So does it seem like we’ve seen an awful lot of Nicolas Cage lately? Probably, because we have. He’s been in around four movies a year for the last few years, and undoubtedly this has something to do with his very public money troubles. And based on said money troubles, I would have expected him to accept every piece of @$%& script that came his way. But the good news is a lot of these movies have been pretty decent, and a few have actually been great. Truthfully, I never used to be a big fan of Cage, but in the last 15 months or so I’ve done a 180 and became a huge admirer of Mr. Over-The-Top, based mainly on his unbelievable performances in ‘The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ and ‘Kick-Ass’. Of course, this big budget film isn’t nearly as good as those much cheaper films. But it’s not bad.
This film is very loosely based on one of the segments of the 1940 animated Disney classic ‘Fantasia’ featuring Mickey Mouse as an apprentice to Merlin. Cage plays an apprentice to the legendary wizard Merlin in 740 A.D. A lot of backstory takes place in the first four minutes of the film, so if you care about that stuff, pay close attention and don’t use that time to hit the restroom or to ready your popcorn. But it doesn’t really matter if you catch it all. Basically, Merlin is betrayed by one of his three apprentices, played by Alfred Molina. And Cage spends the next 1260 years in search of ‘the chosen one’ who would be able to save the world from evil-do-ers Molina and Alice Krige. He finally finds ‘the chosen one’ in the form of a child in 2000. Jay Baruchel plays the 10 year older version in present day. Got it? Sound a bit hokey? Yeah, I kinda agree. But it’s actually a pretty fun ride. Cage and Molina are always reliable for enjoyable, hammy performances. Baruchel is out of his league (and kind of a poor man’s Christian Slater), but I warmed up to him by the end of the film. And the special effects and sets all worked brilliantly. Jon Turtletaub directed, and also directed Cage in the two ‘National Treasure’ films. And Jerry Bruckheimer produced, and he clearly knows his way around producing a movie heavy in action and special effects. Bruckheimer also produced many a Cage film including the ‘National Treasure’ films, ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’, ‘Con Air’, and ‘The Rock’. So these folks all work well together and know what they’re doing.
This is a fun popcorn movie. Nothing more. But I enjoyed it from start to finish, and that was a pleasant surprise.