|Nicolas Cage, realizing which movie he's in.|
There's a lot to be said about Season of the Witch. Whether or not any of it is good... you'll have to decide that for yourself. After nearly 90 minutes of American actors doing impressions of British actors doing American accents (think... Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), my decision was pretty much made for me as to what I could say.
This is, by no means, a good film. Not by any means at all. Don't be discouraged, though - I had a blast. Just as I'm sure the actors did. Watching Cage and his right hand man Ron Perlman (who is always an absolute pleasure to watch, regardless of the film) run around avoid the plague, theorize on life, and ... not get the plague, it's almost comforting to know that at least they know the movie isn't good. I like to think that no one involved in the acting department considered this film to be high art.
Our basic story, and I stretch the word story to make it fit, is this - two knights find there conscience during the crusade, after one of them accidentally kills a woman. They desert their army and hide in a small village riddled with the Black Plague during their travels, only to be recognized and prompted with an ultimatum - either transfer a witch to what's to be her final resting place, or stay in the dungeon and rot. After a small amount of coaxing, they oblige.
On the technical side of things, though... the same can't be said. It is, believe me, a messy film. Let me stress that word - messy. Decidedly average is a good way of describing the direction. It's about three cuts below standard, and in terms of the aforementioned "high art", this makes The Wicker Man look like... *sigh* The Wicker Man.
Choppy editing, slow screenplay (which strikes me as ironic considering how much action there is in the film), and one of the more disruptive musical scores I've run across in a year or two. The cinematography has its moments; I'll give the film that. Director Dominic Sena certainly has a vision - it's just a poor one. And, it comes complete with its own drinking game: every time Nicolas Cage appears desperate for work, take a shot.
I had to keep convincing myself that the comedy was in fact intentional - I'm fairly certain that the language used in the film keeps it from being grounded to any level of realism. Dialog like "I just saved your ass" or when Nicolas Cage looks at the camera, sighs, and simply says "... shit" (maybe reminiscing on his career). That can't have been serious, right?
right? please? someone tell me I'm right?
For what it's worth, though - Season of the Witch offers two things, and those two things only. A highly enjoyable camp experience, and escape from the world outside. Which, in all fairness, is what a movie should offer. Escapism is the reason we watch movies in the first place. People will say that film is the "emotion delivery business", but at the very least, all I want from a film is the chance to get away and go somewhere new. Season of the Witch certainly gave me that, and... with guys like Nic Cage and Ron Perlman there? I'd be more than happy to spend another 90 minutes visiting.
****/**** for its camp value, **/**** for everything else.
I'm offering another article on this later, after a rewatch, just to make sure my feelings on it are set in stone. So, be on the lookout for that!