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Laramie Movie Scope:
Season of the Witch

Dark, dismal, depressing and disgusting

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 10, 2011 -- I should have heeded the warnings of my fellow critics and steered clear of this dark, dismal, depressing, disgusting movie. It is a waste of time and money. I blame myself. There is no need for you to make the same mistake I did. Be warned. If you do go see this, don't be surprised if you are disappointed.

This dank, soggy, sword and sorcery movie starring Nicholas Cage, makes the much-criticized film “The Last Airbender” look like “Avatar” by comparison. I'm pretty sure “Season of the Witch” will make a lot less money at the national and international box office than “The Last Airbender” did. Word of mouth should burn this film like a medieval witch execution. Word of mouth rescued “The Last Airbender” from harsh criticism from most critics, except for me and few others who agreed with me.

Nicholas Cage has had well-publicized money problems of late and he seems to be grabbing every role that comes along, sort of like Michael Caine used to. This is the second severe stinker he's been in after “Bangkok Dangerous.” Many critics also panned a more recent film that Cage starred in, “The Sorcerer's Apprentice,” but that one, too was quite a bit better than “Season of the Witch,” I thought. Sword-slinger films should be fun, not serious like this one and the recent “Robin Hood” movie starring Russell Crowe. If these kinds of costume dramas are not fun, then they should at least be entertaining, like “Rob Roy” and “The Count of Monte Cristo” were. The last thing they should be is plodding and serious, without any real substance.

Cage and Ron Pearlman (“Hellboy” films) star as Behman and Felson, two blue collar soldiers who, after slaughtering thousands of people in the Crusades, suddenly discover these aren't holy wars after all, just wars, which are by their very nature not holy and not moral. To their credit, however, they decide to get out of the crusader business. When their superiors call them traitors and tell them they can't leave, Behman says, “Who is going to stop us?” Best line in the movie. Against all reason, word of their desertion reaches an isolated town (perhaps by medieval telegraph?) and they are rounded up by some soldiers and brought before the ruler of the town, or the church, or both.

Behman and Felson make a deal with the ruler to transport a witch to a remote monastery in return for their freedom. Also along are a priest, an alter boy, a soldier and a merchant who knows the road, acting as a guide. The journey is long and hard. The little band is attacked by wolves and must cross a rickety bridge over a chasm. Other trials await these intrepid travelers. Some of these trials are supernatural in nature. There is also a great deal of disgusting rot, decay, slime, goo and grotesque deformities in the film, making it even more unpleasant to watch. The main problem with the film is a lack of humor in most of it. The visuals and the mood are relentlessly dark and depressing. There is plenty of rain, of course, and the sun seldom shines. The holy men and their holy books have little effect on the dark forces confronting them, a common theme in movies which have much to do with the Christian religion. This is all very familiar, and it is not fun, or inspiring, or enlightening, or entertaining. This film rates an F.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2011 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)