Review: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

July 17, 2010 at 12:48 am 1 comment

Based on the poem that inspired the animated short in Disney’s Fantasia, Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the latest big-budget Hollywood tentpole film from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.  And, true to form, it’s a slick, loud, and generally entertaining two hours at the cinema.

Nicholas Cage plays the ‘sorcerer’ named Balthazar, a 1,000-year-old sorcerer who studied under the legendary Merlin.  After being betrayed by Balthazar’s friend, and fellow Merlin pupil, Horvath (Alfred Molina), Balthazar wandered the Earth, looking for the true heir of Merlin so that he may stop Horvath for good and free Balthazar’s long lost love, Veronica (Monica Bellucci).  His centuries-long quest has led him to Dave (Jay Baruchel), a shy kid in New York who just happens to be the heir of Merlin.

Fast forward about ten years and young Dave is a college student who’s life is turned upside down when Horvath sets out to look for a magical doll that has trapped Merlin’s nemesis, Morgana (Alice Krige).  Balthazar enlists Dave’s help in tracking down said doll and put an end to Horvath’s schemes once and for all.

If the above sounded like the plot to a kids’ adventure book, that’s actually the feeling I got when watching The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  That’s not to say this movie is like a bad children’s book; it’s actually pretty good, if predictable.  As with Turteltaub and Cage’s last few outings (the National Treasure flicks), this movie is paced rather quickly, with just enough explosions to qualify this as a summer movie. The only time the story slows down is when Dave tries to get with fellow college student Becky (Teresa Palmer), who also happens to be Dave’s childhood crush.

Jay Baruchel is fun to watch in this movie, and holds his own very well against Cage.  Though Baruchel is pretty much being type-casted in this role, there’s no denying he’s pretty good at playing the geeky, awkward twenty-something who likes the pretty girl next door.  Nicholas Cage, on the other hand, is a bit of an anomaly here.  From what I understand, Cage got on board the project rather early, and has been one of the driving forces to get the movie made.  His performance was pretty average, even at times seeming like he’s just phoning it in.  I kind of expected him to be a just little crazy, especially having spent the past millenium looking for a boy who just might be the next great sorcerer.

Alfred Molina is fine here, but nothing that special.  His ‘Horvath’ is your typical suave, snobbish villain that could easily be found in a James Bond movie.  He does have a sidekick in the form of Drake Stone (Toby Kebbell), who’s actually pretty funny in some scenes.  I would’ve also liked to see more of Monica Bellucci, as she’s relegated to basically a cameo.

I could easily see this as being a pretty fun book series, a la the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson franchise.  There’s colorful characters, a magic-meets-science approach to the supernatural, and a fairly epic, century-spanning struggle between good and evil.  Although a little long (at almost two hours), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a fun, family-friendly, adventure that should please the kids.

7.5/10

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Danish  |  July 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I loved The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, my only problem was it seemed to go by too fast. That was probably in my head but I hope they release an extended edition on DVD. It was funny, it was interesting and it was action packed. Although some of the plot wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, it wasn’t the parts that counted. Romance can only get so revolutionary. The action was great coupled with the special effects made it highly enjoyable. I loved the bit with Merlin and am looking forward to a sequel. I recommend this movie for teens and preteens, but maybe not for adults. It was darker than most Disney films, which I enjoyed but it may still be too childish for some adults.

    Reply

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