I remember wanting very much to see the film when it came out in the summer of 2010. Despite how many people are split between Nicolas Cage, I tend to be in the camp more enjoying his work. Again, the act of the man outside of film means nothing to me. (I’m looking at you Tom Cruise.) So again, each film is a case-by-case basis. Cage is a good actor just chooses eclectic roles that are all over the map.
I always loved the concept of doing The Sorcerer's Apprentice as a film. While I wasn’t fond of the modern day setting, Disney did ‘okay’ with the Pirates´ saga and I was willing to give this a chance/shot. This was one that I thought would be really cool. Also it had Jay Baruchel, who I adored in She’s Out Of My League and the never bad presence (despite the movie itself) of Alfred Molina.
But the movie came out and not a lot of people saw it, and some of my friends who did, most of them gave it a pass as a recommendation.
So when it was recently added as a part of the deal with Netflix and the Starz Network, I lapped up the chance to view it with Online Streaming.
I am glad my expectations were very low by the point I watched it as I feared I would have been very not happy with the movie, more than I am now, way back in the summer of 2010. The script and story are very undercooked, and because of that characters who are mildly interesting fall flat very quickly. If it isn’t for Molina and Baruchel’s charm up until the mid-way point leading to the climatic battle, I would have stopped watching all together.
And story of Nic Cage’s wizard Balthazar Blake being an apprentice of Merlin the great, his duty to save his love (another apprentice of Merlin) and to find Merlin’s long lost heir/ next chosen one who can wear the gnarly dragon ring is interesting. I forget the name of the ring, but does it matter? We know automatically going in that Baruchel will get the ring and be the chosen one. But you have to make it interesting. The whole first half of the film itself feels truncated, a bit short. I always love me a geeky/nerdy-underdog character and Baruchel is the very epitome of that, and to see him try to take on the powers of Merlin’s ring is all kinds of awesome. But again, that’s in theory. The final execution is a lot of disappointment ultimately, but if your settings are very high then it won’t be all bad.
Beyond coming short on story, the film is entertaining pop-corn fluff. Just after Disney did so well with the Jack Sparrow films, one would expect it would carry over here too. It’s worth a watch but if you do watch and feel bored, Chinatown begins to pick the film up and show the real capacity for how the film could be if it had a bit more heart. The battle at the end is also pretty neat if not a bit ‘wait, he just does that’? with a nod of that question leaning towards Jay’s Dave character.
Some other little plus or minuses with the film and the biggest in my opinion, was the actual scene that the film was based after which, has a homage of. And it’s a pretty p*ss-poor one at that. The whole film seems to not want to do that. The original wizard name was Yensid, why not name Nic Cage’s character that? Have fun with tying together the property not try to make it so much it’s own thing that it falters, which is surely what The Sorcerer's Apprentice does.
Currently The Sorcerer's Apprentice is available on DVD and Instant-Streaming on the Netflix Queue.