Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Today was my day off work. And as a reward for my lazy day, I decided that it would be a good idea to treat myself to a matinee kind of movie. The other night I was talking to the Charlottan, who said he had already placed Inception into his top 3 movies of all time. That, on top of the good reviews that the movie has received, made me excited to see it. But the Most Awesome Person I Know also wanted to see it, but was unable to go along today. So I said I'd wait.

But I still wanted to see something. I thought the previews for The Sorcerer's Apprentice looked pretty good, so that was my runner-up choice. Not that being second choice means that I didn't want to see it. I just assumed it would be the kind of thing I would wait to watch on DVD. Instead I paid the money for the matinee and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

As a kid, I never really got into Fantasia as a whole. But I did like it when the Disney Channel would show the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment. Could have been because it starred Mickey Mouse. That part with the dancing mushrooms and the hippo ballerinas just seemed weird to me. But the stuff with the sorcerer's hat and the anthropomorphic brooms is just classic. It makes sense to expand the story, modernize it, and turn it into a big-budget special effects powerhouse.

And that's sort of what happened. The story of Balthazar and his apprentice, Dave, was an impressively complex one. Dave starts off as a 10-year-old kid who, as it turns out, is destined to become Merlin's replacement as the world's greatest sorcerer and the only thing standing between humanity and its total destruction at the hands of Morgana Le Fey, Merlin's ancient, evil arch-nemesis. But things get in the way. Balthazar isn't able to teach Dave all that magic stuff right away because their first lesson is interrupted by Horvath, our film's main antagonist. Balthazar and Horvath are trapped in a large urn for 10 years.

Ten years later, Dave finds himself played by Jay Baruchel and is just your typical physics nerd at NYU. He's tried to put all that sorcery stuff behind him, because to him, it was just this really weird, socially damaging thing that happened to him while he was on a 4th grade field trip. But, as luck would have it, it's time for Balthazar (Nicholas Cage) and Horvath (Alfred Molina) to escape from their decade long prison. Just as Dave meets the love of his life, Becky (Teresa Palmer), the girl he hasn't seen since the 4th grade.

I can't say there were any real surprises in the plot. The good guys win and manage to get the girls. Yeah, Balthazar had a girl to save too, but she was more age appropriate, as they were both once apprentices of Merlin. Oh, and they leave it wide open for a sequel too. Not sure if the sequel will happen, but there's definitely an opening for one.

I sort of have a problem with that, though. Not the fact that they give themselves an open door for the part two. Where will the main character's internal struggle be? Jay Baruchel is almost being type cast these days. He's the lovable geek that has little to no self-esteem. He battles his way through the entire movie, lands a girl that's out of his league, and figures out that everyone else believes that he's capable of a great deal, he just needs to believe it himself. So at the end of the movie, he's triumphant and he believes in himself. If he gets to the sequel and doesn't believe in himself again, it's kind of a step backwards.

And how does the geek keep getting these gorgeous women? I mean, I'm a geek, but I've never made time with a hot girl. Maybe it's because he's tall and gangley and his nerdiness gives off a sense of shy vulnerability. Whereas my brand of geek is more akin to a Jonah Hill type of character. The body hair and the extra 20 pounds gives off the aura of the creepy guy that lives in his parents' basement. Kinda removes the "lovable" part from the "lovable loser."


  1. Didn't Jonah Hill kind of land the hot girl in Superbad? ;)

    The whole movie Fantasia turned me off of the Sorcerer's Apprentice sketch. My best friend got it for her birthday in third grade, and after we sat bumfuzzled through half of it, she was begging her parents, "I don't like it! Please! Please, take it back!"

    But the movie still looks pretty okay. :)

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