The blank space at the end of this sentence represents how much I carethat a beloved children's classic like The Sorcerer'sApprentice has been exploited for a modern-day "boom! boom!KABLOWIE" Disney movie:
Granted, I might change my tune if they were defiling a work of art Ihad a close personal attachment to, but since they're not likely tomake DuckTales: The Squeakquel any time soon, I think I'm safe.(Confidential to Hollywood: please make that movie already. Haven'tyou been getting my scripts?)
Point is, great art can't be damaged by remakes, sequels, prequels, orreboots. People can still find and enjoy the inspirational material,can't they? If crummy derivative works drag down the original, how doyou explain that we still love Jurassic Park despite all thatvelociraptor slash fiction in your drawer? QED, everyone who may noteven be making this argument. If you're going to hate the modern-dayThe Sorcerer's Apprentice, at least hate it on its own terms.
More than 1,000 years ago, Merlin was killed by the evil sorceressMorgana, who was in turn imprisoned in a magic nesting doll. Merlin'sapprentice Nicolas Cage has guarded the doll ever since, waiting forthe arrival of the sorcerer who'll be able to destroy Morgana once andfor all.
He finds the promised wizard in physics student Jay Baruchel, whoaccidentally loses the doll and releases evil sorcerer Alfred Molinainto the world. If Molina recovers the doll before they do, the wholeworld may fall under Morgana's sway.
In other words, blah blah blah made-up foolishness convolutedMacGuffin yadda yadda doofy hair etc. Plot is not The Sorcerer'sApprentice's strong point. It's a tireless barrage of chasing,acquiring, losing, saving and unbelievable leaving-aliving. Thesepeople have more chances to kill each other than coworkers at the AcmePoison Factory. Why do they keep leaving each other alive? Oh, right,because movies can't end after 40 minutes.
Worse, all this bullmyth is set up by a two-minute summary to startthe film, a confused, "Who are all these people and why do we care?"prologue that kicks things off with entirely the wrong foot.
Despite its generally worthless plot, The Sorcerer's Apprenticepulls off the deft feat — some might say, "the magic trick," hehheh — of being fairly fun. Two causes: some real creativity andwell-cast leads.
I think of Nicolas Cage the same way I think about combining the lastdrops of all the bottles on my shelf into one big shot: distasteful,but sometimes it's exactly what I need. He takes a good turn as aneccentric, ancient wizard, and while Baruchel isn't breaking from typeas another skinny geek, he's still funny.
The magic they sling about has some cool moments, too, notably thebusiness with the paper dragon suddenly becoming a very angry realone. On the other hand, The Sorcerer's Apprentice frequentlydescends into the territory of "Well, now we need the movie to dothis, so uh... let's have someone cast a spell," so it's not like itever avoids being annoying for too long. Also a dog pees on somethingfor laughs.
So what kind of movie is this? A loud, daft, fight-filled cutestravaganza? Or a funny, charming, playful piece that capturesprecisely how awesome wizards can be? Definitely more the former thanthe latter. But there were moments when I was having fun, and thatalways counts for something.