The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
This tale begins in Britain, 740 AD, the time of Merlin and Morgan le Fay. This is where the foundation for the story is laid with an introduction to Balthazar the good sorcerer, played by Nicolas Cage, Horvath the evil sorcerer, played by Alfred Molina, and the promise of a chosen one or “Prime Merlinian” who would be Merlin’s successor.
Hundreds of years go by and we arrive in New York where Balthazar meets Dave Stutler, the young boy who is to become his apprentice. Very soon all hell breaks loose as these two come under attack from Horvath but the action ends as abruptly as it started when Balthazar traps himself and Horvath in a vase. Another ten years go by before the two sorcerers are freed and the fight continues. Dave, now played by Jay Baruchel, joins the fight and must learn on the go from Balthazar. As Horvath makes preparations to raise an army Dave hones his powers, while winning over the girl of his dreams. Everything culminates in a final battle, with a brilliant display of fireworks, and finishes up pretty much as you would expect.
There have been a few movies in recent years that have started out as a very basic idea and expanded into a screenplay, for example Battleship, based on the game Battleships, though how that game translates into a story I’ve no idea. Disney has drawn on old material for their movies also. Pirates of the Caribbean was based on a ride at Disneyland, as was The Haunted House. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a remake of possibly the most famous story from the musical Fantasia, where the part of the apprentice is played by Mickey Mouse. If you’ve seen the cartoon you’ll remember that the majority of the story was about Mickey using the magic to help himself get the chores done, but getting into trouble because he used it for selfish reasons and yes, of course they recreate that scene, but thankfully there is much more to the story than that. Director Jon Turteltaub loves to have some good old fashioned values and morals in his films and this one is no different.
The effects are well done, the sequence with the tesla coils put to music I found impressive and some of the scenes involving the sorcery I thought were quite clever and original. I had to laugh at one quote which was straight out of Star Wars, and I loved hearing the same old music from Fantasia start up as Dave started to clean the lab using his powers to control the mops. Alfred Molina makes a good villain but Nicolas Cage was unconvincing as the sorcerer. Jay Baruchel is unfortunately the same in everything I see him in. He is likeable but unimpressive. I enjoy the movies he’s in, but it’s no thanks to him. He doesn’t ruin the movie but he doesn’t add anything to it either. In the end this film was a fun ride but don’t set your expectations too high if you haven’t seen it yet.
Written by Ben Freeman