Sunday, 22 August 2010
The Sorcerer's Apprentice ***
Jon Turteltaub, director of this and National Treasure, has again created a feature worthy of a cinema audience but still lacking in the oomph it needs to take it from a mediocre blockbuster, to a feature that makes you sit on the edge of your seat in amazed excitement. And with the hate him or love him presence of Nicholas Cage this film is just... Meh.
It's very Disney action galore with the distinct lack of anything controversial, thought provoking or the slip of any profanities. It's a magical film combining the past and present in New York City. It uses the big screen swirling special effects of magic taking over the world as usual, and slips in short sequences of various locations attempting to give context to the background of Balthazar's (Cage) life and why he has been on this planet for 1000 years. When really, they could have just made him enigmatic without the biography and it would have had the same effect.
It is perfect for a children's film though, as you can imagine a feature created under Walt's name would be. It has a very basic storyline to follow with the good and bad characters making their persona very clear to any viewer. And with the less than necessary over use of voice-over at the very beginning, keeping the children's focus is easy as they can clearly understand the plot-line and enjoy the spectacle on screen.
It is heavily based on special effects as well, so the use of the magic and their whole world in general is pretty fun to watch. There's big explosions with colours flying everywhere, and it introduces a bit of physics into the whole operation giving it a little more credit to any adults viewing this. However, the idea of a guy being taken from his human world into a mystical world has been done one too many times recently (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia). It's repetitive and we can guess the ending pretty much.
Dave (Jay Baruchel), the most common, human name you can think of, plays his character well as the science geek sorcerer. His witty one-liners and appeal to all ages makes him the perfect lead. Nicholas Cage is actually quite bearable. He's got a little edge as the wiser character and isn't over acting making him a lot less cringy than you would think. I was hoping for Merlin to make an appearance again from the 5 second scene we saw at the beginning considering the whole film was based around his legacy, but no. Just these two carrying a narrative with a less than riveting dialogue to work with. Maxim (Alfred Molina) and Drake (Toby Kebbell) were probably the favourites as their characters have a little more depth as the evil magicians. Plus, they can have the sarcy comments making them even more easy to dislike which in turn makes them likeable... Funny how the cocky ones are always the memorable ones. The female leads Teresa Palmer and Monica Bellucci are stunningly beautiful and can act which is also a plus on the casting side!
So overall this is perfect for kids. They'll laugh, be scared and be able to follow the story. As for any other viewer, you'll be bored within the first hour.