TMG Scale 5.0
Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Christopher Lee, and relative newbie, Claire Foy…might be a star someday.
Set a movie in the Middle Ages, during the Crusades (approximately 1100- to 1300 AD give or take a few months—without cable TV, time mattered little back then), throw in dark forests, lot’s of bloody violence and Nicolas Cage …and volia! Season of the Witch. Oh for sure, you have to include the usual anti-Christian Hollywood politics. They imply that wars today are as ridiculous as they were in the Middle Ages. This has some bizarre logic of course since history books all suggest that the European Catholics ran the Crusades on the goal of recapturing certain areas of the Mideast from Muslim rule. Perhaps true, but everyone was crazy back then. They all took “natural” drugs, never bathed, drank alcohol 24/7, and lacked MTV and Desperate Housewives for social satisfaction. Everyone was grumpy. TMG certainly accepts the premise that over the course of human history, more people have been killed in the name of God than in defense of liberty. The difference is that the Muslim world pretty much has never learned. The Catholic leadership did. They simply went on to molesting little boys instead. Sure, send me a letter and tell me I am out of line here!
The film takes off on all of the above by following two AWOL knights (Cage and Perlman) who defect from the King and army of the English Catholic Church. This is all apparently based upon a new found conscience by Cage (hard to say that without laughing) against the killing women and children because it just isn’t fun anymore. They are captured and for no explained reason whatsoever, are asked to escort an accused, young female witch to a monastery to either be convicted or undergo exorcism. The trip over the forest and through the woods is kind of harrowing and fun, especially when they encounter a bunch of wolves who got lost on their way from the sound stage of The Twilight Saga: The Eclipse.
The so called “witch” is played well by newbie, Clarie Foy. I was astounded how much she reminded me of Mary McDonnell (Stands with a Fist) from Dances with Wolves (1990). She was actually quite convincing. Despite all the great film work, costumes and makeup, the perfect set of pearly white teeth on her and all the main actors was not, and a major oversight. I also think the screenwriters got confused in their usual haste to bash Christians on the huge distinction between Satanic possession and the practice of “witchcraft.” Of course CNN, CNBC and NBC made the same mistake in their medieval assault on Christine O’Donnell this past year in Delaware and no one seemed to care then either. Near the end of the film, I really thought Cage was going to break out in an Elvis style rendition of “Devil in Disguise.” You have to see the film and understand Cage’s personal histry to appreciate that concept though.
I didn’t fall asleep and the tempo of this movie and its scenery kept me interested. But I can walk through a cemetery at night and get the same basic effect. Some young teens will find it fun and provocative. I think most adults will be glad to skip it and spend an extra few hours cleaning the kitchen and watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. You get about the same level of entertainment, intellect and satisfaction for no real cost.
Theatre experience note: I was very happy to find that AMC Theatres now offer fresh fruit in their concessions. Now if they can only get the awful service in their Fork & Screen and Cinema Suites on track.