The Sorcerer's Apprentice: The Curse of Buying Big Houses

cage2 The Sorcerers Apprentice: The Curse of Buying Big Houses

Watch as I make my fortune disappear!

Contributing Writer: Nick Frantz

Grade: C

If Nicolas Cage had a good accountant, I’m convinced he could have been one of the great actors of his era.

Remember his Best Actor-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas? The sheer fun of dual roles in both Face/Off and Adaptation? Even recently, he was great in Kick-Ass. Sadly, Cage is in a contest, solely with himself, to buy the most over-priced homes in every major metro area; so he has to make movies like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is sort of fun and draws a couple of chuckles. 8-year-old Nick probably would have loved it. But in 2010, the movie never seems to rise to the stakes it claims–a zombie uprising lead by the evil Sorceress Morgana Le Fay.

Disney’s request that the movie stay PG keeps it from packing any real punch and leads to scenes like the one in Chinatown where an evil sorcerer (a Morganian, for those who have to have team names) turns a traditional dragon dance into an actual dragon. Once the dragon is burned up by the good sorcerers (the Merlinians), the people who were inside the dragon during its transformation are left staring blankly, safe and sound on the ground when, by all rights, they should be extra-crispy.

 The Sorcerers Apprentice: The Curse of Buying Big Houses

"Do as I command! Empty your wallets!"

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is loosely based on Fantasia, in that it contains a remake of the famous scene where Mickey Mouse tries in vain to control an army of brooms that he brought to life. Unfortunately for the remake, Mickey has 10,000 times the charisma and depth of Jay Baruchel, who plays Dave, the apprentice to Nicolas Cage’s Balthazar.

The movie’s premise (to call it a plot would be generous) is that Balthazar must train Dave to defeat Horvath and Morgana. Once upon a time, Horvath and Balthazar were joined by Veronica as the three apprentices to Merlin. Horvath, though, betrayed Merlin and Veronica was forced to sacrifice her body by absorbing Morgana’s soul and ensnaring it in a nesting doll.  Confused yet?  So were the writers.

So Balthazar was tasked with finding Merlin’s heir, dubbed the Prime Merlinian, obviously by someone who spent way too much time studying longitude.

Bumbling idiot Dave is found to be the PM and through a series of “plot twists” including pants-wetting, ancient Chinese urns that ensnare people for 10 years, Tesla coils, and a happenstance meeting with a childhood sweetheart, he trains with Balthazar to learn to harness Merlin’s powers and defeat the Morganians.

Through it all, I was left with lots of questions. Why does a music major have to take physics at NYU? Why isn’t there a city ordinance prohibiting summoning of the undead from a fountain in Battery Park? Would Disney have made more money simply by re-releasing Fantasia than commissioning this remake? When did producer Jerry Bruckheimer start making PG Disney movies instead of Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, The Rock, and Black Hawk Down?

 The Sorcerers Apprentice: The Curse of Buying Big Houses

From the person who brought you this.

Who is the cute blonde that plays Dave’s love interest (Wait, I can answer that one! She’s Teresa Palmer, an Australian who was also in Bedtime Stories–just not my bedtime stories). During a car chase where the sorcerers keep transforming their cars, why doesn’t one of them turn theirs into a tank?

These questions are of more interest than much of the middle act. And, of course, being a Disney movie, you know the film ends with a major sequel possibility

But instead, let me issue this plea:  please stop buying houses, Nicolas Cage, so that no more “sorcering” needs, well, “sorcing”.

In the end, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is not a bad movie, just an inconsequential one that will leave very little by which to remember it.

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