Review: THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 17 August 2010



Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has done the impossible before. And that was PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, in which he and Walt Disney Pictures studio managed to turn that theme park attraction into an unlikely billion-dollar movie franchise. This time, he hopes the lightning will strike twice with THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, which is inspired by a 10-minute animated sequence from 1940's FANTASIA. He enlisted director Jon Turteltaub and actor Nicolas Cage, in which both of them collaborated successfully before in 2004's NATIONAL TREASURE and 2007's NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS. No doubt it almost certain that this is a foolproof plan THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is bound to be a phenomenal box-office hit-in-the-making. But sadly, the movie falls terribly flat as a cinematic failure that is both lazily-constructed and uninspired altogether.

The premise of the movie is actually potential, but shame about the poor execution: It begins with a lazily-narrated, quick prologue set in 740 A.D. where we learn about a centuries-long feud between Merlin's (James A. Stephens) three chosen apprentices - the good-hearted Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage); his ill-fated lady love Veronica (Monica Bellucci); and the evil Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), who is particularly jealous of his two fellow comrades and eventually joins the dark side. All hell breaks loose when a powerful witch named Morgana (Alice Krige) takes over the body of Veronica, and battle ensues until Balthazar has no choice but to trap the whole lot of them into a nesting dolls known as grimhold. Soon we move on to the second prologue set in the year 2000 where we first witness the fateful encounter between Balthazar and his destined apprentice, a 10-year-old kid named Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry) who is somehow stumbled into an antique shop. While Balthazar wants to get something for him to see, Dave has accidentally smashed the grimhold and unleashed Horvath out. Again, battle is ensues that freaked Dave out of his mind. Dave manages to survive while Balthazar and Horvath fight against each other until both of them trapped inside a vase. Ten years later, Dave (Jay Baruchel) is now a college student wanted to live a normal life. But the past quickly catches up on him when Balthazar and Horvath are set free again. While Balthazar is determined to take Dave as his apprentice, Horvath is hellbent to unleash Morgana from her porcelain tomb so they can raise the dead and set an apocalypse.

No doubt the story sounds like there's too many things happen for a two-hour movie, and it's sad to see that screenwriters Matt Lopez, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard chooses heavy exposition to tell the story from point A to point B rather than showing us the cinematic gesture. Actually the entire plot is more like an afterthought, while the characters are strict caricatures.

Nicolas Cage seems like a shoo-in favorite to play the kind of role like Balthazar but his typically wild-eyed acting feels really nothing to write home about. Jay Baruchel is forgettable as the nerdy Dave, while the always-reliable Alfred Molina hams it up with his typical villainous role. Equally wasted as well, is Teresa Palmer as Dave's love interest and a quick cameo appearance by Monica Bellucci.

The action, in the meantime, are fairly exciting if not tedious. The special effects are anything but surprisingly charmless and lacking that certain aura to make all the magic sequence all the more fascinating experience to watch for. Potential scenes like the attack of a Chinese paper dragon that transforms into a real one and a car chase through the streets of New York City that finds Dave and Balthazar entering and exiting panes of glass, are executed in a generic way possible.

Everything about THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is simply lackluster, and no doubt this is among the worst summer movie blockbusters of the year.

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