch-hunting. And they did it with such zeal that in a single decade in Potestant Germany they burned more witches then the entire number of heretics burned by the Spanish Inquisition in all it's history. Witch-hunting and witch-burning was a protestant sport, not, like the movies wnat us to belief, a Catholic Church sport. The erroneous idea of a blood-seeking Church with demented sexual repressed friars hunting witches is the product of the bullshit perpectuated by the propaganda from the Black Legend. The Black Legend was the result of a very sucessful protestant propaganda campagn, perpectuated mostly in England, to blamish and blacken the image of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Christian religion. It worked so well that even today we see it's results in bullshit movies like this one, with nobody thinking twice about it and accepting all that bullshit unquestionably. Specially in USA and UK. It has to take a huge amount of bullshit to make me, an atheist, to take arms in defense of the Catholic Church. But i despise bullshit more then i despise organized religion.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Americans, specially Hollywood, can't make medieval movies

    by AsimovLives

    Most Holywood movies set in medieval europe end up looking like a pile of bullshit one after the other. And it's getting worst. The last time Holylwood actually made a decent and believable medieval movie made by an american filmmaker, it was in the 60s, it was EL CID. But most often, just don't make a medieval movie directed by an american director. They can't make them. They can't understand the medieval times. Give medieval movies to be made by european directors, including the brits. They know how to portait the medieval times. American directors mostly do the Disney Bullshit version, which is a whole pile of shit. Case in point, FIRST KNIGHT and KING ARTHUR, two of the most retard bulslhit moviews pretending to be medieval movies i ever had the displeasure to watch. You guys know which was the most accurate american medieval movie made by an american in the last 30 years? DRAGONSLAYER. I kid you not. a dragon movie got to be more accurate about the medieval times then all the other Holywood medieval bullshit made later. This is just too mind-blowing! Hollywood and the vast majority of american filmmakers just can't make medieval movies. They all came out wrong. Give those movies to be made by the people which actually had the middle ages in their history.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 9:58 a.m. CST

    largojr

    by AsimovLives

    Nonsense! SOLOMON KANE was cool and loads of fun. I had a good time at the movies with that movie. More then can be said about the shit that gets constantly heralded in here.