Apparently Nicolas Cage is in the middle of a little financial crisis. Apparently he’s having to sell his stuff, pawning his life like some chav who’s been found by the CSA. That’s probably why every time I turn around this year (or should I say last year), the guy’s in a film. Oh, and he doesn’t care about which film he’s in. Just as long as they give him oatmeal before shooting and let him sleep in the truck with the cameras. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
What happened to the days of Face-Off, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Con-Air? Don’t get me wrong, he was in Kick-Ass recently, doing a brilliant Adam West impression. He was also the best thing about The Sorceror’s Apprentice. But in the past two years he’s also been in Bangkok Dangerous, Bad Lieutenant (which was ok despite all the iguana close ups), Knowing, Astro Boy. He was a guinea pig in G-force. And sometimes your past highs just don’t outweigh your more recent failures.
So what about Season of the Witch? Can it tip the balance for Nick and put him back on that former pedestal?
Probably not, no.
“Urm, Nick, the pointy end goes the other way…”
Mr Cage stars alongside Ron Perlman (Yes, Hellboy) as a knight who becomes jaded by his service to the church who seems to not mind killing innocent people too much. Or something. So he buggers off with Ron on a jolly old montage that means they’ve travelled far and wide. Looking extremely well-fed, ‘the starving’ knights find a town and go in for a brew. But the Plague has hit the town, brought on by the curse of a young witch. If the boys in shining armour want to help (and get themselves out of jail) they have to take her to a monastery six days travel away, because apparently it isn’t easier for a monk to come to them.
Mayhem of an utterly controlled nature ensues.
Unfortunately there isn’t much debate as to whether the witch is a witch or not, so I won’t bother ruining it for you. Although the rather attractive young witch (Claire Foy) manages to act malevolent enough to amuse, the appearance of her super-strength in the first fifteen minutes kind of kills any debate as to her innocence thereafter. Although the plot tries to work in a few red herrings, you’re blindingly aware that someone has dipped a goldfish in ketchup and handed it to you. So that bit’s a tad pointless. Miss Foy does her best with a bad situation though, bless her.
“It’s the ti-iime, of the season…bow-bow-bow…”
People die, and you don’t really care about them, so I won’t bore you with dissections here. Some people live, though, and the monastery is soon in sight. Among these are Nicolas Cage with hair that manages to characterise his roles more than he does lately. Ron Perlman also makes it, despite the fact that the drag factor from his nostrils should have meant he was caught by wolves early on. The witch gets there in the end, seeming generally alright about the whole execution thing. And there’s a young boy who’s character I forgot about until the last ten minutes when he comes back having apparently been there the whole time.
So there’s an ending, which I won’t spoil for you if you feel compelled to watch it. And it’s actually alright, if not a little predictable. Perlman and Cage’s relationship doesn’t seem forced, and there are some funny bits in there, so that’s a bonus. The special effects throughout are pretty good with plague victims looking appropriately off-colour and everything looks grubby and smelly enough. The end is no exception with nothing CGI being offensive to the eye in the slightest. In fact, the witch’s transformation (and that’s all I’ll say on the matter) is good, although lacking in true scare factor.
It’s not a bad way to spend an hour and half. It’s colourful enough, brainless enough and gory enough that your boat will probably float. It will not, however, be stealing any Oscars from The King’s Speech.
“As bad as the Witch; as good as Cage’s hair.”