Friday, July 9, 2010

Rant #295: In the Heat, It's Magic

OK, so Lebron James is now a member of the Miami Heat.

The Knicks, as I figured they would, got a player, Amare Stoudemire, but still don't have a team that is even near competing.

The Cavaliers got bubkis, shafted by their biggest star.

What is a poor boy to do amid all of this bubbermeiser nonsense?

Go to the movies on a hot summer night.

I won free tickets to see a preview of a new Disney flick, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and my family and I went to see it last night.

My review: although it was a little slow early on, it picked up as the movie wore on, and I must say that I was quite surprised that I liked it!

The plot is pretty straight-forward: Master sorcerer Balthazar Blake, played by Nicholas Cage, recruits a seemingly everyday guy, played by Jay Baruchel, in his mission to defend New York City from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath, played by Alfred Molina.

As you would expect, the plot takes a lot of twists and turns before it settles in to your "normal" good vs. bad theme.

Baruchel's David Stutler is a nerd of the highest order, but a real smart nerd who is into physics like ants get into picnics. He was a nerd even as a kid, but had the hots in fourth grade for Becky, played by hottie Teresa Palmer. On a school outing, she writes him an answer to his note about whether she is his girlfriend.

However, the note blows away into a weird emporium, and David goes chasing after it. There he meets Blake, who says that David is the one he has been looking for for eons, the one who will become the master sorcerer, the replacement for Merlin the Magician.

But it isn't easy as 1-2-3. Not only does David have to team up with Blake to do battle with the evil Maxim Horvath, but he has to battle his own devils in his relationship with Becky, who he has met by chance as a college student.

Sure, this sounds hokey, and it really is. But it is fun, and a perfect family movie for the summer.

Cage seems really into what he is doing--I often get the sense that he is sleepwalking through his roles--but this time, as one of the film's producers, he has a greater stake in the proceedings.

Baruchel is perfect as the nerd. He looks like a young Jerry Lewis, and he has the blips to really go over well with nerds and non-nerds.

Molina does what he can with his role, which is pretty much evil incarnate. He does it with a flair and style that pretty much steals the movie.

Director Jon Turtletaub keeps the action moving pretty steady after a little bit of a bumpy ride early on. The special effects are excellent, and even though with the little capsule I gave you, you pretty know how the film will work itself out, I would recommend this, especially for a family audience.

(And yes, the film does pay homage to the Sorcerer's Apprentice scene in "Fantasia," but I won't ruin it for you by telling you about it here.)

There are plenty of movies out for families, but most of them are computer-generated cartoons. Here is a live-action family film that, while not the greatest movie ever made, still holds up pretty well.

I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Well worth your while to see.

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