#28 The Sorcerer's Apprentice

#28 The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Year: 2010
Director: Jon Turteltaub
MPAA Rating: PG
Epic Co-stars: Alfred Molina
Running Time: 109 mins
Cage Time: 80%
Cage Kills: 0? Really?
Cage Flip-outs: 0
Shauna's Review: 
At first glance, this movie may seem like an epic let-down for fans of The Cage. No flip outs, no kills--in fact, an oddly calm and self-possessed Cage who never lets an f-bomb fly. However, consider the true depth of Mr Cage's investment   in each and every role, including this one as a steampunk reinvention of a cartoon wizard. Also his devotion to the principles of Nouveau Shamanism, which, let's face it, uniquely qualifies him to become a wizard of the highest caliber in any film, Disney or otherwise. 

Nicolas Cage as the greatest wizards of film. Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Balthazar.
In case you found the fact that they have the same damn title to be an insufficient clue (not naming names, you know who you are), this movie is loosely based on the Fantasia piece of the same name, which was in turn inspired by and set to the musical piece of the same name. If you need a refresher, Mickey gets a bit power-mad and floods his master's man-cave while attempting to use magic to do his chores. Although it seems to last indefinitely, it actually only goes on for 10 minutes, so obviously they needed to expand upon the story line somewhat to stretch this premise to 109 minutes. 

The resemblance is clear, I think.
Mean, mouse-spanking Wizard is reinvented as a kindly but sarcastically awesome Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), complete with semi-historical wardrobe and what I can only assume is real magic. In AD 740, Nic Cage's girlfriend is possessed by the evil Morgana, so he traps her and various other malevolent wizards in a Russian nesting doll set until he can find the Prime Merlinian, Merlin's successor. [Yes, we did spend most of the movie wondering why the kid would be called the Prime Meridian.] Of course this turns out to be some obnoxious kid who gets more screen time than Nic Cage, much to the movie's detriment. Balthazar mentors Kid (the titular "apprentice") who can then for some reason defeat Morgana and assorted baddies despite being unable to control a mop. [Yes, they recreate the original premise in what is undoubtedly the worst scene in the movie. Best to leave these things in the twentieth century, folks.] Nevertheless, Nic Cage does get to drive several very fast/ expensive cars, which seems to be his main prerequisite before agreeing to any (every) project. 

Witness the power of the Nouveau Shaman!

The trailer makes it look like part of the Batman franchise, but it shares a director (Turteltaub) and producer (Bruckheimer) with National Treasure, and the similarities can be seen in the film's humor and tone. As someone with juvenile taste in movies (or what I like to think of as "a childlike sense of wonder"), I enjoyed both. Nic Cage seems to get a kick out of playing this wry, laconic, determinedly optimistic sorcerer and mentor. I mean, he gets to wear a leather fedora and a badass cloak, so I think the appeal is pretty straightforward. This movie won't make the top 10 or the best quotes list, but it's amusing to watch-- easy without being simple. 

Movie quotability:
  • Dave: "How'd you know my name was Dave?" Balthazar:  "Because I CAN READ MINDS! ... It's on your backpack."
  • Dave: "These are old man shoes." Balthazar: "Excuse me."
  • "What ever happened to 'don't touch anything'?"
  • "I had a dream. You were insulting me, Dave. Repeatedly."
  • Skyler: "'Hey, Nic Cage, do you want to drive a badass car?' 'Yes, what do I have to do?' 'You're a sorcerer.' 'I don't give a shit.'" 
  • James: "This movie is actually pretty good."

Plot Holes:
  • Somehow elementary school teacher finds Dave after he wanders many blocks away in NYC, down side alleys and INTO a fucking BUILDING, OUT OF SIGHT. 
  • Shouldn't Balthazar be able to beat Horvatz in a battle, since he has had 1600 years to practice getting better at magic, while Horvatz has been stuck in a doll?
  • Dave fixes the radio station by pushing buttons on a scope. 
  • Train doesn't stop at train station.
  • Undergrad physics student has incredible funding that allows for a secret lair and a bunch of probably expensive techy-Tesla-stuff.
  • Evil sorcerers run away from pipsqueak.
  • Horvath doesn't use the parasite spell on Dave, so he shouldn't get his power.
  • College student radio plays top pop music.

Exceeds Expectations
!Stayed in the cage with One Republic!


Steve M said...

Cage was awesome in this and I wouldn't mind seeing him take on more roles similar to this one. Look at the cover art, doesn't it look like we're about to be treated to 109 minutes of Cage kicking ass and taking names? Oh noooo, I'm afraid not. Prepare to be annoyed to death by some pipsqueak trying to play the part of a nerd with only brief guest appearances by Cage for the final 100 minutes of the movie.

It seems to me that what happened is that Disney took a fairly good idea then decided to make it appeal to the 10-15 year old kids that feel like out cast nerds in school so they can fantasize about saving the world and getting the girl. Yep, pretty certain I would have found this enjoyable when I was 15.

What was most painful for me was the "These aren't the droids you're looking for." scene. Oh please, does the target audience of hormone infused teen boys even know classic Star Wars when they hear it? Maybe that and the Fantasia stuff were put in to entertain the parents of the teens should they happen to be watching it too?

In case I wasn't clear, excellent Cage, great script potential, but totally ruined for adults except apparently for the four that filled out the review matrix above. This could have been epic like LotR, but instead I taste bile in my mouth every time I think of Dave (which is nearly every waking moment).

James Ayers said...

I really didn't think Dave was that bad...

KaBluie said...

#9 The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) First Time View! Loved it! Aside from the 2 non movie projects (The Best Of Times & Industrial Symphony) everything has been great.

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