The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Much fun! Wish I had seen this one in the theater…

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is loosely inspired by Disney’s masterpiece Fantasia. Nicholas Cage’s Balthazar is a master sorcerer, a former apprentice of the legendary Merlin, in search of the heir to Merlin’s power. During his search, his arch nemesis (and former best friend) Maxim Horvath (played by the excellent Alfred Molina) seeks the prison of the witch he worships, Morgana Le Fay who wants to take over the world.

Jay Baruchel is caught in the middle as the Prime Merliner, the heir to Merlin’s power, the only one who can vanquish Morgana. The story follows a familiar story, but one that is always fun to watch. There’s some enjoyable backstory thrown into the beginning that’s a slight left turn and interesting. Ultimately, it will end probably how you’ll expect, but again, you probably won’t care and just enjoy the ride.

This is the perfect vehicle for Jerry Bruckheimer. It’s grandiose, full of effects and has a fun undertone but doesn’t hit cheesy. I usually bitch and moan about the holes in some of his other work but with this, if there’s a hole, just fill it with magic. Which is one of the things that makes this work, the magic is fun to watch, as well as the battles, the sorcerer-in-training segments, the awkward young adult love story going on in the background, it’s all good. I also noticed some consistencies with Bruckheimer’s productions: high end effects, grandiose plotlines, and dog fart gags. As I said, this film is a great vehicle for his style.

The acting is pretty good although Nick Cage gets a little over the top at times and Baruchel’s awkward geek guy almost gets a little too self-effacing to the point of annoyance but manages to keep it within an acceptable range. Alfred Molina is consistently good in pretty much anything he does, his Horvath is not afraid to try to kill those who get in his way but does it in a charming kind of way. Teresa Palmer as Becky Barnes the love interest has a nice demeanor, Monica Bellucci seems a bit under-used.

Bottom line here is see it. It’s fun, great visuals, good story, solid cast. Look for the nods to Fantasia and Mickey, they’re in there, just let the credits roll…

reviewed by Sean McKnight