Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Like most people, I scoffed at this film when the trailer first debuted. I mean, it was bad enough that somebody was making a film based on the Sorcerer's Apprentice, but they had to go all the way and cast Nicholas Cage in a starring role? When was the last time he was in a genre picture that wasn't completely unwatchable? So I skipped it... for a long time, until I finally ran out of movies to watch on Netflix and decided to go ahead and give this one a try, since the website kept insisting I would love it.
Well, I didn't love it, but I definitely enjoyed it. It was a fun, clever, well done summer blockbuster with a fun if cliche story (a chosen one learns that he is the only hope of saving the world, so he has to learn magic to fulfill his destiny, etc), and awesome special effects. We live in an age where filmmakers can show whatever they want with the aid of computers, so special effects are no longer special, but this film is still visually fantastic. The effects were created by computers, of course, but the execution and creativity involved were so well done that I stayed enthralled if only to see what kind of set pieces the filmmakers had coming next. I especially liked the chase scene through Times Square where the Sorcerer and his apprentice get stuck in a backwards version of New York, where the only way they can escape is by finding their own reflection and driving through it. This movie was full of fun little scenes that like, including an homage to the original cartoon short, which was really well done.
As for the casting, I actually loved the performance by Nicholas Cage. He's always been a wonderful actor, he has just chosen odd films in which to star, most of them lacking a director and writing team that were capable of channeling his talents in the right way. This film reunites the actor with John Turteltab (of National Treasure fame), and he is both funny and exiting to watch. The scenes without Cage, in fact, tend to fall a little flat, if only because he was so good throughout. Alfred Molina, who is also always great, was well cast as the villain. The only real weak link in the cast, in my opinion, was Jay Baruchel as the titular Apprentice. I'm just not a fan of the kid, and found him more annoying than endearing. But he wasn't that bad, and he does have a fine talent for comic timing. I just didn't think he was all that heroic or likable.
So... check it out. It was a fun, clever, well done Summer blockbuster, even though it may not actually have been that much of a blockbuster at all. But I'd watch a sequel.