Uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer does entertaining, big spectacle films, and his “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” certainly falls easily into that category. Add in Nicolas Cage as a wizard in hobo clothes, Jay Baruchel as a wizard-in-training with serious personality issues, and the always fantastic Alfred Molina as the scenery-chewing Big Bad, and it’s magic explosions and plasma bolts galore. And did I mention that Monica Bellucci is in this thing, too? Cause you know, she is. If you missed it in theaters, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Combo Pack on November 30, 2010 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
A fun, modern-day adventure follows Dave (JAY BARUCHEL), just an average college student, or so it appears, until the sorcerer Balthazar Blake (NICOLAS CAGE) recruits him as his reluctant protégé and gives him a crash course in the art and science of magic. As he prepares for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern-day Manhattan, Dave finds it is going to take all of the courage he can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE.
Nicolas Cage plays Balthazar Blake, a 1,000s years old sorcerer, one of three people chosen to be an apprentice to the legendary Merlin himself. After a row that left his fellow apprentices, the evil Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Balthazar’s lover, Veronica (Monica Bellucci) locked away in a magical doll prison called the Grimhold, Balthazar goes on a quest to find Merlin’s ancestors so that they can destroy the evil Morgana (Alice Krige) before she can raise the dead and enslave the world. You know, that old thing. Crazy sorcerors and their nutty evil plans.
Fast-forward to modern-day New York, where Balthazar believes he has found Merlin’s ancestor in awkward college student Dave (Jay Baruchel). That’s the good news. The bad news is, Dave is a super nerd, and all he can really think about is his childhood crush Becky (Teresa Palmer). Of course, things take a turn for the bad when Horvath manages to escape his prison, and is determined to free Morgana as well so that she can finish that whole raising the dead and enslaving mankind thing. Apparently ol Horvath liked Veronica, too, and is a tad peeved she chose Balthazar over him, thus the switch to evil. It’s up to Balthazar to teach Dave the ways of the sorcerer so that he can fulfill his destiny. That is, if he can keep Dave from constantly running over to Becky cause, you know, he really, really wants to get into her pants.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub, who worked with Cage on the “National Treasure” movies, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” also boasts Jerry Bruckheimer as producer. If you were looking for big-budget, expensive, and glossy Hollywood fare, you needn’t look any further than “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. There is plenty of entertainment value for your money here. Bang for the buck, if you will. The story is somewhat hackneyed, and there’s never really any chance that Morgana will succeed, but then again, this is a Disney movie, so that’s to be expected. None of it, though, detracts from the film’s overall sense of fun.
If you’re a fan of Bruckheimer’s brand of blockbuster entertainment, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was made specifically for you. It’s competently made across the board, and I can’t really find any faults in the production. Story wise, it’s generally funny and amusing, and even touching in certain parts. I was also never bored, which is really the biggest compliment I can give a movie, cause man, I am bored easily. Baruchel makes for a likeable young lead, and Cage does his usual kooky turn. Alfred Molina is always great, and seems to be enjoying himself in the part of the bad guy, while Teresa Palmer and Monica Bellucci provide the eye candy. Granted, I could have used more Bellucci eye candy, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.
In the mood for some wholesome family entertainment with plenty of pop and sizzle? Give “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and its snazzy plasma bolts a go. If nothing else, the kids will love all the crazy magic stuff flying around onscreen.
DVD/Blu-Ray Bonus Features:
- Magic In The City: 12:51 mins. Behind-the-scenes of filming on location in New York. It’s a hell of a city, that’s for sure.
- The Science Of Sorcery: 10:27 mins. The “science” of the film’s sorcery. Um, yeah. Silly, but you gotta admire the straight faces of the people discussing this. The real treat is seeing how they did most of the special effects, though.
- Making Magic Real: 11:24 mins. More behind-the-scenes stuff on the making of the film’s many, many special effects shots. Surprisingly, a lot of the film’s effects are on-set practical stunts. Those “magic brimstones” that are always popping up all over the place? Most of them were real and not CGI.
- Fantasia: Reinventing a Classic: 10:12 mins. That wacky mop scene with Dave in the lair? An homage to the animated Disney classic “Fantasia”. That scene, and cast and crew discussing their memories of it.
- The Fashionable Drake Stone: 2:08 mins. Fashion tips from Toby Kebbell’s celebrity magician Drake Stone. Stone is one of the funnier characters in the movie.
- The Grimhold: An Evil Work Of Art: 3:45 mins. Oh, that dangerous, dangerous Grimhold. A brief history of how it came about and how they made the magic happen.
- The Encantus: 2:21 mins. A look at the Encantus, the book of magic spells, and how they created it from scratch.
- Wolves & Puppies: 3:06 mins. At one point in the movie Dave is chased by wolves. This is how they shot that scene.
- The World’s Coolest Car: 1:32 mins. That car Balthazar and Dave drive around town in? That’s Nicolas Cage’s actual car that he “loaned” to the movie. I prefer the slick sports car it morphed into myself, but then again, I’m not a kooky Hollywood movie star millionaire.
- 5 Deleted Scenes: 7:47 mins. 1) A longer scene of Balthazar in India that appeared briefly at the beginning of the movie; 2) Dave in the college classroom doing his electricity experiment; you saw it in the trailers, but it was cut from the finished movie; 3) Balthazar intercepting Dave in the park on his way from school; 4) Dave tutors Becky when “hip” douche baggy radio guy shows up; 5) Dave chats up his dog Tank
- Outtakes: 3:13 mins. Bloopers and improv comedy from the set. Mostly it’s just Jay Baruchel doing strange, high voices. Or as Jay Baruchel probably calls it, another day at work.