Pros: Action packed fun, well paced, and visually mind blowing.
Cons: Classic Good vs Evil story, and not much more.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) Directed by Jon Turteltaub
"Are you crazy?" -Dave
[Balthazar holds fingers a quarter of an inch apart]
"Just a little bit...okay." -Dave.
Merlin had three apprentices; Balthazar, Veronica and Hovarth (Nicolas Cage, Monica Bellucci and Alfred Molina) He should have only trusted two. Hovarth betrayed Merlin, siding with his mortal enemy, Morgana Le Fey (Alice Krige). After Merlin's murder, Veronica and Balthazar tried to contain Morgana, trapping her in a prison, the only down side being that Veronica had to first absorb her, and then trap her, imprisoning herself as well. Now Balthazar waits for the Prime Merlinian, the heir to Merlin's power, to be born. Only he can defeat Morgana and free Veronica.
Dave Stutler (Robert Capron) is a creative kid. His biggest concern is if Becky likes him or not. But fate guides him to Balthazar, and frees Hovarth. To protect his new apprentice, Balthazar traps Hovarth and himself in an urn that will hold them for 10 years. Ten years later, Dave (now played by Jay Baruchel) is a physics geek studying the works of Alfred Tesla, and still trying to live down that very weird day.
But now Hovarth is free, and he is determined to find the nesting doll prison, and free all the evil sorcerers Balthazar imprisoned, releasing Morgana Le Fey, and completing her master plan to raise an army of dead sorcerers to rule the world. And Balthazar must train his apprentice to withstand his magics before they can destroy the world.
It is a classic battle between good and evil, with the standard sub plots of lost love, and boy meets girl, and magic just keeps getting in the way. Kind of like the Karate Kid, with dragons.
There are some interesting sub plots; I particularly loved Hovarth's apprentice, Drake Stone (Toby Kebbell) a total douche who is obviously Cris Angel and David Blaine rolled into one. And I love the way that Dave blends his love of Science with the burgeoning magic within him.
This film is action packed, intense, visually enthralling, and lots and lots of fun. Kids are going to love it. Now, that aside, here is where it lets the side down. Like many movies lately, it gets caught up in the seamless wonder of what CGI can do. Want to make magic? With CGI we can make it real. Want to animate the eagles on the Chrysler Building and ride them? Not a problem. We can make it look real. And that is great. But the problem is they often get more caught up in making the special effect blow your mind than they do in making the story touch your heart. There is plenty of wonder and magic to go around, but honestly there is not that much plot, nor character development. I am sorry; our hero learning to wear leather soled shoes over sneakers doesn't constitute character development.
Those problems aside, there is no room for complaint. The actors are great; did you expect anything less with Cage, Molina, and Krige. At their worst, they take crappy material and make it memorable. (Ghost Rider, Prince of Persia and Sleepwalkers for example.) And I liked young Jay Baruchel and Toby Kebbell. I expect to see more from them.
In the final analysis, the film makers did nothing wrong in making this movie. They just could have done a little bit more and made it great.
Oh, and if you are interested, there is an Easter egg at the end of the credits.