Thursday, July 22, 2010

Movie Review: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I love "Fantasia" and I have fond memories of Mickey, as the sorcerer's apprentice, misusing the magic hat by making the brooms come to life and do his chores for him. Tsk, tsk. Bad Mickey. He couldn't control the magic and the cleaning supplies go overboard with the cleaning.

One of the things I looked forward to the most when I went to watch "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was Dave's scene with the out of control brooms and cleaning supplies. I read a review that mentioned the same scene, but blasts the movie for not being original enough. The ignorant reviewer is full of smoke, because Disney and Jay Baruchel (who plays Dave) flat out said in an interview that it's an homage to "Fantasia." This movie did a great job bringing animation into real life.

That dragon ring is cool. "If it likes you, you can keep it," said Balthazar to young Dave. Then the dragon comes to life, wraps itself around Dave's finger, and transforms into a ring. Oooh, he's the chosen one. Someone please give me a ring like that! Oh yeah, I've got a thing about rings. Don't always wear them, but love them.

I like Nicolas Cage as an actor. He's on the quirky side. A little off beat. He played Blathazar really well. I believed him as a really old sorcerer who had been traveling the world searching for the Prime Merlinian (the heir to Merlin's powers). A sorcerer like that would be on the quirky and off beat side. A little hard and pushy on his apprentice given what & the years he went through.

Jay Baruchel adds more power to the geek movement. He plays Dave, the Physics geek who plays with Tesla coils, is a lousy liar, works hard for the magic he's been entrusted with, and gives it up for the girl he loves.

That girl would be Becky, played by Teresa Palmer. She's the love interest, but the movie isn't about their relationship so Becky doesn't seem to have so many dimensions. She's pretty and she's a good girl who, according to her, doesn't let one messed up date ruin the relationship. And she also doesn't let one bad sorcerer who kidnapped her, or one eccentric sorcerer who jumped off a building and onto a steel eagle, or one geeky boyfriend who asked her to climb to the top of a building (despite her fear of heights) and destroy private property to knock off the magic connection invisible to her eyes ruin the relationship. Lucky Dave. Moving on.

The effects were great because they threw in some things that I wouldn't think about like the mirrors, the quick sand carpet, and Dave bringing power cords to life to help him defeat Morgana le Fay. That one was good. We knew that Dave and the side of good would ultimately win. Unless you're a kid, you've got to know that even before watching the movie. What we didn't know was how. The how was a throw down between Dave and Morgana. If it was just a classic throw down, then it would have sucked. But Dave had power cords help him out, and that was unexpected.

The eagle and the bull coming to life was a little expected. They've got magic, of course they'll bring things to life. But the effects of those were good. Makes you think differently of the statues and installments you see around the city.

The bad guys (Morganians) weren't all that memorable to me, except for Abigail Williams, the Salem witch, played by Nicole Ehinger. Her small scene was freaky, the kind of freaky that creeps into your dreams without notice. Sneaky freaky.

The movie tried to merge physics and magic together. Dave is so good at physics because of his connection to Merlin and sorcery. Balthazar explains that molecules are always moving thus creating the appearance of a solid object, so if you (as a sorcerer) will the molecules of an object to move faster, the friction will create heat and cause the object to catch on fire. But many the magic in this film isn't so "science" based. Pentagrams, Merlin's Circle, other symbols, spells/incantations, etc. all make appearances. I could do without the physics explanation. Let magic be magic.

Overall, I really like this movie. It has action, humor, and a dose of Disney magic. If anyone can make magic come to life, it's Disney.

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