"Is sorcery science or magic?" (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
One of my pet hates in fiction is the way authors use magic to explain everything they want. There's a line you shouldn't cross in order for a piece to read or watch with any degree of possibility. Ok, fiction is fiction and magic is fiction but there has to be rules or it's not fun anymore. If you can do whatever you want it's boring. I like it when the magic makes sense.
I recently watched the 2010 Sorcerer's Apprentice movie without much in the way of expectation. Surprisingly, I thought it was a rare gem of a movie. It was a perfectly formed ancient magic in the modern world thing with the stereotypical 21st century kid becoming apprenticed to an old, unaging sorcerer and then saving the world from the evil sorcereress that wants to destroy it. It took all the classic magic tropes and had fun with them.
I especially liked it as the magic was explained. The line between magic and science was blurred and the point was the sorcerers used the whole of their brain rather than just the usual parts we use. This meant they manipulated matter but within the parameters of actual science. The kid was super good at physics because of this and the kid's science skill was used to enhance his magic and it therefore made sense he defeated the Big Bad. I like it when there's a reason other than just some sort of destiny based on nothing and vaguely explained by magic.
Also they didn't just use boring magic. So many movies have so little imagination when it comes to magic and just use energy bolts all the time. These guys went for the classics - fire, water, lightning, etc - but added their own flourishes. (Statues coming to life, people trapped in mirrors, rugs like quicksand. You know, interesting stuff.)
The film was generally real fun. There was great humour which relieved the stereotypical end of the world angle. There was an enjoyable homage to Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia when the kid decided the clean up and found the mops developed minds of their own. This kid was an actual geek, which made a nice change. Usually they get a 'fit' actor who tries to pretend to be all awkward but in this case you believed him when he said he wasn't up to saving the world. Which made it all the more epic when he did.
There was a great bad guy in Alfred Molina too. He's one of my favourite villain actors of all time. Also: Nicolas Cage. I don't usually like him that much but my opinion of him went up considerable after this. It might have been the epic trench coat, old man shoes and cool old-fashioned car..
The fact the plot also included a rather glorious thousand year love story added to my enjoyment. It's always about a wench but in this case it made sense and personally I thought it was rather beautiful. The relationships were good and that always improves the believability of fiction. The best was by far the relationship that developed between the Sorcerer and his apprentice. The mutual life saving that went on at opportune moments was the sort that inspired a fair amount of fangirling. I just wanted to give the Sorcerer and Apprentice and big hug.
I shamelessly admit, this is one of my new favourite films.