Instead of a mouse causing chaos cleaning a castle, we instead get some nerdy American teen being landed with the responsibility of saving us all from the most famous of evil witches Morgana Le Fay. Yes that lady who betrayed Merlin has been trapped in Russian Matryoshka doll (called something else here) by Cage’s well to do long haired sorcerer. Having spent centuries looking for the one who will bring about peace for humanity, Cage has had to do battle with many a foe including a former ally turned villain (Alfred Molina).
The film opens with a blur of this information, skipping through time and incident until we reach present day to find our young hero having his first encounter with Cage and magic at an early age. Of course, his claims are debunked and laughed at by fellow pupils at his school and so naturally traumatises him into his geeky teens where he spends his time being a nerd, knowing sciencey stuff and hoping to one day lay down with the blondest of the dumbs from school.
Re-enter Cage and the charge he wishes to lay on the lad which then hurls us into many a magical set piece and moments of comedy as the idiot screws everything up. Yes, it’s all coming of age and finding your confidence and not a heck of a lot else.
With Cage back on form this year in Bad Lieutenant, it’s a surprise to see him playing his role so straight, with a constant frown on his face, but if you had to babysit such an inept loser of a hero you’d probably find it frustrating too. The mere fact that the kid happens to be a modern day American white nerd, I’m sure, was never an issue with the producer.
What we have here is a formula and for the better part of the film it works well enough for the crowd that it is playing too. The effects are largely impressive enough, the villain on good form and the tone of the film very light. That’s pretty much all the prerequisites you need for dumb summer fun.