"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
I genuinely don't understand the hate for Jon Tureltaub's 2010 film, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". I loved this movie when it came out over thirteen years ago, and I still incredibly enjoy it today. Audiences complain that it is not as good as other Disney live-action remakes or that it strays so far from the story of the same name told in "Fantasia", but I truly don't think this film was going for thought-provoking excellence or to one-up the original starring Mickey Mouse. This is simply a great movie that is tons of fun, easy to watch, and has great comedic, badass performances from stars like Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel. I seriously can't see why anyone would not be on board for a movie like this.
The film revolves around Dave (Baruchel), who is a very awkward college student in his early-20's. When he was a kid, he had a strange encounter with Balthazar Blake (Cage), who claims he was a student of Merlin's that is trying to conceal the evil Morgana (Alice Krige) so she doesn't wreak havoc all over the world. Now that Balthazar and Horvath (Alfred Molina) are free from their prison they were accidentally trapped in the first time they met Dave, it is now a race to find the coveted Grimhold, a Russian Nesting doll that holds some of the most powerful dark wizards in history.
If anything, I would say this film is the most different out of the Disney live-action canon. It seems like a normal fantasy movie that takes place in modern day New York, and doesn't feature magical fairies or any iconic Disney characters. Yet, this movie perfectly feels like a Disney film. It has that beautiful charm that these pictures have come to be known for, whether it is the magical fight sequences or the lovable characters. I think the story is written very well and compliments the Disney magic in a film that takes place in the modern landscape.
I adore the characters of Dave and Balthazar. Their characterization fits perfectly with one another, and they are simply written to have fantastic chemistry. However, none of that would have been possible without the show-stopping performances from both Cage and Baruchel. They are comedic geniuses in their own rights, and this film is just another example of that. They have fantastic on-screen chemistry with one another, and can rift off each other so well. I love every scene they have together, and I honestly couldn't imagine a better duo pairing for these two roles.
Furthermore, their roles as these two characters are done very well. Baruchel plays the shy, awkward college kid who doesn't really want to take on this role of saving the world, while Cage plays a strong, badass wizard who won't let Dave's nerves stop him. They are great at their respective roles, and really add a fun edge to the story as a whole. In terms of the other characters, I think the minor characters should get more love from the audience. Teresa Palmer is fun and enjoyable as Becky, Dave's love interest. Molina gives a terrific (borderline terrifying) performance as the cruel and evil Horvath, serving as Balthazar's foil perfectly. Also, we receive performances from Monica Bellucci and Toby Kebbell as Veronica and Drake Stone, respectively, that I think deserve a little more love from movie-goers.
The CGI and effects are top-notch for the time, and really immerses the viewer into the film. I remember first seeing this movie and thinking how awesome it was to watch Cage battle the forces of evil on the big screen. I would say most of the effects still hold up today, and keep me engaged and entertained throughout. Sure, this movie has its very cheesy moments, but I honestly think that is what makes this film so charming and fun to watch.
Also, I would like to mention my love for the inclusion of the scenes that take place in the original cartoon segment. The filmmakers craft this scene so Dave is in the role of Mickey Mouse, and I think it is very well done. It's so much fun and a beautiful callback to the origins of the Disney empire. For my mother, she thinks this is easily one of her favorite scenes of the entire film and thinks it might be one of her favorite Disney callbacks of all time.
More than anything, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" deserves way more love and recognition than it is given. This is just an incredibly fun and hilarious film that entertains me and anyone I watch it with every time it is on. They tease a possible sequel after the end-credits, which I'm really hoping we will get if more people just discover and fall in love with this film like I did.