Day 69: 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'

'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'

I've only been back in L.A. for a day, so hopefully everyone will excuse me mixing up the movie schedule one more time. Instead of catching Breakfast at Tiffany's right now at the Aero theater by my house, I'm at the office typing up a mid-morning screening of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Trust me, those extra few hours between getting done at 9pm as opposed to midnight have a humongously beneficial impact on my mental stability.

Of course, sitting through Nic Cage's curious take on a Disney cartoon sequence a few days earlier than expected could be argued otherwise. There are a lot of elements that look out of place in this expanded tale, not the least of which is the famous dancing mops scene lifted from Fantasia. It's cute and all in live-action, but what it has to do with this tale of battling sorcerers and a modern day physics geek...I'm not entirely sure...

As a rule of thumb, animated sequences and amusement park rides are better left to amuse in their original format. Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow notwithstanding, it's best to come up with, you know, an original idea (thankfully, Inception also opens this week). Nic Cage and collaborators Jon Turteltaub and Jerry Bruckheimer do their best to fill out the short animation with a full-length special effects extravaganza, but honestly - you've seen this before. Jay Baruchel of Tropic Thunder and She's Out of My League infamy does his usual schlubby college kid bit, while Cage plays the sorcerer role to the hilt, straight up, in a stringy blond wig that David Lee Roth could be proud of. Actually, if Cage had infused the part with a little more of his trademark kookiness, that might have added something.

I'll give the film a few points for providing some chuckles here and there, and lots of action and people throwing pulses of energy at each other for the 14-year-old fanboy set. Plus, there were no CGI-wolves which is always a bonus. After this movie, though, and this summer's earlier Prince of Persia, someone should remind producer Bruckheimer that there really is no need to pack on extraneous exposition to movies based on rides, cartoons or video games. His own Beverly Hills Cop clocked in at a light and funny 90 minutes, and is still light years beyond either of these pics for summer moviegoing entertainment value.

Question to users: you're trapped on a island and can only take along one Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Which do you grab? I vote for Cop, but if someone already has that DVD, then I'm taking Top Gun...or maybe National Treasure. And I stay as far as humanly possible away from Armageddon and the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

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