Director: Jon Turteltaub
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Toby Kebbell, Teresa Palmer
Nicolas Cage in a big wig and pointy black shoes, what could go wrong? Quite a lot, actually. The opening montage sets us up to follow Balthazar Blake (Cage), whose quest, bestowed upon him by his master Merlin, is to find the Prime Merlinian - the only person who can defeat Morgana (evil woman) permanently, i.e. not just trap her in a Matryoshka doll, which is what Blake has done. But Horvath (Molina), a fellow apprentice of Merlin, is out to stop Balthazar and aims to unleash Morgana on the world. Naughty.
Many years later, we find ourselves in present day New York, watching as wimpy kid Dave Stutler stumbles into a store, which happens to be owned by Balthazar Blake. Balthazar gives him a ring. Magically, it fits. Dave breaks some things, releasing Horvath (insert fight sequence), and Balthazar and Horvath end up trapped in an urn. As the future Prime Merlinian, Dave pees his pants (but not really).
Ten years later, the backstory's out of the way, so we can get on with the film. We meet Jay Baruchel. His voice is annoying. He plays adult Dave, a geeky physics student. Baruchel is no match for your Michael Ceras or Aaron Johnsons in the likeable nerd role, and is therefore difficult to watch for two hours. The talent they do have in Cage, Molina and Kebbell is underused, which is a shame; at points they begin to shine (almost literally in the case of Kebbell's hair), but soon wither away thanks to the weak dialogue and story.
Dave goes from having difficulty controlling his plasma balls to being able to manipulate a room full of cleaning instruments in an instant. Thank goodness - if not we wouldn't get that Fantasia update. The visuals are smashing, but they only skim the surface of what they could have created with a little more magic in the writing department. With the whole problem of Morgana resolved in one sitting (yes, I probably just spoiled it for you but hey, this is Disney), one questions whether they could have spread the story out a little, exploring the sorcery further.
It all comes down to Nicolas Cage and his pointy shoes. Cage wears the wig well, and even gets a scene stolen straight from Lord of the Rings, but Balthazar is definitely no Gandalf.
Disney's summer wildcard is a sore deal. The Sorcerer's Apprentice had potential to be a great blockbuster, another Pirates maybe, but simply is not.
What's it like to be a sorcerer and wear platform shoes, mascara and a wig? Read our interview with the wonderfully talented Toby Kebbell over here.
- alfred molina
- jay baruchel
- nicolas cage
- prime merlinian
- teresa palmer
- toby kebbell