I wish I were a fly on the wall of the mind that thought up the idea of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The idea is great. The resulting film, not so much. Have you ever seen Disney’s Fantasia? If you have, you’ll recognize the title of this film. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was originally an animated short penned to illustrate a song in Fantasia. This film is touted as an extended live action version of the Disney short. But be forewarned, this is not Mickey Mouse with dancing brooms. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a dark piece about good and evil, choices and destiny.
Movie Review of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: The Plot
The wizard Merlin’s three apprentices Balthazar (Nicholas Cage), Veronica (Monica Bellucci) and Horvath (Alfred Molina) have become master sorcerers. Horvath betrays Merlin by joining with his greatest enemy Morgana (Alice Krieg ). Through a convoluted series of events, Balthazar’s love interest Veronica becomes possessed by Morgana. Veronica, Morgana and Horvath then become trapped in a nesting doll for centuries.
Fast forward to modern day Manhattan. Balthazar needs to find the Prime Merlinian, a descendant of Merlin who will inherit his magic, in order to free his love. And find him he does, in the person of Dave (Jay Baruchel). Through another convoluted series of events, a ten-year-old Dave accidentally traps Balthazar and Horvath in an urn for ten years.
Fast forward another ten years. Balthazar and Horvath are freed and Dave is an NYU student. Unfortunately he is also mankind and Balthazar’s only hope. Balthazar has a problem. Horvath is threatening the city. What to do? Balthazar recruits Dave to be his apprentice. Why? Dave has potential. Though Balthazar sees it, it is well hidden from the audience. Dave is hesitant to take on his new role. Eventually, Balthazar begins training Dave in magic and together they tackle evil forces, and a little romance.
Movie Review of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: What’s Magical
There are some particularly great aspects to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The CGI effects are impressive, if a bit predictable. The dancing mop scene, recreated from the original short is very well done and entertaining, but seems a bit out of place given the overall tone of the film.
The best performance in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice comes from Toby Kebbell who plays Horvath’s sidekick Drake Stone. Witty and entertaining, every minute he is on film is a joy.
Also nice is the relationship between Dave and Balthazar. The audience really believes that these two care about each other. They work well as a team and create a believable and solid anchor for the other relationships in the film. Also good is the romance between Becky and Dave. Although very sweet and well played, at one point in the film it overtakes the rest of the story which is an unwelcome distraction.
Movie Review of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: What Doesn’t Quite Work
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice feels like a ride at Disneyland gone wild. Frantic doesn’t even begin to describe this film. I guess that’s not entirely surprising, given that this movie encompasses a time period from 740 A.D. to present day. But the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was so jumpy as to be annoying.
Dave seems to become a sorcerer in a nonchalant random sort of way. It’s not really believable. One day he’s a brilliant slacker, the next a sorcerer. It’s slightly annoying that Balthazar keeps letting Dave take breaks in his training to date. Boy, I hope these guys aren’t in charge of saving me anytime soon. And another thing, would any teenage boy really turn down an offer of superpowers? Not in my world.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a good movie for tweens but anyone over 13 will probably find it irritating. We waited 70 years for this and we should have waited 70 more. Rent this movie.
IMDB: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice