When asked what I thought of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I replied, “It’s Ghostbusters meets National Treasure.” Allow me to explain without spoiling the film. Besides there being an epic task in the final scene which had me reminiscing about Ghostbusters, I thought of that film because of the comradery between Balthazar and Dave and Dave’s lair which he studies Tesla coils in gave me a feeling of the Ghostbusters’ team sitting in their old firehouse turned work place. The reason I compared it to National Treasure is not just because both star Nic Cage, although, there is that. I thought of National Treasure because of the little hints here and there throughout the film that make you think and realize they are making a play on another movie. Jon Turletaub was also the director of this fun flick as well as National Treasure.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the story of a young man named Dave (Jay Baruchel, How To Train Your Dragon) who happens to cross paths with an odd character named Balthazar (Nic Cage, Kick-Ass). Balthazar is an ancient wizard who trained under The Merlin back in the day until he was killed by Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Morgana (Alice Krige), the evil sorcerers who betrayed Merlin. For the next 100 years, Balthazar went on the hunt for the next young Merlin replacement and his new apprentice.
One day in New York, a young boy stumbled into his dusty shop of “antiques” and before causing a huge disruption in his shop which releases Horvath from his holding, Dave is selected as the next apprentice because of a special dragon ring. He is reluctant to take the job, but before he can answer one way or another, Horvath causes a fire and Dave runs out of the shop only to be confronted by his class room laughing at him. Another ten years goes by after that incident and we now have Dave in college and he is the awkward genius struggling to get a girlfriend.
He is just getting in the good graces of a girl he once knew from that fateful day at the antique shop in his class when Balthazar pops back into his life again. He is back to recruit Dave as a young sorcerer and help capture the escaped sorcerer, Horvath. He stumbles along, dumbfounded at the abilities of Balthazar until he realizes his own power.
The casting was fantastic in this film. Nic Cage was the main draw for myself and he was just as weird and quirky as imagined. He had flowing locks of curls on his head and a leather jacket that fell to the floor. He was funny with his lines and his mannerisms as well pulling off the sorcerer parts of the character. Jay Baruchel has always been that awkward guy to everyone, he is almost a typecast in films. However, this part was perfect for him. I couldn’t help but just fall for his charm and clumsy attributes. He was funny as well as inept at times and you, like myself, will definitely be rooting for him to succeed.
Alfred Molina was cast as the villain in this film and pulled it off brilliantly as usual. He is usually cast as an antagonist, but occasionally he can pull off real humor like in Prince of Persia. Those skills came in good use here as the villain was menacing but pretty snarky as well. I’ve always enjoyed him in roles and this was no exception.
Now you may be familiar with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from a little film back in 1940 called Fantasia. There was a fantastic skit with Mickey Mouse as the apprentice under Merlin and trying to clean up a mess by casting a spell on brooms and other cleaning supplies. It was a disaster and the song was just mesmerizing back then and nothing changed here. The skit was recreated to play homage to the original and was pulled off brilliantly. Dave casts a spell on brooms and sponges to clean up a spill while he runs upstairs to take a shower. When he gets out of the shower, he throws his hood up from the red sweater he is wearing and goes back downstairs to see the disaster he created. As he rushed around trying to stop them, the music plays in the background and there is even a shadow on the wall at one point when he tries to chop the broom’s legs off. Brilliant. It’s safe to say that this was based on that short from 1940 and I’m glad they didn’t forget their roots.
It’s also safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. In fact, I will go see it again in the theater if I get the chance. I highly suggest you go see it as well. Take that young son or daughter of yours to give them a fix of sorcery and magic until they get another Harry Potter. Although, there was a young boy next to me in the theater that said he enjoyed this film more than Harry Potter anyway. Comparing to HP is going to be common but this film has much more fun, action and comedy than any of the Harry Potter films. I love HP too, but it’s a story that takes dedication and time, this is a fun time for anyone straight out of the gate.
Hint: stay after the credits for a little tidbit that hints to a sequel.
I give The Sorcerer’s Apprentice 4.5 “Mickey would be proud” out of 5
by Angela Davis