(Warning: There is a big spoiler at the end of the review)
Yesterday while my car began its now multi-day visit to the repair shop I walked over to the movie theatre to kill some time with a very early showing of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Going into this film I didn't know much aside from my memories of watching the original Mickey Mouse interpretation in Fantasia. I also knew that Cage's character drove around in what looks like a late 30's Packard, but I'm not 100% sure of that. I love cars and maybe it's a little wrong, but I really wanted to see that car in action.
Now that I have the internet at my disposal I have done some research about the original story. I did not know that this came from a Goethe poem called Der Zauberlehrling. If you can read German I recommend taking a look at the original because it's pretty delightful. Here are few lines from an English translation:
That old sorcerer has vanished
And for once has gone away!
Spirits called by him, now banished, My commands shall soon obey.
Every step and saying That he used, I know,
And with sprites obeying My arts I will show.
Come, old broomstick, you are needed,
Take these rags and wrap them round you!
Long my orders you have heeded,
By my wishes now I've bound you.
Have two legs and stand,
And a head for you.
Run, and in your hand
Hold a bucket too.
While it's a humourous piece the darker side to this poem is obviously the unintended consequences of using skills that you are not ready to for self-serving purposes.
This theme is actually mirrored in the larger story of the new film. I won't spoil for you any of the details in case you want to see it, but the apprentice story and the lesson he must learn is more complex than it first appears. However, what I really like is that there is nothing heavy handed about delivering a message in the movie. Taking Goethe's poem as the source material for the movie I think the writers did a passable job creating a story out of a few lines of 18th century verse.
As far as the film goes there weren't any big surprises. I did enjoy the moments in the film where the special effects and the action sequences felt like homages to old adventure movies like Sinbad, for instance. I don't know if this was intentional on the film makers part, but it reminded me of other films at times. There was some unevenness in the writing. Some lines were laugh out loud funny, but others were just so stupid that it was hard to believe they stayed in the final cut.
My biggest complaint would be some problematic plot points that don't quite mesh and the use of music. I liked the orchestral music, but I did not like the pop songs or how they were used. They were mixed too loudly over the rest of the soundtrack and were jarring and distracting.
Should you see it? Well, that's up to you to decide. If you like movies of this type then I would say catch a matinee when you don't have anything else to do. It's not groundbreaking, but it's not horrible. (And yes, that car looks FANTASTIC)
I really liked that at the end of the film it is the apprentice's girlfriend who really saves the day. What she does is arguably the most valuable act in the final battle and allows them to defeat Morgana.