Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Premise: A physics student (Jay Baruchel) becomes the apprentice of an ancient sorcerer (Nicolas Cage). Together they must defeat an evil magician (Alfred Molina) who intends to unleash the forces of darkness.
What Works: Like many of Jon Turteltaub’s feature films, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is dumb but fun. The chases and fight sequences are average but staged well enough that the action is always coherent. The film follows a fairly standard fantasy hero storyline in which a seemingly insignificant young man discovers he has a destiny of earth shattering importance and trains with a master to prepare to save the world. This storyline has been done before and done better in everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter but The Sorcerer’s Apprentice does the formula adequately enough to be enjoyable. The film avoids the pomposity that has become one of the major pitfalls of the genre with a sense of humor, using wit and physical comedy to lighten the tone of the story. Jay Baruchel does a nice job as the apprentice and his characteristic awkwardness helps increase the heroism of his character. Alfred Molina is also fun to watch as the evil sorcerer and Molina plays it just right, bringing enough gravity to make the character sufficiently villainous while also contributing a lot of humor to the film.
What Doesn’t: Although Teresa Palmer does a fine job as the love interest, she is essentially there to give Jay Baruchel’s character something to fight for and little else. The same is true of Monica Bellucci role as the long lost love of Nicolas Cage’s character and the merely figurative use of the female characters is disappointing.
Bottom Line: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is an average fantasy adventure. It is not a great film but as the kind of family friendly action picture that Jon Turteltaub is known for, it works.
Episode: #298 (July 25, 2010)