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Friday, February 4, 2011

Season of the Witch - Part II

In my initial review of Season of the Witch, I promised a second part, after going into detail about why it's not so bad, as long as its not taken seriously. Much like Nic Cage's other outings recently (notably, The Wicker Man) the comic gold mined from the project is invaluable. But, here in this, I want to take a closer look at what it is exactly that makes this film something special. Not something good, but... special.

It's the hair. 
More after the cut -- 

For the purpose of summing up the review, Season of the Witch is awful, but it's that watchable kind of awful that makes it okay. The Wicker Man is hilarious, therefore it is watchable. Knowing is horrendous, and I never want to see it again. See the difference?

Any movie that places Nicolas Cage in a bear costume and instructs him to punch old women in the face, I'll go see. Cage seems to be stuck in an endless Frat pledge when it comes to his filmography. Every now and then, he'll put out a piece of fine work (see either The Bad Lieutenant or Kick-Ass for further proof), but other times, it's almost like he takes dares. "Here, put on this toupee and convince everyone that there are aliens chasing us." "Here, put on this toupee stick your head in a beehive." "Here, put on this toupee and burn some witches." There is most definitely a pattern. And Season of the Witch comes at just the right time, hopefully proclaiming that Nicolas Cage takes himself just about as seriously as the rest of us take him. 

As previously stated, Ron Perlman and Cage are having a blast, and Claire Foy genuinely gives an excellent performance. There's usually always one in a terrible film. But, upon revisiting the fantasy/sci-fi/period drama/epic/cacophonous mess of a film, I see allusions to other films that, for one reason or another, I dearly loved when I first saw them. The opening shares tone and movement with Army of Darkness, and the entire film has a ring of Necronomicon: Book of the Dead to it. Similar camera work and directorial choice lead me to believe that this isn't just an opener for the new year that no one knew what to do with. It's almost as if the film were carefully planned out to be exactly what it was - cheesy, messy, crap. And in that area, the film succeeds. Highly. But, at the same time, that doesn't make it a good movie. Yes, we judge a film based on how it delivers its promise. However, if that promise is still crap, the movie can't deliver more than that. It's a bad movie, because it wants to be. Dominic West's film aspires to be nothing more than a Mystery Science Theater 3000 hopeful. 

If you haven't seen it yet, I wouldn't really advise going out of your way to do so. But, it'll be on HBO before I finish this blog entry. So, if you run across it, get a bowl of popcorn and put on your best Nic Cage wig, prep your one-liners, and have a good night. I have no doubt that I'll be watching it for a third time before the year is over.