UK cinemas will be blessed with arrival of Walt Disney's new movie THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE which comes out 13th August. Much like May's release of The Prince of Persia, Disney has invested heavily into both properties hoping to trigger an incipient franchise that will carry on for years and guarantee future box-office coin. How unfortunate for Disney that neither movie has lived up to the collective $400 million production investment. Having seen both these movies I can only assume much of the problem lies in the soulless exercise of exploiting brand recognition while disregarding quality storytelling. Both these Jerry Bruckheimer produced fantasy films are a cynical marketing implementation that insults audience intelligence by creating vacuous confections with zero narrative skill.
Yet who can blame Disney executives for wanting to trigger off a successful movie fantasy franchise. The last decade was a wonder for movie brands and reaped fantastic financial dividends for all concerned. Fantasy films seemed to be the cinematic Holy Grail and we couldn't get enough of them. The Noughties was the decade when we realised superheroes films resulted in gold-plated movie franchises with panoply of titles like The X-Men, Spiderman, Batman (rebooted), Iron Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four et al cultivating huge enthusiasm like never before. If you cast your minds back to the 70s, 80s and 90s you'll see that, with the exception of Superman and Batman, no other superhero franchises really took off, although both these franchises also imploded during this time. During the Noughties the track record for superhero movies has been staggering and continues to go from strength to strength. Even the recent franchise revivals of Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes worked successfully due to the fact the protagonists had been refurbished with comic book-type qualities. The Noughties also gave birth to another lucrative fantasy franchise that took off in a massive way. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were fantasy films that revelled in their fantastical worlds of resplendent imagery and magical themes. It's this brand of fantasy franchise that's proved most rewarding for audiences and critics, but not so much for studios attempting to replicate their success. While superhero movies remain potent performers, fantasy films engineered for mass audience consumption have fallen by the wayside. Just look at the shit summer Disney are having with their Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince of Persia. What's more is neither film was cheap to make. In fact, they were real fucking expensive.