Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

This movie was a light bit of fluff that my wife, daughter and I enjoyed. Nicolas Cage, pretty much as himself, plays a 1,000 year old wizard, Balthazar who's been locking up evil wizards in something looking like a stack of nesting Russian dolls. The thing is called a Grimhold, I guess because it holds grim contents.In the deepest level of the Grimhold, is Morgana, a witch so tough she was able to kill Merlin himself. In addition to locking up wizards he doesn't agree with, he's also been searching for Merlin's successor, the Prime Merlinian, the one to become the Sorcerer's Apprentice. The Prime Merlinian turns out to be geeky physics student, Dave, played by Jay Beruchel. In an event that could only happen in the movies, Dave has just accidentally bumped into Becky (Theresa Palmer) the beautiful blond he's been in love with since the 4th grade but hasn't seen in 10 years.

Through a series of plot devices, Balthazar's enemy, Horvath, escapes from the Grimhold with plans to release Morgana so together they can raise an army of evil dead wizards and, well, it's not clear what for except it can't be good.

So Balthazar has to get poor old Dave, who's more interested in mooning over Becky, trained up so he can defeat Morgana.

The movie was fun with pretty decent special effects. It doesn't pay to look too closely at what is going on however. We think the movie was poorly edited. For example, there is a scene in the trailers, where Dave shows Becky that he can throw plasma balls (apparently a prime wizardly weapon). That would be sufficient enough to convince me that Dave had otherworldly powers, but this scene does not actually appear in the movie. Becky's acceptance of Dave's powers, based pretty much on incoherent mumblings on his part, really doesn't make sense. This is important because Becky actually plays an important roll in defeating Morgana and she seems to have zero motivation to do the crazy stunt that Dave asks of her.

There is also a dog in this movie for no apparent reason. We think that the dog played some important role based on dialogue which went nowhere but the dog just vanishes with no explaination.

If you haven't already seen it, it's probably too late to catch it. It would make a good choice for a rental or just wait until it shows up on cable. If you like Nicolas Cage you're in for a treat. For reasons known only to the director, Jay Beruchel does a Nicolas Cage impression through most of the movie.

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