[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005OS2QX2][/pullquote] In 1940 Disney released it’s original animated feature, Fantasia. It was made from a collection of short animated films, all tied together with the use of classical music. The most famous of these segments was entitled ˜The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’ In 2010, this small concept was expanded into a full-length feature film starring Nicolas Cage as the sorcerer Balthazar Blake and Jay Baruchel as his apprentice, Dave.
The plot of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as such as there is one begins with an ˜epic’ showdown between Merlin and Morgana le Fay (Alice Krig) that ends with a host of powerful mystical characters, including the always entertaining Horvath (Alfred Molina) and the ˜lost love Veronica (Monica Bellucci) being locked in the Grimhold (a pot). Balthazar is entrusted with guarding the pot until the time comes when the ˜Prime Merlinian’ will rise from obscurity to harness Merlin’s powers once again in the battle against the Morganians. If this sounds like gibberish, it’s because it is. The makers of the film have clearly just taken any historical or fantastical name they could get their hands on and bastardised them into the ridiculous. Yet strangely this is not the worst aspect of the film.
When Nicolas Cage became a household name in the late 1990s, it was off the back of exciting and interesting performances in Raising Arizona, Con Air and Face Off. He took what could’ve been ridiculous roles and made them at least watchable and most of the time highly entertaining. Then, something happened. He stopped trying. His performances became boring, stale and uninteresting. In recent years there have been a seemingly never-ending slew of films from the man who so famously gave up his famous Coppola surname in order to make his own way in the movies. Cage is paired with relative newcomer Jay Baruchel. In previous films he has played the geeky underdog part very convincingly and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice appeared to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately his nasal tones become very annoying, very quickly and he doesn’t even have the quick quips that he was afforded in previous incarnations of the same basic character.
Early in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Balthazar explains to Dave that magic is not really magic, but is in fact a form of science. One wonders why the film-makers decided to approach it’s subject matter in this way. The cynical might say that there was a potential backlash from the religious right wing in America and they wanted to maximise their profits. Either way, with the magic goes the fun and no amount of Alfred Molina sinister dialogue can save such a mess of a film.
It’s such a shame that a film with so much potential in ideas could fall so flat on it’s face time and time again with bad casting, bad performances and a bad script. Abra-ca-DUD!