12 March 2011

Movies: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0963966/

An apprentice of Merlin's, Balthazar, captures Morgan le Fay in what looks like the smallest of Matryoshka dolls.  He then captures other mean wizards in the outer layers of the Russian nesting dolls, the outermost is Horvath, the baddest of the baddies. Horvath also was once an apprentice of Merlin's but he went evil, and his sole goal is to release Morgana.  Balthazar spends centuries trying to locate the next person worthy of taking Merlin's place, and finally finds him in Dave, a 10 year old lad living in New York City, in the year 2000.  The kid accidentally releases Horvath, and the fight between Balthazar and Horvath results in their being trapped in a giant urn for 10 years.  Upon their release, Horvath begins searching for the Matryoshka doll and Balthazar seeks out Dave to give him a crash course in magic so they can stop Balthazar from releasing Morgana, which of course would plunge the world into darkness and doom humanity. Dave is now the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

This is a Disney flick inspired by the segment in 1940's Fantasia. By inspired I mean the title comes from the Mickey Mouse sequence. And yes, the movie does have a scene that nods to the Mickey Mouse segment, but it doesn't fuel the story in any way.

Stars Nick Cage as Balthazar, Jay Baruchel as 20yr old Dave, Alfred Molina as Horvath, a little bit of Monica Bellucci (yum) and Alice Krige. And an actress named Teresa Palmer, whom I confused with a blonde Kristen Stewart. I don't know if anyone else has made that mistake, but dang those gals look similar enough to trick me.

I was skeptical about this movie to begin with, it has ol' hit-or-miss Nick Cage. Sometimes the guy puts on a performance that fits the character, other times he just shows up. Plus I had no idea what they were going to do with a movie based solely on the title of a Mickey Mouse segment in Fantasia.  But, to the plus side of the equation, this film has Jerry Bruckheimer behind it, and he's had his fingers in many successful adventure films including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Prince of Persia, also TV's The Amazing Race.  He's a crowd pleaser with a few less explosions and a lot more story and plot than typical Michael Bay films.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a made for children film. It's comedic, it gets scary (for younglings maybe, probably, I guess, I dunno what scares kids these days), has CGI and explosions, and sillyness. No dancing singing candelabras or mice, thankfully.  But it's entertaining enough for the parents that would be showing their kids this film in the first place. It didn't suck. The cast did great, even though Jay Baruchel's performance instantly reminded me of his Steven Karp in Undeclared.  The end results of the various plot threads resolve pretty much as one anticipates, but it is a Disney film and it's for kids.  They're gonna end on positive notes for the kids.

It's a sit back and have fun sort of film, especially if you have children to entertain.  Not quite up to Pirates of the Carribbean, but better (to me) than Night at the Museum.

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