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The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A 2010 fantasy adventure film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

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It's a Fantasy, but it's Hardly Magical

  • Jul 14, 2010
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was made to accommodate the attention spans of the age group it's intended for. It doesn't have much of anything in the way of plot or character development, but it has plenty of action and lots of dazzling visual effects for children and young teenagers to gawk at in amazement. Watching this movie, I thought back to the first time I saw "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," another fantasy film that relied heavily on action and special effects; yes, but it also told a story, and the characters were wonderfully defined, and the visual effects felt genuinely magical. For "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," the effects zooming around the screen seem to be nothing more or less than a marketing gimmick for packaged products. Can't you just see the action figures and play sets this film could inspire?

The title is, of course, a reference to the most famous animated sequence from "Fantasia," in which a robed Mickey Mouse dons his master's magic blue hat and unintentionally wreaks havoc by bringing brooms to life. The film "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" pays tribute with a live-action version of this scene, mops and buckets and spray cleaners flying all around and sloshing water all over the floor while the soundtrack plays a newly orchestrated rendition of Paul Dukas' score. Aside from the fact that today's children are unlikely to know of such a film as "Fantasia," this scene lacks the charm and wonder of the original animated sequence, in all likelihood because the aim was to be funny instead of magical. Indeed, the filmmakers regard this movie not as an adventure, but rather as a challenge to make every scene as funny as possible. Some moments naturally lend themselves to comedy, but others simply don't require the insertion of a joke.

The film opens, as many fantasy films open, with an exposition-crammed prologue the target audience is likely to ignore, save for the visual effects. We learn that, thousands of years ago, the wizard Merlin had three apprentices, one of whom was a traitor. Of the two loyal apprentices, one sacrificed her well being to entrap an evil enchantress; they, along with the traitor, were then imprisoned in a device made to look like a wooden stacking doll. A dying Merlin entrusted his remaining apprentice, now a master sorcerer and apparently ageless, to search the world for a protégé who can carry on the traditions of magic. A montage reveals, mostly by costume changes, that this sorcerer searched for this special someone for centuries.

Flash forward to the year 2000. In New York City, a ten-year-old boy on a field trip named Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry) wanders away from his group and stumbles upon that most reliable of fantasy film clichés: The out-of-the-way antique shop no one ever seems to visit. Inside, he meets the ageless sorcerer, named Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage), and while the earlier montage showed him neatly dressed in suits appropriate to the era, he now looks like a bum in a black raincoat, his hair greasy and unkempt, his face stubbly. When presented with a special ring, Dave shows every sign of being the successor Balthazar has been looking for. But before anything can become of it, Dave accidentally breaks open the stacking doll, releasing the treacherous apprentice, whose name is Maxim Hovarth (Alfred Molina), who carries a cane and dresses like Oscar Wilde's evil twin.

I will skip a number of tedious details and flash forward to the present day, where a twenty-year-old Dave (Jay Baruchel), now a college physics student who's really into Tesla coils, reunites with Balthazar and reluctantly agrees to be his apprentice; they must stop Hovarth from unleashing dark forces that would raise an army of the undead to take over the world. It's always about saving the world, isn't it? Perhaps if Dave had gone beyond the conventions of a nerdy caricature, this might not have bothered me. Alas, he's so thinly developed that he seems like a dweeb even when he makes magic balls of light appear out of thin air. There's no sense that somewhere deep within is a hero waiting to emerge; if this were any other fantasy, he would be the comedy relief, not the main character.

Interspersed within sequences of training and fighting - all related to magic and, strangely enough, science - is a completely unnecessary subplot involving a college student named Becky (Teresa Palmer), the one girl Dave has had a crush on ever since the fourth grade. For someone who has never seen magic before, she's remarkably understanding and supportive of Dave's abilities. She didn't feel appropriate. She felt like a contrivance, an excuse for the obligatory damsel in distress to be worked into a fantasy. But never mind that; Palmer and Baruchel have absolutely no chemistry, so it wouldn't have mattered what either of them said or did because they shouldn't have been cast together in the first place. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" may be a decent sight and sound spectacle for younger audiences, but making the story and the characters work would have required a rewrite, with a little help from a real act of magic.

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October 31, 2012
I hate to say it, but this actually grew on me after awhile. It is just fun entertainment that I don't need to think about LOL
More The Sorcerer's Apprentice (201... reviews
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Fantasy Movie With Sorcery...Not a Movie About Sorcery...
The Mickey Mouse short story in “Fantasia”. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll know exactly what the creators of “National Treasure” have cooked up in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” since it is loosely based on that short. Well, I do respect what Bruckheimer has done for movies such as “The Rock” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”; every so often he does impress me and this latest film may well prove to be fun to some viewers …
review by . May 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Brooms! Folks, there are brooms in The Sorcerer's Apprentice! You know, just like in the Disney short from Fantasia that inspired it! They're used to clean, get out of control, and are dispersed by an actual sorcerer, just like Mickey Mouse's brooms!    The Sorcerer's Apprentice is what happened when someone took the Mickey Mouse short, threw in a small dash of Arthurian legend, crumpled it up like aluminum foil, warped it through time, and tossed it a third of the way around …
review by . August 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There is a reason we are all put on this planet   some of  us have not found those reasons while others have discovered the reasons  earlier than most and chases after them until they can firmly hold the power they are meant to have in the palm of there hands. Some are meant to be doctors, some are meant to be lawyers, some are meant to be cops, bank mangers, soldiers,  politicians, historians, film directors, screen play writers, film critics, novelists  the list …
review by . March 15, 2011
I remember walking around NYC during the spring of 2009 and seeing bright orange and yellow signs taped to various parking signs and lamp poles notifying drivers that there is no parking on that given street due to a production shooting in the area.  I had seen the signs before, but these were different and I wanted nothing more than to try and find some way to be a part of it.  So after a week of seeing these various signs around I decided that the next time I was available …
Quick Tip by . December 09, 2010
Inventive special effects and solid acting, but the standard reluctant-hero-saves-the-world story could have used some polishing. Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel are great together, by the way!
Quick Tip by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Imaginative, humerus, fats paced and at times witty however that alone is not able to completely able to save this semi-satisfying action-adventure fantasy comedy from being better than it should be but less that it could have been. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" however has one redeeming quality it is extremely enjoyable and highly entertaining however, as entertaining as it might be it is not enough to save it from lacking true movie magic.
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a 2010 fantasy adventure film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the team behind the National Treasure franchise. The story is said to have been loosely based on the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment in Disney's Fantasia, which in turn is based on the late 1890s symphonic poem by Paul Dukas and the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad.

Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan fighting against the forces of evil, in particular his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), while searching for the person who will inherit Merlin's powers. This turns out to be Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a physics student at New York University, whom Balthazar takes as a reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling apprentice a crash course in the art and science of magic and sorcery, in order to stop Horvath and Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige) from destroying the world.

The film was originally set to be released on July 16, 2010, but was instead released two days earlier on July 14, 2010.
  • Poster art for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
  • Who doesn't wish they could unleash fire from their fingertips and make mops come to life?The Sorcerer's Apprenticeenjoyably captures this fantasy as a young physics student named Dave (Jay Baruchel,She's Out of My League) learns that he's the inheritor of the powers of Merlin--and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a war between ...
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    Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
    Release Date: July 16, 2010
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
    Studio: Walt Disney Studios

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