History on Film
A new film about some knights on a mission in medieval England is set to be released, in the USA, in January 2011. Though, having just had a closer look at the International Movie Database, the film itself is not all that new. It was apparently shown at a film festival in England almost a year ago. So, now I am wondering why the release was delayed for such a long time. Did they change the end? Or was did they just have problems persuading distributors that there will be an audience for this kind of film? According to the IMDb no release date has been set yet for Germany, but who knows?

Now, here's the trailer:
Robin Hood - Trailer

Robin Hood - Review
Black Death - Trailer
Some knights are sent on a mission to bring a witch to her execution, but soon they are not only beset by your everyday danger but also by evil, supernatural forces. Unsurprisingly, the first thing I had to think of was that the premise sounded a lot like 'Black Death'. But considering that this would not be the first time that films about a similar or even the exact same topic are developed, that's fair enough.

Like 'Black Death' 'Seasons of the Witch' is also set in generic country. In fact, according to the trailer it is not even clear whether the film takes place in England or France or the small kingdom of Swindonia. But they speak English so I assume it is set in England. We have dirt and bloody battle as required and evil wolves to show us that there are supernatural things going on. Our hero has crossed oceans and deserts and seen strange things. He has become a legend. Or his name has, at least. Judging from the desert and the battle in the desert, the film must be set in the twelfth or thirteenth century, as afterwards crusading in these parts of the world became very unfashionable and one went to Spain or Prussia to figth the "infidel".

Another parallel between the trailers is that a woman
is introduced as the source of the evil that endangers our heroes. The signals the trailer gives on this point are ambivalent. At first, we are led to sympathise with her. She is young, she is pretty, and we all know that there are no witches. Not really. But then the trailer reveals that there may be some truth in the accusations. For one she can do magic. And she wants to punish someone. In the end we still don't know whether she is one of the good guys or not.

We also learn that there is some evil so evil even hell can't hold it. Which reminded me of the rather lame sequel to 'The Prophecy' as its plot premise is that Lucifer got so annoyed by Gabriel that he kicked him out and let the world and its poor inhabitants try to deal with him. Not that any further parallales between the films seem likely.

The announcement that kingdoms will fall surprised me somewhat. And me being me I immediately started thinking how many kindgoms did actually fall in this period. Hm, 1066 was before the crusades. Several, or actually all of the crusader states did fall sooner or later, but it seems to refer to where our good knights find themselves now. So is the film, after all, set in the small and entirely fictional kingdom of Swindonia? The one place name mentioned is Severack [sp?] which is not a place I have ever heard of.

Altogether, the trailer looks as if 'Season of the Witch' is an enjoyable, action-packed film with mud and mystery that while it is officially set in an actual time and place actually takes place in a sort of generic, fictional past. No Sean Bean, but Christopher Lee! Could be fun. Otherwise I would have to point out that most people who were burned in the middle ages were heretics and not witches.

Having now had a look at the plot synposis on the Internet Movie Database, I know that the film is supposed to be set in fourteenth century England. As mentioned above, the last crusade to deserty places happened in the thirteenth century (St. Louis' to Tunisia in 1272, with the future Edward I making a brief detour to Acre). If our good knight participated in this crusade they would be about 100 when the black death (which also apparently features in the film) reached England in 1348. Ah, well… Perhaps that's why Nicholas Cage's character is famous. He is going on 100 and is still fit to fight.

It is probably foolish to expect a film that features evil wolves and actual witches to pay any attention to real history, so I won't hold this against the film. Can't help pointing it out though.

The funnyiest thing by far however on the IMDB is that the 'Official Site' they like to is for a completely different film with the same name.

[14 November 2010]

Like 'Black Death', 'Season of the Witch' had a rather limited release here and so it came and went and I did not see it. I am not sure I can muster enough enthusiasm to buy the DVD, but if I do, I will certainly share my snarky comments.
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