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Blu-ray Review: Season Of The Witch (2011)

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A plague has been set upon the world. It infects the nervous central system, causing an unbridled and utterly unbearable amount of pain — before eventually initiating madness in its host. It is called Season Of The Witch, and it stinks to high heaven. Set in the 14th century during the acme of both the Black Plague and the Smyrniote Crusades, Season Of The Witch imbibes all of the superb charismatic elements of Danny McBride’s Your Highness and the classic Warren Beatty/Dustin Hoffman vehicle, Ishtar. But its appeal doesn’t stop there, kids: this turkey also relies on a wholly-silly supernatural fable as its plotline, while throwing in Oscar-worthy quips like “They’re like cock-a-roaches!” and “We’re gonna need more holy water.”

And those are just two of the movie’s better lines.

So, anyway, at the core of this lackluster blockbuster are Nicolas Cage (donning a truly laughable wig at the beginning) and Ron Perlman as two buddies that have been to Hell and back in the Crusades — and have abandoned their pledge to keep killing thousands of innocent people in the name of God. But a chance at redemption comes their way when a plague-ridden cardinal (Christopher Lee, sporting some pretty bad makeup in a cameo) assigns them with the task of taking the evil black witch (Claire Foy) — who is allegedly responsible for bringing about the curse to the world — to a remote holy monastery so that the monks there can make it all better.

After insulting anyone with even a lower-double digit IQ — to say nothing of all you wonderful Wiccans out there — with its ridiculous story (complete with decidedly-modern dialogue), obvious use of computer-generated imagery and lousy acting (honestly, who willingly hires Nic Cage if they‘re not hoping for a flop?), Season Of The Witch then reveals that its main antagonist is actually a demon — and promptly morphs into an absurd-looking special effect. Was this table-turning climax a fuzzy way of apologizing to natural religions, an oversight on the part of a clueless crew, or just a wanton excuse to make the most out of the CGI people they hired? I don’t know, nor do I care, because Season Of The Witch is really nothing more than a very stupid movie.

Fox Home Entertainment brings us Season Of The Witch to the wonderful world of High-Defery in this Blu-ray/Digital Copy combo. While the movie unabashedly tries to imitate several other CGI-laden hits (as well as misses), the 1080p/AVC transfer of this otherwise dreadful movie is pretty damn good. Granted, some of those computer-made special effects (or special defects, if you will) come off as looking a bit blurry sometimes; but, overall, Season Of The Witch comes off as being relatively-close to excellent in terms of its colors (though the movie almost always has an orange or blue tint to it), contrast and detail. Likewise, the disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 English audio track delivers the goods, providing a more-than-adequate mix for such a forgettable flick. A French Dolby Digital 5.1 track and optional subtitles in English (SDH), French and Spanish are also included with this release.

Season Of The Witch is one of those movies that probably would have wound up being a lot different (not necessarily better, mind you) had the project’s producers not have saw fit to make it look like some extravagant epic. The finished work has a number of tacked-on bits that the producers added in order to make it more action-packed and commercially-acceptable (hence, Nic’s wig is different at the beginning of the movie during the big battle sequence). The HD special features for Season Of The Witch includes a number of the original cut’s footage in its section of deleted and alternate scenes. It also houses two behind-the-scenes featurettes, an alternate ending that doesn’t rely on the horrible CGI monster we see in the final cut and uses actress Foy instead; and a theatrical trailer that strangely replaces Christopher Lee’s voice with that of another actor.

In short: if you’re not looking for something to giggle over, don’t bother with Season Of The Witch.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
  • HanShotFirst

    Doesn’t even sound like it would be fun to suffer through over cocktails with pals. And when doesn’t Cage have a bad wig anymore?