Newest Review: ... entrap in a prison, which Balthazar protects until he can find the chosen one who is prophesied to destroy the witch, Morgana. The film ... more
Mops up the Competition
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (DVD)
Member Name: SpiderJamb
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (DVD)
Advantages: Great Special Effects, Humourous one-liners
Disadvantages: Anti-climatic end battle
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
When I first heard that Disney was 'remaking' the Sorcerer's Apprentice (the five minute animated sequence from Fantasia) into a live-action feature length movie, I did wonder how they could stretch out a relatively simple plot into a whole film, but then I saw it was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who managed to spin four films out of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride.
The initial prologue takes place during Medieval times and shows the relationship between the three sorcerers, Balthazar (Nicholas Cage), Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Veronica (Monica Bellucci) and their master, Merlin. Horvath, jealous of Balthazar and Veronica's relationship betrays them with Merlin's nemesis, Morgana, who Veronica sacrifices herself to entrap in a prison, which Balthazar protects until he can find the chosen one who is prophesied to destroy the witch, Morgana.
The film then cuts to present-day, which surprised me as I expected it to be something of a Medieval epic, so seeing the bulk of the story take place in modern times was interesting. Balthazar comes across his chosen one and tries to train him as his apprentice, in preparation for the final battle against the witch, Morgana.
Considering the story was influenced by the Mickey Mouse animated sequence in Fantasia, there isn't much reference to it apart from a brief enjoyable scene involving the mops, brooms and water. The storyline is surprisingly watchable, and feels like a post-modern Harry Potter, although it doesn't have the same charm and rich universe to launch its own franchise to compete with those movies.
Nicholas Cage puts in a good performance as Balthazar, with some wry one-liners and amusing visual jokes. He seems confident in his role as Sorcerer and most of the way through the film, I was thinking 'how comes he isn't the chosen one himself' since he had a better grip on his powers compared to Dave, his apprentice. Alfred Molina, who spends his time searching for the Russian-doll prison that keeps his mistress trapped, is a very watchable villain, managing to give a nice air of menace about the film, despite its Disney roots. The weakest factor is the character of Dave himself, played by Jay Baruchel, who seems to be unconvincing as the reluctant apprentice and looks far too old for the part of a 20-year old with quite noticeable stubble in places.
The special effects are impressive, as are the choreographed action scenes. Watching experienced Sorcerers such as Balthazar and Horvath flinging spells at each other and attempting to outsmart each other with various traps and prisons is very enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, the final battle seems to be less energetic than the previous ones but it is still enjoyable to watch.
While I doubt there will be a sequel to this film, it is a very enjoyable family film and shouldn't really be judged on-par with the Fantasia animated short that it shares its name with. I would recommend it to fans of the other Jerry Bruckheimer productions, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean or National Treasure series. Fans of Harry Potter may like this, but find it lacking in comparison to the expansive universe and complex storytelling of that franchise.
[This Review may be published on Amazon & Ciao.co.uk]
Summary: Surprisingly entertaining and worth a watch!