The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Review
Dinah's Rating: 5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.6/10
(4 ratings total)
Over-promotion is the first sign of a lacking film. Another clue is a release date change too near to opening day. But The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
had little choice opening against Christopher Nolan’s Inception
. The over-the-top adventure starring Nicolas Cage tries its hardest to create movie magic, but ends up placing too much emphasis in its least redeeming aspects.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice centers on a simple plot. An old sage of a sorcerer, Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), grabs a quintessential science geek, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), in a quest to stop an evil villain, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), from taking over the world. All sorts of mystical obstacles including fire-breathing dragons and rampaging bulls must be surmounted in order for Dave to save his hot chick, Becky (Teresa Palmer). Oh and Veronica (Monica Bellucci), is a sorceress who appears as a love interest between the warring magicians.
The movie is best summed up by character Becky, who describes the protagonist as “somewhere in the middle.” The film is not laborious as The Last Airbender, yet it adds little to the adventure genre -- just the same old bag of tricks. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice outdid its trailers, actually containing more movie clichés than first thought. The writers threw in the fat friend for infrequent comic relief and doubled up on villains with a coldhearted hag.
Dave, is played so adeptly by Jay Baruchel that he quickly becomes unbearably annoying. It must be something new in acting class to throw your voice in order to amplify a performance (think Christian Bale as Batman or Adrien Brody in Predators). Unfortunately Baruchel is not playing dark or sinister; his voice turns out nasally and effeminate. Worse, the actor seems to be channeling Shia LaBeouf with all sorts of incredulous exclamations from start to finish.
The overall film struggles to be endearing, though it is ultimately centered on a theme of love at all costs. Mixed in with back story and flirtations between characters are distracting kid fair such as plasma bolts to the groin and dogs farting and peeing on electrical wires. Characters that bring a bit of flare to the picture are here and gone far too quickly. This includes rock star illusionist Drake Stone (Kebbell) and dragon-taming wizard Sun-Lok (Gregory Woo).
The story wins in allowing magic to extend somewhat boundlessly, though for some this could prove a plausibility obstacle. There are all these just-in-the-knick-of-time moments typical of the genre thrown in to save the heroes. But they are often brought in far too quickly, without allowing any tension whatsoever to mount. Moreover, magical concoctions such as the bronze bull and silver dragon that raise the energy level of the story receive unjustifiably fickle amount of scenes.
As is typical with the current state of cinema, this summer tentpole was likely produced for more than $150 million, not including marketing. Walt Disney did an interesting thing in choosing the opening date. A movie like this stands a better chance during the winter holidays, but rather than compete with the next Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter, the studio pitted itself against the most anticipated film of the summer.
Wisely, the studio changed the opening date from Friday to Wednesday in order to give the film a head start with family audiences. Both The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and its competition were promoted aggressively with the former releasing five minutes of the finished product to the public. It is yet to be seen how the family appealing PG film will fair against a more complex and slightly prohibitive PG-13 thriller.
Although this movie will soon fade into the annals of fantasy history, films like Sorcerer’s Apprentice will always be staples in Hollywood. Movie goers crave escapism and mindless fun as much as the occasional heart wrenching drama. One can only hope the genre can improve over this bloated adventure.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Written by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci
Other Player Affinity Reviews
"It is difficult to judge a film that’s most obvious strengths are money. The special effects are excellent in this Jerry Bruckheimer production, as are the any number of high-energy action sequences. At these aforementioned elements, the film succeeds unequivocally, though thankfully the mis-matched talents of the geeky Jay Baruchel and veteran Nicolas Cage anchor The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
towards something much more enjoyable. Alfred Molina, in his second deliciously commercial (yet still undeniably entertaining) role of the year after the previous Disney/Bruckheimer film Prince of Persia,
is the epitome of evil as the devious Maxim Horvath, and owns his scenes boasting great chemistry with the laid-back Cage. Alas, back to the effects, and though they do make for some great scenes, they are inherently soulless. Luckily, the human element present is engaging enough to muster some individuality, resulting in this summer blockbuster warranting a mild recommendation." Rating: 6.5/10
Julian's Rating: 5/10
Steven's Rating: 6/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.6/10