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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Nicolas Cage
Teresa Palmer
Jay Baruchel
Toby Kebbell
Alfred Molina
Monica Bellucci.
Directors
Jon Turteltaub.
Screenwriters
Carlo Bernard.
Running Time
108 minutes

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The Sorcerer's Apprentice
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Plot
Discovering an unforeseen talent for magic, science geek Dave Stutler (Baruchel) is unwittingly apprenticed to an ancient sorcerer in the midst of battling his great rival across the streets of modern-day Manhattan.


Review
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe, German philosopher and proud author of the 14-stanza 1797 poem Der Zauberlehrling (or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), might struggle to locate the antecedents of his creation in Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (or Jerry Bruckheimer’s Der Lehrling Des Zauberers). Indeed, Mickey Mouse — the foolhardy apprentice in Fantasia’s most adored segment (or Squeakun Mousen Macken Der Katastrophic Mit Mop Und Bucket) — would be hard pressed to divine the uproarious splendour of Disney’s animation in this breezy run-through of Hollywood dweeb empowerment staples. But that is what the wizardly Bruckheimer has attempted for his second fantasia of the summer: an effects-heavy, teen-com ‘expansion’ of an elderly tale on the perils of slacking off your household chores.

Jay Baruchel, a spaced-out compound of Justin Long and Christian Slater, is physics nut Dave Stutler, traumatised by a childhood encounter with a duet of squabbling sorcerers in a backstreet antiques emporium. There was a good wizard (Nicolas Cage’s Balthazar Blake — Kurt Cobain in a fisherman’s hat) and a dastardly one (the excellent Alfred Molina’s Maxim Horvath — Oscar Wilde with spell-packing walking cane). Ten years after being sealed in an ornate vase — ceramic entrapment is a theme; the film’s chief MacGuffin is a Matryoshka doll layered with nasty magicians, at the centre of which lies un-Hogwarty Monica Bellucci — the pair are unleashed again, and Dave must get his fuzzy head around his destiny as greatest-sorcerer-of-all-time and animate some mops to clean up a disused Subway hall. A requisite re-run of Fantasia’s glorious musical number to a remix of Paul Dukas’ celebrated symphonic poem is well meant but half-hearted.

Turteltaub’s modus operandi is wan me-too versions of pop formula. Now it’s neo-Pirates with a touch of Tolkien. Goethe’s ethics notwithstanding, the basic concept is a winner — Gandalf fights Saruman on Madison. Less sarky than Enchanted, it grooves on Hobbits, Potter and Jedi; American Pie with spells. The CG magic certainly pops and crackles, and offers New York as a fantasy-realm as dragons spit flames in Chinatown and a Chrysler Building eagle takes flight. A neat parallel is made between Dave as a science student and his nascent talents in spell casting — each a matter of channelling molecular vibrations.

Both plot and setting have an energetic, gimcrack feel — throw enough junk, see what rattles loudest. With Baruchel’s likable lanky-neurosis, Dave confronts no end of mystical doodads, expandable grimoires, shapeshifting cars and enchanted rings, as well as sucking up ‘with great power…’ sermons from his dour mentor (if anything, it’s more superhero-origin than quest-movie). Palatable clichés are delivered at a catchable height: the childhood sweetheart out of his league, the wisecracking flatmate, the familiar streetwise bleats of a modern kid fathoming screwy fantasy. No matter Baruchel’s efforts to squeeze some sass between sunbursts of CG — the script remains chirpy rather than funny. A blundering prologue of medieval yadda-yadda-yadda gets all the mages in line and forecasts some global evil to be forestalled before troubling Jerry’s budget.

The big let-down is Cage. Of all the moments for the Bad Lieutenant to unleash the wobbly hands and swimming eyeballs, a thousand year-old sorcerer in a bad hat was screaming for it. This is a CG-vamped panto harkening after a franchise, so why the moody weirdo routine? Johnny Depp won the day because he got the joke — that he was the joke. Cage, a potion or two from Leaving Las Magus, just puts emphasis on ALL the wrong WORDS. That’s not magic.


Verdict
Despite Cage in a snit, it’s a likable if functional summer-show.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Empire Star Rating

Good But A Rushed Ending.

I didn't see The Sorcerer's Apprentice with my mum, sister and nan. Instead I went to watch The Last Airbender, a mistake I'm paying for it. So during the xmas hoildays, I finally seen this film and it's a lot better than Airbender. There are lots of exicting, edge of your seat moments and some funny jokes that hit the right spot. Pefomances from a good round of well known cast are excellent, the special effects are awesome and a entertaining storyline. But I felt the ending was seriously rushed... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 10:04, 02 January 2011 | Report This Post


Good But A Rushed Ending.

I didn't see The Sorcerer's Apprentice with my mum, sister and nan. Instead I went to watch The Last Airbender, a mistake I'm paying for it. So during the xmas hoildays, I finally seen this film and it's a lot better than Airbender. There are lots of exicting, edge of your seat moments and some funny jokes that hit the right spot. Pefomances from a good round of well known cast are excellent, the special effects are awesome and a entertaining storyline. But I felt the ending was seriously rushed... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 10:04, 02 January 2011 | Report This Post


Good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 10:34, 14 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: great movie

Right OK I'll give it ago but only because iv'e seen everything else Iv'e seen Toy Story 3 twice and I think I don't need to re-watch Inception because iv'e read all the stuff where it boggled my mind a bit. The problem I had about The Sorcerers Apprentice was I thought it would be more Harry Potter wannabe and wannabe brand new franchise material like that Percy Jackson crap but you two give it four stars so I might like it and only because iv'e seen everything. Also some Disney movies are oka... More

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:45, 12 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: great movie

Saw this last night and had such a blast... such a terrific blockbuster! The special effects are fantastic, and the cast are all pretty good, especially the getting-better and better Baruchel and a villainous Molina, plus Toby Kebbell stole every scene he was in... really excting, funny, and overwhelmingly entertaining... not a masterpiece but a terrific thrill ride well worth taking with heart and true magic 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DJ Rob C: Mark II! at 12:12, 12 August 2010 | Report This Post


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