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The title sounds like someone just realized they were apprehensive about becoming an apprentice, which isn’t too far off from premise of the latest Bruckheimer mega-budget adaptation of something small into something massive.  First it was a theme park ride, then a video game, and now a non-animated version of the Fantasia short about The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice boils down to “The Karate Kid” meets “Harry Potter,” with maybe a dash of “Ghostbusters” to keep it interesting.” Walter Addiego San Francisco Chronicle

We take those cinema components, throw them in a cauldron, mumble some Latin over the proceedings, and then….someone needs to help me out, I’m not a magician.

“Turteltaub strives to show us realistic-looking magic, without realizing he’d be better off if he acknowledged that there’s no such thing. Instead, we get human figures that emerge “magically” from swarms of cockroaches and sorceresses who dissolve into dust particles right before our eyes. It’s the best CGI money can buy, and who cares?” Movieline Stephanie Zacharek

Movie magic failed to convince you the magic was real.  FYI: Pandora isn’t a real planet, superheros don’t exist, and Harry Potter’s wand is a stick.

“The lively verbal sparring between the good and evil sorcerer-apprentice pairs sustains the movie, but, with a predictable plot, by-the-numbers action-movie jolts and no real sense of wonder, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is really just a pumpkin.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jennie Punter

This feels like a plot twist somehow.

“A two-hour trailer: explosion, shape-shift, chase, wisecrack, repeat. Its most amazing trick will be how it vanishes from your memory before the seat you vacate has stopped moving.” New York Post Kyle Smith

KaBoom!  (Transform), ———> “Actually, the film’s most amazing trick is vanishing money from your pocket.” KaBoom!  (Transform), ———>

“On the whole, the movie is more Cheez Whiz than wizardly.” Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey

If Arthur C Clarke was right and “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” then Cheez Whiz might as well have been invented by Merlin.

“Cage gets paid and kisses Monica Bellucci. I burned off 2 hours in Hell. This movie is not for kids, it’s for toddlers.” Victoria Alexander FilmsInReview.com

You’re recommending two hours in Hell for toddlers?  Why do you want to torture our future?

“The magic here feels machine-made and depressingly state-of-the-art.” Variety Justin Chang

Machine-made, state-of-the-art impossibilities are responsible for dazzling the eye with unreal magic, as well as providing the basis for the science fiction dreamscape of Christopher Nolan’s Inception (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Can a blockbuster with a multimillion dollar budget really be this smart, moving and intellectually thrilling? Pinch yourselves, we could still be dreaming.” Film4

Based on that example, critics seem to fall into one of two camps: 1) people who had their heads spun around, leaving them with lots of questions 2) people whose heads are still spinning.

“Nolan blurs the distinction between dreams and reality so artfully that Inception may well be a masterpiece masquerading as a summer blockbuster.” New York Post Lou Lumenick

With such a great ‘hide in plain sight’ disguise, the movie aims to get the commendations and the cash.

“It’s a bold, stunning feature of impossible technical virtuosity. It also has the tendency to be about as emotionally stimulating as a college lecture.” Brian Orndorf Sci-Fi Movie Page

Speaking as a college lecturer, I offer an emotionally-charged “Hey!”

“Inception is the blockbuster we’ve all been thirsting for, a sleek brain-twister that makes the other 2010 mainstream releases look puny, drab and empty-headed in comparison.” Randy Myers Contra Costa Times

An empty-headed competitor says “Hey!”

“In this wildly ingen­ious chess game, grandmaster Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big. How cool is that?” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

If you like chess and knockouts, consider Chess Boxing

“At first, Inception left me cold, feeling as if I’d just eavesdropped on somebody’s bad acid trip. Now I find I can’t get the film out of my mind, which is really the whole point of it, isn’t it?” Peter HowellToronto Star

So, the film is either a college lecture, a chess match, or an exercise in voyeuristic hallucination. Does anyone else have an amusing metaphor or analogy that could confuse us further?

“Watching Inception is like striking a match and setting your brain on fire.” Joshua Tyler CinemaBlend.com

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the mental pyromania.

“A sublime brain-twister of a movie that plays out so intricately on so many levels simultaneously that a bathroom break comes at your own peril.” Lou Lumenick New York Post

King Sheep is glad movies can’t be converted into 3Pee

7 Responses

  1. I actually like Cheez Whiz more than wizardry…

  2. It’s funny – I took the part about Inception being “as emotionally stimulating as a college lecture” as a good thing the first time I read it. I guess I associate college lectures with positively stimulating amazingness… but maybe that is because I have watched Pat teach.

  3. I’m very excited about Inception and glad to see something finally getting decent reviews.

  4. “You’re recommending two hours in Hell for toddlers?”

    Pat should teach a class for movie reviewers. The title: Metaphor Continuity. It could be a big hit.

  5. I might actually have to go see Inception now.

  6. I know it would be smarter & hipper to be more critical of Inception, but I loved it. Yowza!

  7. The thing I love most about Inception is that two days later I’m still curled up in the fetal position crying and rocking back and forth. There hasn’t been a movie since ________ that’s done this to me.

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