Nicholas Cage has starred in plenty of questionable Hollywood fodder. But, really, why is he starring in what apparently looks like a under-budget Uwe Boll video-game adaption? Season of the Witch, directed by Dominic Sena (Gone In Sixty Seconds) has bewildered Cage fans, critics and general audiences about the conceit of the title: what is it? A medieval action-adventure? A comedy reedited as a thriller? An elaborate trick on the American moviegoing population? Gawker's Max Read condensed the general sentiment nicely: "I can never remember if I am supposed to like Nicolas Cage sincerely and enjoy his movies ironically, or like him ironically and not enjoy his movies at all?"
- 1. It Appears To Use Leftover Sets From Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sure, likening sets from a 2011 medieval action-adventure film to a 1970's British sketch comedy isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Witch, and that's probably why The New York Post's Kyle Smith gave a scathing one-and-half star review to the Nicolas Cage flick. But look at it this way: fans of the "rickety rope bridge spanning a bottomless chasm" from Holy Grail will be delighted to know that a similar "rotting string of planks" makes a dubious appearance in the film. And, after squinting again, perhaps you'll read Smith's exhortation to "heed the timeless advice of its ancestor 'Holy Grail'--run away!" as merely recommending viewers to wait until the DVD arrives.
- 2. The Epitome of a Movie Both 'Overblown and Undercooked' Because, really, haven't you wondered what both of those descriptors mean in film reviews? Season of the Witch appears to be a title uniquely suited to unravel the meaning of the terms "overblown" and "undercooked." Courtesy of Variety's Andrew Barker we learn that Witch is both "too inert for midnight-movie schadenfreudists, and not nearly competent enough for even the most forgiving of fantasy fans." Ah, well, that would appear to rule out point number 3:
- 3. It's 'Get Him to the Greek Meets Lord of the Rings Filtered Through Uwe Boll's Hack-Tastic Brain' Got that? Which means that, yes, this would appear to be a well-suited film to be watching on late-night TV. But movie reviewers seem to be shying away from agreeing "it's so bad that it's good," with Movies.com's Jen Yamato explicitly making that disclaimer in her assessment of the regrettable title. Still, "there are flying zombie monks! Uwe would be proud," Yamato quips.
- 4. 'The Screenplay Is Like a Transcription of a Dungeons and Dragons Session' "Better hope you make a high saving throw during the wolf attack in Wormwood Forest!," writes Flick Filosopher's MaryAnn Johanson, referencing the fantasy role-playing game. Unintentional Monty Python echoes also appear in Johnson's review: "The 'performances' are like clueless imitations of Monty Python by actors who don’t understand comedy...Witch is, however, par for the course for director Dominic Sena (Whiteout, Swordfish), who seems incapable of making movies that aren’t both unpleasantly preposterous and mind-numbingly boring."
- 5. This Is the Film That Inspired a Prominent Critic To Write 'Die, Monster, Die' In Response Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, never one to mince his words, wrote a humorous evisceration of Witch that includes this notable conclusion: "Trust me, it's as bloodless as a starved vampire. Instead of a review, it deserves a stake in the heart. Die, monster, die."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.