The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
dir Jon Turteltaub
prd Jerry Bruckheimer
scr Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
with Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Omar Benson Miller, Monica Bellucci, Alice Krige, Jake Cherry, James A Stephens, Gregory Woo, Wai Ching Ho
release US 14.Jul.10, UK 11.Aug.10
10/US Disney 1h41
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Save the world: Palmer and Baruchel

cage molina bellucci
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Sorcerer's Apprentice It's not like we expect anything else from Bruckheimer: this is a loud, wacky, effects-laden extravaganza that's short on plot, characterisations and any real tension. But it's also rather mindless good fun.

One of Merlin's apprentices, Balthazar (Cage), has been searching for Merlin's heir for nearly three thousand years, finally locating him in New York City in physics geek Dave (Baruchel). Doubtful but intrigued, Dave learns that Balthazar's ex-colleague Horvath (Molina) is determined to resurrect the evil Morgana (Krige) to destroy humanity. But Dave is badly preoccupied by the fact that the girl (Palmer) he has loved since age 9 is suddenly showing him some interest. Can't this world-saving business wait?

Yes, this essentially means that the likeable Baruchel is playing a live-action version of Mickey Mouse from the classic Fantasia segment, which is recreated here complete with Paul Dukas' memorable music. Baruchel is also typecast as the scrawny nerd in an improbable romance with a hot girl (see also She's Out of My League). Meanwhile, Cage is re-visiting his quirky Kick-Ass character in the way Balthazar coaches Dave in the ways of magic.

But then, it isn't really magic. In an obvious effort to diffuse the American Right, this sorcery is merely someone who can access their whole brain and manipulate the physical world in ways that only seem inexplicable. While this kind of contradicts other elements of the set-up (like the power-giving rings sorcerers wear), it's not quite as mythology-crushing as George Lucas' midi-chlorians. And it might make some kids think science is cool for a few minutes at least.

In the end, the film is slickly made with a sense of pace and energy that holds our interest through the episodic plot. It's basically just a series of corny expository conversations that link together a range of full-on action set-pieces. At least these sequences are pure eye-candy, with first-rate effects work, lively comedy touches and lots of thrills along the way. We never for a split second doubt where the story is going, so there's no suspense at all. Including a trap door left open for a sequel if undemanding audiences lap this up.

cert pg themes, violence 25.Jul.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall