Yay! A subliminal Christian movie with Nicolas Cage and Hellboy..... how bad can it be?
What a way to kick off 2011. With shittyness. Tolerable, slightly enjoyable shittyness but shittyness nonetheless. I'm really torn up about Season of the Witch because there were things in here that I did like but there's also stuff in here that are just so dumb I can't wrap my head around it. So here we go. The first official 2011 movie review.
Season of the Witch is about Behmen played by Nicolas Cage and his friend Felson played by Ron Perlman who are these Christian knights who pillage and kill and destroy so called "enemies of God" under Jesus' name. Then they realize they're doing bad stuff and they desert the army and become outlaws and get captured and strikes a deal with the king to bring this girl who is suspected of being a witch who has brought the Black Plague across the country to stand trial.
I'm gonna list the bad things about this movie first. This film really had no idea what it wanted to be. If there was any project that really needed Sam Raimi to be the director, it's this movie. Season of the Witch would have worked so well if the filmmakers decided right off the bat that the material their working with is crap and that their just gonna turn it into a B grade movie that's for fun. A few scenes in the movie was like that, particularly with Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman; and that's when I enjoyed it the most. But then the movie get's all dark and mysterious until it drags and bores me and then it goes back to being dumb and cool. So it's really messy and choppy here and there.
But still everything about this movie was still somewhat okay until it got to the last 15 minutes of the film. Now I'm not gonna spoil it for anyone, but the climax and big reveal of this movie really made me start thinking that the whole build up and plot development I had seen before it were completely and utterly redundant. Matter of fact, the movie shouldn't even be called Season of the Witch anymore if the end of the movie turned out to be THAT. It's like suddenly switching from the witch scene from Monty Phyton to some episode of Charmed.
Now what is good in here is the pairing of Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. These guys work great together, they play off each other so well and in a humorous way that really juxtaposes everything else in the movie. We start the whole movie with these two guys literally discussing who's going to buy drinks tonight while they are cutting down enemy soldiers like they were nothing. It would have been even better if Nicolas Cage started playing Angry Birds on his iPhone while killing people.
Season of the Witch worked best when they weren't trying to take themselves seriously. How can they? The entire premise of this movie is outlandish, they don;t have the big budget for an all-out epic medieval spectacle and their two leads are American accented jokers. And I actually appreciated when they were just having fun with the movie, that's when the film was actually interesting to watch for me.
But then they go into this other subplot which is a whole lot more serious and darker which was also good but clashed with the light tone of the two main characters and becomes redundant towards the end. I'm talking about the whole plotline of the group of escorts debating if the hot chick in the cage is really a witch or not. I liked this storyline, I really did. There will be moments when we make a real connection with the girl, we sympathize with her, identify her as a real person.. but then she will go and do something creepy and keeps us guessing what she really is. That's nice, well constructed and well drawn out. But then we get to the end and we find out all that drama was completely useless. Not to mention it displaced all the Cage/Perlman humor they build up to.
So it's a bag of mixed feeling with this movie. At one point, the movie is shitty but becomes so entertaining when they ham the lunacy up. And at another point, we have a dark mystery plot that is genuinely engaging but clashes with the earlier point. But both of them pretty much gets fucked once the whole movie is over and the audience is left sitting in their chairs feeling cheated and thinking, "So what the fuck is this movie supposed to be about?"
I reckon the screenwriter ran out of ideas, or was just too lazy to come up with an original ending so he opted to go with that climactic battle scene. Oh and may I just say; the special effects and CGI of that thing was absolutely horrendous.
So I wouldn't really recommend you to watch Season of the Witch in cinemas. it's not that good of a movie anyway. I think it'll work better for you if you came across it playing on HBO or something. Doesn't add anything to your life.