Uncagelike - (adjective) A performance that is not reminiscent of Nicolas Cage. Restrained. Uncrazy.
And so the second Jerry Bruckheimer produced action-fantasy based on niche source material starring Alfred Molina and Toby Kebbell of the summer hits the cinemas. It doesn't have the highest standard to beat in Prince Of Persia, a film that if confectionery would be a 10p sweet that you felt overcharged for. The Sorcerer's Apprentice tops it for me, because there's considerably more going on here, despite there not being much going on. Its another thin 'random nobody gets mystical calling' movie that does exactly what it says on the tin. But it entertains, and while again I feel the compulsion to say fuck you to Jerry Bruckheimer for playing so depressingly safe, at least this one has Nic Cage in it.
This has been a bit of a banner year for Cage, recovering seemingly instantly after a troublesome decade that, perhaps, has irreparably tarnished his name. (A decade which also contained Adaptation and Lord Of War by the way, two of the best performances by erm, anyone in the 2000's). Not the bees. This is what people say to me when its time to tell the world how awesome Nicolas Cage is - Three times a day at least- but I'm not here to defend all of Cage's movies. He makes some crap movies. And in these crap movies he can be terrible. But a Cage on his game is something for the books, as cinema goers of 2010 are beginning to re-discover through his scene-stealing turn in the glutinously cult Kick-Ass, and his barnstorming turn in Bad Lieutenant, something I'd pretty much call genius. Now Sorcerer's Apprentice was inevitably going to be a sobering come down, but its not terrible and more importantly he's not terrible, giving a surprisingly contained performance that is most Uncagelike. One might even call it deadpan, leaving it to Alfred Molina to do the scene-stealing. I very much enjoyed his clipped-English villain, powering through familiar scenes with sarcastic panache. Jay Baruchel is an actor I like, and he pulls off the nerdy hero convincingly. Even if the character is a dime-a-dozen geek, complete with nauseating high-school sweetheart subplot.
But like I said, its an enjoyable romp of a movie that generally speaking overcomes its god-given crapness, thanks to the class of a cast it really doesn't deserve, but the Bruckheimer payroll bought it. Cage and Molina lend it both substance and comic relief, Toby Kebbell gives amusing cameo value and if anyone was born to play a near wordless sorceress, it was Monica Bellucci. Who incidentally has ridiculous genes, in that she looks better at 46 then many movie stars did when they were twenty. Even though I'm a man I still feel offended by her attractiveness. Bitch. This is the movie Bruckheimer wanted to make with Prince Of Persia I think, aiming at base, wafer thin entertainment. But whereas POP shot too low even for that, Sorcerer's Apprentice just about hits it.