So, yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and to celebrate, I treated myself to a movie. Yesterday’s movie was Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The movie stars Nicholas Cage as the sorcerer, Jay Baruchel as his modern-day apprentice, and Alfred Molina as the resident bad guy. This movie reunites Cage with mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and and director Jon Turteltaub; the trio worked together on the National Treasure series of films. The movie was scored by Trevor Rabin – another National Treasure alum. Walking in, I really wanted this movie to be good. I had low expectations, but there was still a part of me that wanted to watch a decent flick on my birthday. Were those expectations realized? Or, did I set myself up for failure? Read on…
The movie starts in the 8th century, where we meet the great magician Merlin (James A. Stephens) and two of his apprentices; Veronica (Monica Bellucci) and Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage). They are in search for the evil magician Morgan le Fay (Alice Krige), only to find her and her new assistant – fellow sorcerer and former friend Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). A struggle ensues, Merlin dies, Morgan is trapped in Veronica (who is in turn trapped into something called the Grim Lock), and Balthazar is tasked to find a magician called the Prime Merlinian. Only then, would they be able to kill Morgan for good. Fast forward to the year 2000, where a young kid named Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry) inadvertently meets up with Balthazar and is discovered to be the Prime Merlinian. Things don’t go too well for the ten year old as Horvath is reanimated, and is in search for the Grim Lock. We jump ahead ten years to meet Dave again (now played by Jay Baruchel), who is a Physics genius but socially inept. He reunites with a girl he had a crush on named Becky (Teresa Palmer), but also reunites with Balthazar. The story takes off from there with a quest to teach Dave magic, find the Grim Lock, and save the world. Or something like that…
Nicholas Cage plays the sorcerer Balthazar much like he plays everything else – with a hysterical quirkiness that leaves audiences unsure whether or not to applaud or scratch their heads in amazement. His Balthazar is extremely eccentric and maybe just a little bit insane, but he does it better than anyone else could. He plays him like a straight man with a bit of a twitch to his personality – which, after watching the movie, makes sense.
Jay Baruchel (most recently seen in She’s Out of My League) plays Dave Stutler, the titular role of the apprentice. His job is to look confused and try not to trip over his own feet, which he does well. He has a tendency to look nervous all the time and come this a stone’s throw away from stuttering, but his innocence works. He also has a thing for Tesla Coils, which is explained to great effect in the movie.
I am an Alfred Molina fan; I really am. He plays decent good guys, but he really sinks his teeth into the bad guy roles. He did just that in the role of Horvath. He chewed through his scenes like Homer Simpson through a doughnut, and seemed to have fun doing it. The role wasn’t entirely meaty, but it didn’t really need to be. He just had to play the evil foil, and he did that splendidly.
As I mentioned above, the movie was directed by Jon Turteltaub, and it felt like it was missing something…something a little grittier…ah, yes; the extra characters after the rating. The National Treasure movies were rated PG-13, and this one was rated PG. You could see the difference three characters can make. The score was done by Trevor Rabin, and it felt like it fit. It didn’t sound rushed or distressed, but it plugged right in and carried you along for the ride.
I really wanted to like this movie; I really did. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, though. It seemed like there was so much more that could have been done, but a lot of scenes ended up on the cutting room floor due to the rating. Not to say that the movie didn’t have its own good points; after all, there was a throwback to Fantasia that will make you smile. That’s about it, though; the rest of the movie just seemed…unfortunate. So, with that in mind, I have to give this two dragon heads out of five, and recommend it only for the dollar theaters. Anything more is a rip off.