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[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=6874[/img]
Title: Season of the Witch
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy
Directed by: Dominic Sena
Written by: Bragi F. Schut
Studio: Rogue
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 6/28/2011


Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Overall: :4stars:



Synopsis:
Behman and Felson are 14th century knights that have recently deserted the cause after being duped into savagely destroying a village of women and children in the name of God. After a month passes, the two find themselves in a quandary after they are recognized and arrested only to be offered forgiveness if they will but take on the task of escorting a young girl accused of witchcraft to face trial.

The duo is soon faced with a myriad of horrors and challenges along the way as they face everything from a pack of wild and angry wolves and several supernatural occurrences. Now with little time left and faced with what appear to be impossible odds, Behman and Felson, with the help of an altar boy playing knight, a friar with ulterior motives, a degenerate rescued from certain death and a grieving sergeant at arms, must face an evil so terrifying and powerful that the fate of all mankind hangs in the balance.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=6875[/img]


Set during the Hundred Years War and the Black Death, Season of the Witch is an attempt to give that period in history a supernatural tale during one of the most horrific periods in time. There are a couple of things that I found to be a bit annoying about this movie. Namely the lack of any authenticity in the filmmakers vision, but let’s be serious; if you are using Nic Cage as a knight in the 14th century, you are probably not going for accuracy. 90% of the people speak American English, there is too much arena rock sounding guitar pieces and the CGI at times leaves something to be desired. Additionally I found the characters to be fairly shallow and lack any real personality. Not so much a “going through the motions”, but more like missed inspiration.

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=6876[/img]
That all being said, Season of the Witch is not a total wash; I would say as a movie that it is alright for a rental on a rainy day or when there is nothing but direct to video movies available to rent. It has a couple of “gotcha” moments and Ron Perlman is good for a chuckle or two. The effects are quite good most of the time, save a handful which I mentioned earlier and the pacing of the story is fair. The plot isn’t engaging by any stretch, but it’s a popcorn movie so there is a lot that can be overlooked. In the end I would say it was an entertaining movie even if it was a bit derivative.

As far as the performances go, Cage is Cage. There are no surprises in his performance so you can expect a typical Nicholas Cage outing. As I mentioned earlier, Ron Perlman is fun to watch, but I usually like Perlman. Claire Foy was a bit of a surprise as she can really come across as evil pretty well and Stephen Graham was underutilized in my opinion. Christopher Lee had an extremely small role, but he is getting on in years so I guess that’s to be expected. Overall there is nothing to rave about and nothing to talk trash about. The one thing that I will go out on a limb here and say is that the Tomato Meter gave Season of the Witch 5% from critics. I think this was way off the mark and will say, as I did with Drive Angry, that I believe it is fashionable right now in the critic world to beat up on Cage and that the reviews for Season of the Witch appear to once again be focused on Cage and not on the movie. I understand that it is to be expected when you are the star of the film; I just think that they take it a bit too far.

Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content.

Video: :4stars:
Season of the Witch has its moments but never fully reaches an out of this world video status. This was mainly due to some minor issues with black level and shadow detail. It seemed to be good, 'ok' and then good again. Colors were warm and cool depending on the scene but never seemed over saturated. I found that resolution was extremely detailed, very granular and really gave an occasional gritty feel to the movie. Natural grain comes through as does some periodic noise which didn’t really detract from what I was watching so I didn’t deduct too much for it. Fleshtones were natural and showed emotion very well however; some of the CGI demons lacked a bit of realism due to what appeared to be a flat gray scale which was more of an issue with the CGI than a deficiency in the transfer. Overall this was a very solid transfer.




Audio: :4.5stars:
The DTS-HD-MA 5.1 audio on Season of the Witch was a fairly aggressive mix. LFE was more focused on impact and explosions and lacked any real atmospheric quality which is a shame because it could have been used quite effectively during some of the more haunting moments. Surround channels were very busy with ambient noise including tree rustling and other eerily placed noises. Dialogue is clear and concise and never suffered from getting lost in the action. Overall this was a very well balanced and dynamic audio presentation that served it’s purpose well with wonderful clarity and plenty of detail.

Extras: :4stars:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Becoming the Demon
  • On a Crusade
  • Alternate ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy

Overall: :4stars:
Overall the movie was entertaining even if it did lack any real originality. The performances didn’t leave any impression and as a whole it could have used a bit more attention from the effects department from time to time. However; it wasn’t a total loss as the audio impressed with a substantialy dynamic offering and some wonderfully placed impactful LFE. Surrounds added plenty of oomph and energy to the atmosphere of the film and even a few creepy surprises. The overall A/V was quite good and should help get you over any humps in story or dialogue. In the end I find myself torn between the buy and rental scenario; would I buy it for myself knowing what I know? Probably if I could find it for $10-$15. Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night! :wave:

Recommendation: Rent It!

 

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Title should be changed to "No Reason TO Watch". Yes, I was not impressed. OK sound and video but story a lot lacking. To each his own.
 

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Good review Dale. Your spot on when it comes to the audio and video aspects. I too found the movie lacking in any plot quality and seems as if it was put together from bits of this and that. You are a bit more generous about the movie itself but I understand your thoughts on that. At first I was thinking ok this is a bad "300" with men that wear clothes, then I thought maybe it is a movie about how angry religious leaders can be, but in the end, I have no clue what this movie is really trying to say or portray. I am quite glad it was a rental as it will be mailed back tomorrow.

Thanks for the review.
 
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