Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

If you're thinking "Mickey Mouse and all those dancing brooms" from Fantasia when you see the title of this film, think again. Oh, sure, there are about 10 seconds of film time when we do see many mops and brooms creating havoc in Dave's laboratory, but that's not the thrust of this movie. But if you blink, you'll miss the actual plot of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which is wafer-thin.

Dave (Jay Baruchel) is a nerd, always has been, and had a chance to make the winsome Becky his girlfriend except that he blew it at age 10, and figures his life has been a big Nothing since then. Except that he wandered into Bathazar's curio shop and found a real, live wizard (Nicolas Cage) who is doing big-time battle with recent escapee evil-guy Horvath (Alfred Molina). We shoot forward 10 years later, when Balthazar hooks up again with Dave, and seeks his new apprentice's help in combatting Horvath.

The movie isn't terribly compelling, save for its memorable Big Three cast -- Cage, Baruchel and Molina -- but even they can't breathe life into this sodden story. Personality goes a long way, and the film is better for it, but halfway through the third or fifth battle, you can't for the life of you remember why you're there in the first place. There are many good effects along the way -- the live dragon, for one, dazzles -- but that's never a good enough reason to hang on.

There is one thing I liked about the story, and that is that Dave finds a way to help Balthazar fight old and powerful wizards through his own knowledge of science. I thought that was a nice way to add our Everyman into a fight he couldn't win, and yet let us believe he had useful skills.

There are some interesting things about this movie, but on the whole, it's a disappointment. Thumb's down.


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