Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Uh, Oh, It's Magic!
[Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer]

RANT: Not much to rant about today. I did have to go to upstate New Jersey today to make critical electrical repairs to our Summer place, at least according to the notice received in the mail early this week. 150 miles round trip and a couple of 4 inch lag screws later, all was well again. But because of this unforeseen event, I did not get to the movies until very late this afternoon.

SYNOPSIS: After centuries of guarding the prison cell of the evil Morgana and searching for the replacement for the sorcerer Merlin, Balthazar comes across Dave, a young New Yorker who may be the Merlin's replacement and the only one capable of defeating Morgana once and for all.

The critics have been fairly vocal about the failures of Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" live action effort. And according to www.IMDB.com, the user rating is 6.1 out of 10. Are they right? For me, I can always find at least one positive point to a film, but I will try to be as objective as possible.

Director Jon Turteltaub reteams with his "National Treasure" star, Nicolas Cage, for Disney's remake of their classic animated Mickey Mouse sorcerer apprentice tale. A veteran director with numerous film and television episodes under his belt, and his experience with Cage, Turteltaub and Disney were poised to have another decent film on their hands. And the film is just that, decent.

Cage seems only a little out of place as one of three original Merlin apprentices. But only a little. He has been cast in a few questionable roles as of late, but this is not really one of them. As Balthazar, the apprentice sorcerer carries the weight of the loss of his sorcerer love, the betrayal by his friend during the battle with the evil Morgana, and the pursuit for the one who would be the next Merlin.

Jay Baruchel plays Dave, the kid that Merlin's ring attached itself to as the heir of Merlin's powers. After a public embarrassment in front of his 4th grade classmates involving the battling wizards, flash forward 10 years to Balthazar's return where Dave is a physics geek pining away for his lost love during the 4th grade mishap. Baruchel plays the adult Dave with equal parts awe and skepticism of Balthazar's plans for him. His stutter and stammer bring out the rawness of the role.

The villain Harvath, played by Alfred Molina, keeps his character cool with his slick demeanor and an icy tongue. His distain for Balthazar runs far deeper than just siding with Morgana against his own master, Merlin.

Disney does pull out all the stops when it comes to the look of the set pieces and the spells. The training sequences are slick, the battles with Morgana's minions as they are set loose on to the Manhattan skyline are fierce, and the plasma balls are both comical and deadly, depending on whether Balthazar or Dave are handling them.

At the end of the day, some people will like the film, some will love it and some will wonder why they spent the money at the theater. The critics have been critical, as is their nature, but for a couple of hours of mindless magical mayhem, this may do the trick.

Worth: Netflix

I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!

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