Random things I thought of while watching ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

No, not the 1940’s Disney story, the 2010 Disney story. The one where a young man is called on to save the world by a strange wizard who makes him his apprentice (the apprentice is also seeking true love).

I’ve been reading a bit of fantasy lately, and felt like watching some with wizards and lightening. The movie is workmanlike, but certainly not brilliant.

I won’t bother too much with the plot – I was more interested in a few other points. One is that the movie gives a significant amount of fictional/fantasy set-piece in the first three minutes. This provides all the context that the viewer needs early on. But it also removes any mystery that’s left. I particularly found this interesting in the context of David Lodge’s distinction between mystery and suspense. A mystery is a question where the how is uncertain – a suspense is a question where the ‘what comes next’ is unknown. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ostensibly has suspense (although you can guess as soon as you’ve heard the premise how it’ll end. You’d be right). But it could have had mystery, too; the unravelling of a strange new world as we follow the protagonist. Instead we tear through it in the first three minutes.

It’s easy, too, to see the three levels of conflict play out. Granted, the sequencing isn’t water-tight, but it’s close. The protagonist experiences an internal change. That has implications for his relationships with other people. Those have implications for humanity.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a good movie. But if you want some low-energy action while you’re doing something else, this isn’t terrible.

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