Friday, 20 August 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Disney turn another old classic into a modern remake that doesn't hold back on action, magic or laughs. It's quite a surprise...

Walking into this I thought it would be another CG-riddled ridiculous Disney money-maker but in all fairness, I quite enjoyed it.

Loosely based on 'Fantasia', Nic Cage (who looks like a weird older version of myself) plays an old wizard looking for Merlin's bloodline which turns up in Jay Baruchel's Dave (who I SWEAR acts just like some weird young Peter Falk) and they have to defeat this evil spirit trapped in a ... doll ... that Alfred Molina's Maxim intends to awaken. There are some other details but that's the basic idea. It obviously deals with confidence, romance, self-belief and I'd like to think the final battle in a fountain is a metaphor for the defeat of a 'wet' incident that plagues the young apprentice to this day, but maybe I'm reading too much into it, after all it's a kids film right?

Cage does his bit as the mentor very well, but you feel like he's holding back at times and too weighed down by the fact he has to take everything seriously to get the plot moving for the reluctant protagonist (which plays the Hero's Journey to a tee). Alfred Molina relishes in his evil persona and looks great doing it, another remarkable turn by one of our well-loved thespians. Which leads me on to one of my favourite British actors Toby Kebbell as he does his best Russell Brand impression as Molina's wacky Essex-boy sidekick. Hell, I don't even mind the love interest too much. Jay Baruchel again does his geeky, awkward acting (which I think is at times a lot better than say Michael Cera) and gets some genuinely funny lines in, but when it all starts getting Disney-esque, where he starts to believe in himself and all that, he does pull it off but you can't help but think he's suddenly jumped into a pool of cheese and left you alone on the sun lounger.

You can't help the Disney edge (or lack of it) and some bits, like the Tesla coils, Monica Bellucci in the end, the ridiculous opening sequence and all that, let it down greatly. Some bits I cracked up in because it was just stupid, not because it was supposed to be funny. The end was just sheer stupidity. But along the way I did enjoy the action scenes, the banter between Cage and Baruchel, the awkward dating scenarios and all that, but there just wasn't enough depth to it to warrant it a must-see. You can pretty much guess what's going to happen in each scene for instance.

However, it's a bit of mindless fun and you can see how it's the same as National Treasure. The kids will love all the magic and nonsense and there's enough for adults to enjoy as well as the teens, so it successfully works on all levels for all audiences. It's just so bloody stupid, cheesy and predictable at times. If you take it for what it is, you won't go wrong. To put it simply, I liked it better than the National Treasures. It gains marks for trying something different at least.

Rating: 7/10

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