Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Directed by Jon Turteltaub.
2010. Rated PG, 109 minutes.
Nicolas Cage
Jay Baruchel
Alfred Molina
Teresa Palmer
Toby Kebbell
Monica Bellucci
Omar Benson Miller
Alice Krige
James A. Stephens

Way back when, like before David Blaine, there lived a magician…er…sorcerer named Merlin (Stephens). He fought for all things good and had three apprentices. They were Balthazar (Cage), Horvath (Molina) and Veronica (Bellucci). Merlin’s arch enemy was the e-e-evil Morgana (Krige). Somehow, she got Horvath to betray his master and help her do bad things. Of course, the good guy wins, anyway. Morgana gets trapped in a tiny contraption that looks like a miniature weeble-wobble (‘member those?) and Horvath gets trapped in some other thing. Unfortunately, Veronica gets stuck inside the same device with Morgana. Finally, weakened from the battle, Merlin dies. The end.

Sadly, that’s not really the end. Before croaking, Merlin gives Balthazar a ring that looks like a dragon and tells him it will lead him to the Prime Merlinian. The Prime Merlinian is the only person who can actually kill Morgana should she ever escape the weeble-wobble. Fast forward twelve hundred plus years to the year 2000. In true Disney fashion, we quickly surmise that goofy, loner fourth grader Dave (Baruchel) is our hero. A few minutes later, Balthazar finds this out also, pretty much by accident. You see, numbskull Dave wanders off from his class while on a school trip and finds himself caught in the middle of a battle between two wizards after he accidentally lets Horvath out. I hate when that happens. Bada-boom bada-bing, Balthazar gets Horvath back in his cage, but gets trapped there himself. Meanwhile, Dave runs off with the weeble-wobble, throws it in the street and looks like he literally pissed his pants. He’s thoroughly embarrassed in front of the one girl that’s ever smiled at him. The end.

Again, I’m wishfully thinking. Instead, we have to fast forward another ten years to get to the meat of the story. Sadly, it’s the same old meatloaf. You know the routine. That goofy, loner kid is now a goofy, loner college kid. Evidentally, he’s never even been close to getting laid because he’s still pining for the girl from fourth grade who once told him he did something cool. Hey, how did you know it was the same girl that smiled at him? Did you watch this by accident, or something? Oh yeah, I just re-remembered this is a Disney movie. Therefore, no one has ever gotten laid. EVAR! What was I thinking? Anyhoo, Horvath gets out and busies himself trying to find the weeble-wobble so he can bust out Morgana and she can do some really bad things. She’s such a naughty girl. As you might expect, this often involves trying to kill Dave. Thankfully, Balthazar has also gotten out and saves our would-be hero more than once. See, Dave doesn’t know magic. Balthazar has to tutor him as we go along, thus making him…wait for it…wait for it…THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE! Ta-dah!

Okay, fill in the blanks from here. I promise you, the rest of it plays out exactly as you expect. Oh alright, I’ll give you one more morsel just in case you’re slow, or something. Becky, the girl that smiled at Dave and told him he did something cool all the way back in fourth grade suddenly pops back into his life. She happens to attend the college he’s transferred to. That’s enough. Get a pen and a napkin. Go! Yup, it’s just like that.

Don’t get me wrong. As a laser and light show, it functions pretty well. Bolts of electricity, bodies and all manner of cgi manufactured goodness whiz across the screen at a frenetic pace. This may cause seizures but it keeps our eyes busy. Fittingly, Nic Cage gets in on the act. His long locks flow and his trench coat swooshes to remind us how cool it would be if we were sorcerers. Maybe not, but he’s Nic Cage and you just wish you were.

Wait, what did I just say? Nevermind.

Speaking of Mr. Cage, he’s thankfully not as over the top as he normally is. The rest of the movie handles things in that department. Still, his more restrained than usual performance is hardly enough to save the movie. That said, it is what it is. Young viewers will likely enjoy it. Veteran viewers will often roll their eyes, never be surprised, proclaim it stupid and still might be mildly entertained by all the stuff that’s going on. They just won’t think it’s good.

MY SCORE: 4.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment