The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Original Sorcerer's Apprentice
Do You Believe In Magic?
Do you believe in magic? Or do you believe in science? What if the both were merely the same, but we just don't realize it. Would you still just dismiss magic as pure "hocus pocus" nonsense? After all, some studies have shown that we only use a small fraction of our brains. Therefore, what if magic was nothing more than people using a hundred percent of their brain power to manipulate the elements around them using the principles of physics? Although I know some of you might be shaking your heads about this. However, whatever you might feel about what I just said is irrelevant because that's basically the concept that "Sorcerer's Apprentice" uses to justify and explain how magic can possibly exist within the conventional real world.
Jerry Bruckheimer proved to the world that he could create a blockbuster off almost anything, when he made a film that was based on a theme park ride at Disney, when he made "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Now it seems, he's taking a shot at making a movie that's loosely based off a short story in Disney's animated musical classic, "Fantasia." Does it work? Not exactly. Although I loved how they still managed to still incorporate the one scene where the apprentice couldn't stop the mops from flooding the lab. Before I get into my review, I'll briefly explain what this film is about.
Many centuries ago, a powerful sorcerer named Merlin (James A. Stephens), who I'm sure many of you have heard in old legends surrounding the legacy of King Arthur's throne. As the story goes, Merlin protected and guarded humanity against the evil forces of dark magic, by his nemesis Morgana. Morgana was an evil and powerful sorceress, who's only desire was to destroy and enslave all of humanity. Aiding Merlin in his fight to protect humanity were his three most trusted apprentices Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Veronica (Monica Bellucci). During their many battles together, Maxim grew jealous of Balthazar over time, and inevitably betrayed Merlin by joining forces with Morgana. Effectively aiding her in killing his former master, and almost succeeding in helping her take over the world. Luckily in one last act of desperation, Balthazar was able to trap Morgana inside a doll along with Maxim, before their evil plot could come into fruition. Unfortunately, Balthazar couldn't trap Morgana before she possessed Veronica's body in time. During Merlin's last minutes, he cast a spell on Balthazar to keep him eternally young until one day he could find the chosen one; one who is destined to destroy Morgana once and for all. As legends foretold, every century a chosen one will rise to become the new Merlin. One who could use magic without the benefit of a ring like other sorcerers had to. Thus, Balthazar searched the globe for him for decades.
Thus, leads us to our modern story, as we meet a very unlikely hero in Dave (Jay Baruchel). Who happens to be the chosen one that Balthazar has been searching for, for centuries. Dave like all heroes of his ilk, he's extremely shy and insecure of himself. Which needless to say, comes off generically cliched as hell. Don't get me wrong, I've always been fascinated by magical mythology, but I just loath the concept of a alleged "chosen one."
As it seems, every film that has a alleged "chosen one" is always same when you stop to look at it, in it's simplest context. You always have some would be protagonist, who has a lot of security issues, a romantic love interest who's extremely hot and when they do fulfill their destinies, they always seem to make the main protagonist too freaking strong (Matrix trilogy for instance). Thus, if the main protagonist is that freaking strong, then why the hell do you need the other characters? Wouldn't it be better if all the supporting characters stayed home, so they wouldn't get hurt and just let the main hero handle it. Seriously, the concept of the "chosen one" has been literally done to death in movies these days, as the only one that didn't end in the typical cliched way was "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith." Sadly, even that film freaking sucked, as George Lucas' piss poor dialogue and the cast's crummy acting ruined that movie. Therefore, I literally loath the concept of "chosen ones." Seriously, they all end exactly the same way when you look at them. All of them.
I have yet to see one that turned out great. Sure, "The Matrix" turned out to be a good one. However, in the sequels they made Neo so freakishly strong, that nothing didn't seem like a threat to him at all. Not even the infamous Agent Smith seemed like much of a threat until around the third movie. And even then, it never really seemed like Neo struggled hardly at all against anyone in that one as well. Which brings me back to why I hate "chosen one" concepts. Seriously, why am I going to root for a hero, when I know that he's going to end up beating the villain's a** easily anyways? What's the point? Is it because he's the hero, and I'm automatically "supposed to" root for him? No, this is why I like my heroes flawed and their stories to be character driven instead, to where the protagonist chooses to become a hero. Not to be randomly chosen since birth to be one, or be part of some elaborate manifest destiny crap. Anyways, I apologize for my short little rant there, but I just don't like the "chosen one" concept so much that I had to vent about it.
As for the rest of the film, "Sorcerer's Apprentice", I thought the beginning and the mythological aspects of the movie was highly intriguing and interesting. Unfortunately, the film suffers from way too many "chosen one" cliches and pacing issues as well. As the film pretty much skips over story content and character development a lot, in favor of action and special effect scenes. Which don't get me wrong, the special effects are tastefully done. With an exception to maybe one or two scenes where you could obviously tell it was done by CGI, the rest of the special effects were very realistic and plausible. I was highly impressed by it.
As far as the acting goes in this film, I don't care what anyone says, but I still like Nicolas Cage a lot as an actor. Sure, he's made a lot of bad films recently, but he's owned every part he's ever played with enthusiasm and charisma, while Alfred Molina continues to show how he's able to play such a natural villain, as they both practically play off each other perfectly. Even Jay Baruchel doesn't do such a bad job, as he's able to do his best with mediocre rushed script. Although it does seem like he's being type cast these days, as the nerdy unlikely protagonist like he was in "How to Train Your Dragon" and "She's Out of My League." However, he plays the part quite well.
For those who normally read my reviews, you'll know I don't give out numbered ratings. However, if I did, I would probably give this film like a two out five. I know traditionally most critics do it off a four star scale, but what can I say? A part of me just wants to be rebellious right now, for some reason. It's certainly not a bad film by any means, but it's not great either. As I mentioned earlier, the film suffers from a lot of pacing issues and a mediocre rushed script. Luckily though, the acting performances of Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina and Nicolas Cage do save the film, from being completely drenched from mediocrity. Along with some great special effects. Overall, if your into the whole magic mythology, then I'd probably wait until this comes out on DVD. The movie is borderline decent, but I wouldn't pay to see it in a theater if I were you.