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Friday, November 19, 2010

'The Sorcerer's Apprenctice' Uses Nic Cage To Keep Things Barely Interesting

The Sorcerer's Apprentice = 2 and 1/2 out of 5
Dave: Go team magic stuff!
This one is a bit tricky. I enjoyed this silly movie and I always enjoy Nic Cage, because, suffice it to say, no matter how bad the movie may be, it's never due to Cage, he brings his weird energy to anything. Still, it's not like I want to watch this movie again anytime soon. But then again, I don't want to watch Prince of Persia (the other Disney/Bruckheimer production of 2010) again anytime soon, but recommended (barely) that film. I've gone back and forth on the star rating a couple times now, since writing this, but that's what the actual written review is for. What I can say is that this movie is silly, simple, and breezy...and magical.

Who remembers Fantasia, with Mickey Mouse acting as the sorcerer's apprentice, ordering around mops to clean the castle? Nic Cage did, and developed a story around it, which he then had producer Jerry Bruckheimer help fuel the production with his style of summer blockbuster entertainment. Add to that mix Cage's director from the National Treasure movies, Jon Turteltaub, and you have a movie that takes its audience on for a fast paced and slickly made ride for all ages.

Nic Cage Stars as Balthazar, one of the former apprentices of Merlin, back in the 8th century. Balthazar managed to stop some evil forces, including his former best friend Horvath, played by Alfred Molina, and has since then fought other evil forces set on releasing other evil, while also searching for "The One" who can take his place.

Cut to 2010, with the year of Jay Baruchel continuing, he is now in the role as the plucky physics student that Balthazar has been searching for. Baruchel plays Dave, and is given the opportunity to become the sorcerer's apprentice. Of course this would be much easier if Dave hadn't accidentally released Horvath and must now fight along side Balthazar to stop evil from taking over. You also have some love interests for each character, in the form of Monica Bellucci and Teresa Palmer. Nice enough.

What I like about Bruckheimer productions in general is that they never feel cheap. Despite the quality of the film, at least you know all the money is on screen. Here you have a barrage of CGI wizardry going on, set in New York, all working to keep you entertained, and it kinda works. The film is fast paced, plowing through plot development and characters, but still managing to throw in set pieces specifically designed to keep your eyeballs focused without reading too far in. It's not a bad thing, its a functional design suiting the film.


That being said, there is a lot to try and not roll your eyes at. The movie is quite silly in terms of its premise, dialogue, logic, and ability to have a car chase in a sorcery themed movie. Nic Cage and Molina for that matter both do their thing, as expected. Cage is wacky and Molina is scene-chewingly evil. Baruchel may not have the everyday, leading man charisma, but he works hard at his likable, nerdy charm.

This is a real tricky film to analyze. I understand the wild card that is Cage's popularity with people, but one can see this being enjoyed by families. I was entertained, both due to my own bizarre reading of the film along with appreciating Cage's hair choice, but I certainly don't need to watch it soon again.

Balthazar Blake: Keep it subtle. Civilians must not know that magic still exists. That could make things complicated.
Dave Stutler: Alright, Mr. Pointy Hat.

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