Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” serves up some solid summer fun

Jim Hill

Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” serves up some solid summer fun

Rate This
  • Comments 3

Like the very best bits of magic, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” employs a certain amount of misdirection.

Jay Baruchel in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
Jay Baruchel in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Copyright 2009 Disney
Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved

Take – for example – those ads that are currently blanketing television for this new Jon Turteltaub film. Which clearly show nerdy Dave Stutler (played by Jay Baruchel) blowing up a baseball in physics class. Which then seems to impress Becky Barnes (played by Teresa Palmer), Dave’s dream girl.

This “Absent-Minded Professor” –like vignette makes this Jerry Bruckheimer production look like a cross between a standard Disney family film and a romantic comedy, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing: That baseball-blowing-up scene? It’s no longer in the movie. It actually got cut as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was being prepped for release.

No matter. Hollywood does this all the time. Using scenes that were left on the cutting floor as a way to then entice you. Get you to come on out to the cinema.

Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci and John Turtletaub
(L to R) Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci and John Turteltaub.
Photo by Myles Aronowitz.
Copyright 2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved

So let’s concentrate on what did make the final cut with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Which is three witty performances from Baruchel, Nicolas Cage (who plays Dave’s mentor, good sorcerer Balthazar Blake) and Alfred Molina (who plays Balthazar’s arch nemesis, Maxim Horvarth ) as well as a boatload of fun action sequences and amazing special effects.

Okay. The set-up for “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is admittedly a little clunky. You actually have to sit through these two sequences that are loaded with exposition before the film itself finally gets underway.

Sequence No. 1 is set back in the 900s and shows Merlin being betrayed by one of his most trusted assistants. Which then launches Balthazar on this 1000-year-long quest as he searches for Merlin’s rightful heir. The one sorcerer who’ll be strong enough (more importantly, be good & wise enough) to wear Merlin’s ring and then become the prime Merlinian.

Nicolas Cage & Jake Berry in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
Nicolas Cage & Jake Berry in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Photo
by Robert Zuckerman.  Copyright 2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved

Sequence No. 2 shows what happens when Balthazar finally meets up with Merlin’s rightful heir. Who turns out to be 10 year-old Dave Stutler (played by Jake Cherry). Who has just run away from his school field trip in pursuit of a note that young Becky Barnes (played by Peyton List) has tried to hand off to him.

Blake is just about to begin Dave’s training when Maxim is accidentally released from the Grimhold (i.e. the Russian nesting doll where this evil wizard – along with several other followers of the foul witch Morgana – have been locked away for centuries). As a wizard’s battle breaks out inside of the Arcana Cabana (i.e. Blake’s Manhattan base of operations), young Stutler scrambles for cover as plasma balls and sheets of flame shoot across the room.

As this battle draws to a close, Blake and Horvath find themselves locked inside of a Chinese urn. Which they then can’t exit for 10 years. And young David Stutler … He just shrugs the whole wizard’s battle / being selected as Merlin’s successor thing (after lots & lots of therapy, mind you) as a hallucination that was caused by a glucose imbalance.

Alfred Molina and Jay Baruchel in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
Alfred Molina and Jay Baruchel
in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
Photo by Robert Zuckerman. Copyright 2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, 10 years to the day, Dave comes home and finds Maxim waiting for him inside of his dingy apartment. And when now 18-year-old Stutler can’t produce the Grimhold, Horvath conjures up some timber wolves. Who then pursue Dave through the streets.

But when all seems lost, when Stutler is about to be torn limb from limb by this pack of wolves, who swoops in to save him but Balthazar. Making a true hero’s entrance by flying in on an enchanted version of one of those enormous eagle gargoyles who stand watch over the Chrysler Building. And then …

You know, when you get right down to it, the plot doesn’t really matter much in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Though Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Matt Lopez (working off of a screen story that Lopez. Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal created) have put together a screenplay that’s loaded with funny lines and intriguing action sequences, what really makes this Jerry Bruckheimer production work is Cage, Molina & Baruchel’s performances. These three underplay everything. Which makes this whole movie seem far lighter & funnier than it actually probably is.

Nicolas Cage and his feathered friend in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
Nicolas Cage and his feathered friend
in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
Photo by Robert Zuckerman. Copyright 2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved

No matter. As I said at the top of this review, magic is basically about misdirection. In the end, you don’t really care how the trick was pulled off as long as you were entertained. And I have to admit that I was thoroughly entertained by this Jon Turteltaub film.

In a way, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a throwback to those great summer flicks that you used to get in the late 1970s & early 1980s. Where the story may have admittedly been kind of clunky. But you (as an audience member) were willing to overlook all that because of all of the fun performances, the exotic locations, the solid production values as well as the great special effects.

Well, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” has all that. Which – a couple of summers from now – I’m hoping that we then get to see in a sequel to this film. For now that all of the exposition is out of the way, the real magic can begin.

Jay Baruchel and Nicolas Cage in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
Jay Baurchel and Nicolas Cage in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
Copyright 2009 Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc.
All rights reserved

Speaking of which … Be sure and sit through “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” ‘s credit for a bonus scene. Which features the appearance of a certain iconic cap (something that you’re sure to recognize from “Fantasia”) not to mention the set-up for a “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequel.

Your thoughts?

Blog - Post Feedback Form
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Post
  • Ah, there probably ain't going to be a sequel as this movie bombed sadly.  You gotta have a good story

  • Have you seen Disney's new feature version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice ? Although the film has

  • I love the movie co'z I am an avid fan of Nicolas Cage plus I want to be a sorcerer.

Page 1 of 1 (3 items)