Aaaah, Disney. I recently returned from that most magical of places: Disney World. Suzanne and I celebrated our honeymoon with the Mouse. (I’m still skipping among the clouds over getting married to the love of my life! I am a very lucky and happy man!) Of course, while we were there, we saw a lot of advertisements for this film. Who can blame them? If the title sounds familiar – especially now that I have you thinking Disney – it is Mickey’s 2nd most iconic role. Mickey played the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the classic animated film “Fantasia”.
The writers of this film must have really been inspired! I mean, they took a small segment of “Fantasia” and focused on creating an entire storyline around Mickey’s classic scene involving the mops and the buckets of water! At first, I will admit I wasn’t too sure about this one. The trailer didn’t seem too appealing, but being at Disney World and seeing Mickey up close got me craving more of the Mouse. I’m sorry, but I think I will forever be a strong advocate for Disney. I’m sure that many people have read my profound praise for Pixar Studios. It only further develops my love of Disney that Pixar is distributed by Disney.
So, Suzanne, the kids, and I headed out as soon as we could to go catch “the Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot really. I just thought it could be a fun movie. I was dead on! It IS a fun movie! Don’t try to over-analyze it, and don’t expect much from it, and I promise that you’ll be impressed by this film! What I mean by saying “don’t expect much” is don’t read a lot about it or what a bunch of behind the scenes stuff. It builds your expectations for the movie up; you can’t help but get excited by what you see.
Right, so on to the meat of the review… I thought the story was very Disney. Balthazar (played by Nicolas Cage) is an ancient Sorcerer traveling the world throughout history trying to locate his apprentice. This apprentice was prophesized to Balthazar by none other than Merlin himself! I don’t want to give too much away about the story, because it really is quite good. It’s ingenious in that it borrows from legends you may know and gives it a good spin. Eventually (because there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise), Balthazar finds Dave his reluctant apprentice. Dave is a rather talented physics student in New York that is suddenly confronted with his awesome destiny. Balthazar finds Dave at the worst time in his life because Dave is trying to impress the love of his life.
“Apprentice” has laughs courtesy of Dave, played by Jay Baruchel and the writers of Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (screen story credit) – but the idea of doing this movie at all came from Nicholas Cage, which I think is cool enough to mention. Cage is pretty terrific as Balthazar and the fantastic Alfred Molina plays his arch-rival Horvath with such power and conviction! Teresa Palmer plays Dave’s love interest, and while she doesn’t blow you away, she does give her character some meat. Sadly, not enough was done with this, but I can let that slide. The sparks seem to fly very naturally between these two on the screen, which helped the film tremendously. I was sitting there thinking that these two could actually be a real couple. Sometimes, being a nerdy guy pays off (to paraphrase my friend Chuck). I just like to see the wizard get the girl for a change, you know?
There are jokes thrown around, involving anything from footwear to wizard humor, but it wouldn’t have worked as well with a lesser cast. The other characters make cameos more than anything, like Monica Bellucci and Alice Krige. Sadly, they don’t stay on the screen long enough. I imagine that Alice would have eaten up the screen as Morgan le Fay! Combine the clever story with this cast, throw in humor and special effects galore and you get a pretty darned good summer flick.
The film isn’t stunning; it won’t blow you away. It’s just a nice piece of entertainment. For those of us with a “taste” for magic, “Apprentice” offers you a special gift: a wonderful blend of science and magic that is the best description ever given to either term. You’ll understand better when you see the movie. The effects were cool, the love story was well done, and the movie made me smile a lot. I like it a lot more than I thought I was going to. I actually kind of hope for a follow-up to this film at some point – not a sequel mind you, just a continuation of the story. 😉 (This is both a joke and a serious comment.) That also may be a sincere possibility because Jerry Bruckheimer and Jon Turteltaub are the team responsible for this – as they were for “National Treasure”. Regardless, it is another worthwhile tale from those masters of fantasy: Disney.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE
- Will Disney Punish Jerry Bruckheimer for ‘The Lone Ranger’? (theatlanticwire.com)