The Dude does not abide in Seventh Son

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      Starring Jeff Bridges and Ben Barnes. Rated 14A.

      For the first half-hour or so of this mediocre fantasy film, there’s enough cheese to keep you amused.

      Jeff Bridges as a marble-mouthed, Col. Sanders–style “Spook” who takes on an apprentice to help him defeat an evil witch? Fun! Julianne Moore as that witch, who rises to full power on a “blood moon”? Oh hai, Oscar contender meets delicious menstrual imagery!

      Then the cheese curdles and all you’re left with is a plodding, repetitive Game of Thrones rip-off. (To be fair, Seventh Son is based on Joseph Delaney’s series of young-adult novels, “The Wardstone Chronicles”. But everything in the fantasy genre gets compared to Game of Thrones nowadays. And Seventh Son looks especially cheap and simple-minded next to it.)

      Ben Barnes, of Prince Caspian fame, acquits himself nicely as the apprentice. He’s never dull to watch, despite the dull things he has to say. But he’s stuck in a romantic subplot that pairs him with the dewy niece of Moore’s Mother Malkin, who was supposed to be played by Jennifer Lawrence until she came to her senses and left the part for the blank likes of Alicia Vikander. Bridges’s Master Gregory trains his apprentice in killing the evil minions of Malkin, who are generally played by minorities, and together they escape death by cliff top about 17 times before the final battle. By then, it doesn’t matter that Moore is basically playing ye olde woman scorned. The backward sexual and racial politics would be forgivable if anyone looked like they were still having fun.

      Vancouver and its watery environs sub in for Middle Earth/Winterfell/Whatever. Don’t hold your breath for sequels to contribute to our local economy.