Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Reviewed at The Cinematheque

I was already pissed (but not surprised) about Disney transforming their wonderful Fantasia episode into a live-action big budget picture, and thus, I had no intention of seeing it.  Granted, I do often skip the cheesier looking franchises anyway (for fear of wasting my time that could be well-spent watching more important films than these) but this one seemed even cheesier than most.   Yet something kept nudging my thoughts back to seeing it (probably my on again, off again relationship with Nic Cage and his acting career) so alas, I went and saw the damned thing.

There is something to be said about seeing Nic Cage and Alfred Molina going mano y mano in full-out sword & sorcery mode.  Of course, since the movie is from Disney (and rated a safe n sudsy  PG-13) and Jon "median strip" Turtletaub is the director (and Jerry "formula film" Bruckheimer is the producer), that something ends up being a rather bland something.  Yet, in amongst all that boiler plate banter, is a film that is quite surprisingly entertaining - to a point.

Cage & Molina do their best (though Cage is much better when left out of his, um, cage and allowed to go all batshitcrazy - a la Wild at Heart, Vampire's Kiss, Bad Lieutenant) but the film falters due to its (obvious and not the least bit startling) franchise-forming, product-placement ordinariness.  In other words, like much of modern mainstream moviemaking, it is dumbed down for the masses, and made into a safe (and quite predictable) product of Hollywood - taking no chances at all.  Then again, I suppose that is just what the reality-TV-obsessed mass audience wants.

Ah well, there are worse movies out there (much worse!) and worse ways to kick off an inevitable Hollywood franchise (much worse). Unlike most of them (the ones I have deigned to see) The Sorcerer's Apprentice held my interest - at least half-heartedly - for most of the time I sat there in the theater.

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