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The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A 2010 fantasy adventure film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

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An Action-Fantasy Movie With Sorcery...Not a Fantastic Movie About Sorcery...

  • Jul 18, 2010
Rating:
+3
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 but it pales in comparison to even that animated short. “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” takes a very simple premise and then loses its focus when it tries to add on unnecessary plot mechanics that it lost its focus.

Some centuries ago, Morgana (Alice Krige) was locked in a struggle against Merlin that ended with Merlin being killed and Morgana being trapped inside the body of Veronica (sexy Monica Belucci), one of Merlin’s apprentices which in turn the two (body and their two essences) become trapped within a nesting doll called the Grimhold. Throughout the centuries, Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) has protected this nesting doll from other evil sorcerers and even imprisoned Horvath (Alfred Molina). What’s more, Balthazar is looking for the one person who will become Merlin’s successor and his ring should guide the way.

Fast forward to the present time, and Balthazar finds Dave (Jay Baruchel), a geeky physics wizard who has the hots for his childhood friend, Becky (Theresa Palmer). Dave is also the ‘chosen one’ and it is up to Balthazar to train Dave so he can learn the skills necessary to fight Morgana. But time is running out, as Horvath is on the rise and Morgana may soon be raised to destroy the world…

                    Nicolas Cage as Balthazar Blake in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

                   Alfred Molina as Maxim Horvath in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a popcorn film, of this there can be no doubt. The plot of the film is quite derivative of other films and is the classic struggle between good and evil. The Mickey Mouse short in “Fantasia” was whimsical and enthralling, this movie on the other hand is a grand exercise of special effects and overcooks certain elements that the viewer may become bothered by its overdone script. The film starts off good, the set up was decent that I was intrigued (I am a sucker for magic and sorcery) by what may happen next in the film’s next sequences. Director John Turteltaub seems to be on the mission to make the film a serious summer blockbuster that he uses the usual elements of destiny, betrayal, romance and a grand display of special effects.

                 A scene from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

                Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

The problem is while the film has the right feel as with the tale of the ‘warring’ apprentices, it never capitalizes on this and instead relies on some slapstick humor and a forced love story in the sidelines. I thought the approach was out of focus, as the script ended up having too many subplots but it never develops any of them to the film‘s main premise. There’s the Morganian group, the other sorcerers (there is a creepy young girl), Dave’s friends and his school issues, the Dave and Becky romance, and the 10-year exile that came in the first act. Most of them are good ideas, while some proved distracting; it does show the direction’s unfocused exercise that it missed several opportunities; there is sorcery in the film, but it never became a good film about sorcery. Turteltaub just cannot put everything together to make a coherent narrative.

                     Gregory Woo in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

                    Monica Bellucci in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

To the film’s credit, there are scenes that did stand out. The action sequences are well-maintained and the direction does succeed in distracting the viewer with a lot of visual flair that brings the film’s sorcerous battles to life. There is nothing deep about strategy in the scenes, it is pure action excitement as Horvath and Balthazar seek to outwit each other with the use of spells and magic. Some spells are all about a frontal assault while others are used as traps. I also liked Dave’s awkward training sessions with some humor injected into the scenes. We are all familiar with the geeky guy becoming the hero and this film makes use of those same elements. The scenes of wizardry are ‘spiffy’, paced evenly and nicely executed but unfortunately it doesn’t reach the scope of possibilities in this magical world. There is a dragon, a metal flying eagle, a mirror and a rug that engulfs a person. They do look nice on the outside, but it is nothing we haven’t seen before.

Nicolas Cage looks a like an eccentric rock star and while I thought his look is very routine, I did like the hat and the hairstyle looks very similar to what I myself sport (so definitely no complaints there). Cage does have some moments that he felt right for the role, but it was the slapstick humor that hampers his character. Baruchel is a good actor but his character seems to reflect his nerdy appearance rather than him reflecting his character. I guess the actor has been typecast for roles like from ‘zero to hero’. Alfred Molina makes for a good villain as with Doc Ock in Spidey 2, but there were times that I thought he wasn’t evil enough. I was real disappointed that Monica Belucci was so underused; her screen time should have been extended with the tragedy of her imprisonment more capitalized on.

For those familiar with a Bruckheimer movie, you know that the climax includes a showdown made of magic and spectacular stylistic visuals. It does have some impact but it sure felt very routine that it fails to generate suspense and thrills. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” isn’t a painful experience, but it sure wasn’t something so spectacular that brings us to a fantastical world of sorcery. The script just lacked discipline that the film ends up another movie filled with special effects and comedic one-liners; it may possibly entertain but it is forgettable.

RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]















                            
 
 
 
A Fantasy Movie With Sorcery...Not a Movie About Sorcery...

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August 03, 2010
I actually really liked this one, but I do like a lot of less-than-amazing movies, especially when it comes to magic stuffs :P I do agree that many of the sub-plots could have been elaborated on. But there wasn't time for it, and I assume that's why they left it open for a sequel.
August 04, 2010
Yeh, I guess this wasn't horrible but it would've been a lot better with a more focused plot and direction. This had a strong first act until it began to pitch several ideas that proved distracting. Loved the scene with the mops (homage to Fantasia)
 
August 01, 2010
I always thought Morgana le fay got dumped on in Thomas Malory, and now it looks like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is following suit. Thanks for an interesting review. I'd still like to see this movie.
August 04, 2010
Thank you for the read, Star!
 
July 20, 2010
Meh, I'm gonna watch Inception instead :P This sounds cool, too, but not worth my $10 and two hours spent in theaters. Fantastic review, Woo!
July 20, 2010
Yes, Just rent this, milady D--Inception is worth seeing most def. So...have you seen "Despicable Cute..ahem..Me yet?
July 20, 2010
Nope, but planning on it! Solely for the cuteness factor ;)
July 20, 2010
I bet you'll get one of those MINIONS. he-heh. Let me know which one you prefer once you see it :)
 
July 19, 2010
Excellent review!! I am not too psyched to see this movie seeing as I have a growing hatred for Jay Baruchel and to add injury to insult they are ripping off one of Disney's greatest animated classics "Fantasia". But it has Nick Cage and it looks like it might be fun so I guess I will give it a go.
July 20, 2010
Keep your expectations extra low, Lopez. Remember, I only said "rental"--but it may be worth it for the early bird $ 6.00 theater admission.
 
July 19, 2010
I knew I was right in not going to see this, I'll wait for the DVD release. Great review as always WP.
July 20, 2010
yeh...this wasn't painful but it sure should've been better.
 
July 19, 2010
I'm not sure this really looks like something I'd enjoy.  Perhaps picking at, but the moment I saw the trailer some time ago, my first thought was that now Jerry Bruckheimer productions isn't even trying anymore.  I wasn't big on National Treasure, but at the very least it was better than I expected.  But for the most part almost every time they've teamed up with Disney lately the results have been less than stellar.
July 19, 2010
I know what you mean. I don't mind Bruckheimer since he did have some hits for me but I am with you with the team up with the Disney thing. I didn't exactly love National Treasure but it was better than this one IMHO. The one thing that made me round up the 2.5 were some of the action scenes and Belucci. Man, she is hot. LOL!
 
July 19, 2010
I'm with Count on this one, Cage, Bruckheimer, this had disaster written all over it. But really your critique, even with a mere 2.5 stars out of 5, is actually more generous than expected. I understand Disney is less than impressed with the lackluster ticket sales thus far. Great review though and like always, thanks for laying on the grenade to save the rest of us Woop!
July 19, 2010
Thanks for the read, bud. This wasn't painful, but it sure wasn't any different from other movies with similar elements. I have to tell yah though, Monica Belucci gave my rating a round up--she is smokin' hot! LOL!
 
July 19, 2010
This one just isn't for me. I don't care much for Nic Cage these days, I've always loathed Bruckheimer, and the entire plot feels like a total attempt to cash-in on the current fantasy craze. Nope, I'll be skipping this.
July 19, 2010
One thing that made it bearable for me is Monica Belucci--so hot and so talented, she needs better roles in the U.S.
July 19, 2010
She needs better roles in general.
 
1
More The Sorcerer's Apprentice (201... reviews
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
Caption
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!
review by . December 03, 2010
My husband and I watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice last night and the night before, that's how good it is. Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel were made for these parts! The special effects were phenomenal, the plot was intoxicating and the acting was superb. James says one of the reasons I like this movie so much because I'm just like Dave Stutler, the apprentice. He's right. We both absolutely loved it and it's now on my "must have" list, so maybe I'll get it for Christmas. That would be fabulous! …
review by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"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 …
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.
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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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    Details

    Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
    Release Date: July 16, 2010
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
    Studio: Walt Disney Studios

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