If there was any doubt after National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets that director Jon Turteltaub and Nicolas Cage were intent on taking a concept loaded with romance and adventure and old-fashioned Hollywood magic — the case of those films, ancient artifacts and secret societies and archeological awesomeness — and rendering it down into the blandest possible brand of new-fashioned Hollywood pap, this new movie should put that to rest. How is it possible that magic and evil and covert operations and old books and dragons and even cool cars can be made to look so damn dull? Are they actively aiming to remove all sense of actual danger and hence actual adventure from their films?
And I hate to sound like a broken record, but why couldn’t the sorcerer’s apprentice who’s gonna save the world be an ordinary dorky college student who’s a girl? Whose unexpected marvelousness subsequently catches the eye of the most gorgeous guy in Chem 101? Will we ever get a movie like this — a summer tentpole would-be blockbuster that someone lavished $200 million on — that will acknowledge that female human people are good for more than just standing around gazing adoringly at a nerd who happens to stumble into something cool? Could someone please inform Hollywood that girls like doing cool stuff, too, not just watching it from afar?