It’s no secret that Nicolas Cage has a thing for the medieval and antique weirdness in general: castles, sorcery, all that stuff. So when long time friend and financial benefactor Jerry Bruckheimer approached him with a tale which would see him play Merlin’s apprentice, he no doubt jumped at the chance.
I’m assuming this all happened before an initial glance at The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s script.
There’s something about a Disney Nic Cage movie that doesn’t sit right. For one thing he can’t go all out Bad Lieutenant style and that means he can’t be the Cage we love and demand. Also, it means that the movie he’s in won’t exactly live to become a cult classic. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is every bit as bland as the trailers suggested and this looks set to be the one Cage flick EVERYONE will completely forget about. Yup, even more so than Season Of The Witch.
The aforementioned script is mostly to blame.
In a clumsy opening montage, we’re roughly told about Merlin and the whole mythology behind Balthazar’s (Cage) character. It’s all shot like a music video and does very poorly to get you involved in the simplistic plot. Then we cut to a truly memorable year, the year 2000, where some pre-teen romance is going on and one of the kids wanders into Balthazar’s "Wonder Emporium" where the sorcerer awaits what he believes to be the new chosen one or whatever. After that, it’s all a healthy mix of nonsense plotting (sorcerers get sucked into Russian dolls and vases for some reason), light-hearted teen hijincks (Jay Baruchel’s David is the clumsy geek we’ve seen in movies a million times before), piss jokes, one-liners and already dated CGI effects.
Alfred Molina is villain Horvath (pronounced “whore-bath” I believe) who inexplicably utters modern expressions like “Sweet!” and is made out of bugs in an effect that reeks of every noughties Mummy movie ever made. He wants a Russian doll which holds not only the evil sorceress Morgana but also Balthazar’s beloved, a particularly rubbish and unnecessary Monica Belucci. Balthazar’s plan is to train David and get him to become the kickass sorcerer he believes he was meant to be. Baruchel does his geek schtick and, like Justin Long in Die Hard 4.0, after a while it’s grating as hell.
Had its plot and mythology not been written on a cocktail napkin the night before the shoot, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice could have been a fun piece of fantasy nonsense. As it stands, though: this is a soulless, forgettable, silly and rushed attempt which means well but is far too lazy to deserve too much of our attention. Shame on Disney for referencing and ruining the only scene I actually liked in Fantasia.
Harmless enough but disappointing nonetheless.