Do they have another national treasure on their hands? Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, director Jon Turteltaub and Nicolas Cage, the team behind the smash ‘National Treasure’ series, teamed again to release this summer’s big budget-action fantasy adventure, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’ Also starring Jay Baruchel in the title role, this new collaboration doesn’t have the all-star cast to automatically strike gold for the team again, so the movie is instead relying on magic and a classic story to draw in crowds.
‘The Sorcerer ‘s Apprentice’ starts off by detailing the history of Merlin’s three apprentices, Balthazar Blake (played by Cage), Veronica (portrayed by Monica Bleucci) and Maxim Horvath (played by Alfred Molina). In 740 AD, Horvath turns his back on Merlin to join forces with the diabolical sorceress Morgana le Fay. Balthazar steps in to fight Margana after she kills Merlin. In order to save herself, Morgana absorbs herself into Veronica, knowing Balthazar would never harm her. But in order to prevent Margana from doing any more evil, Balthazar imprisons the two in the nesting doll the Grimhold.
Before dying, Merlin gives Balthazar a dragon ring that will chose the Prime Merlinian, who will in turn become his successor and obtain his powers. Balthazar finds the chosen boy, Dave Stuler, in the year 2000, after he puts on the ring. However, Dave accidentally opens the Grimhold, and Horvath, who also became imprisoned in it, is released.
Ten years later, Balthazar finds Dave (portrayed by Baruchel), who is now attending NYU, again. In an effort to defeat Horvath, Dave becomes Balthazar’s apprentice. He also reconnects with his fourth-grade crush, Becky (played by Teresa Palmer), much to Balthazar’s dismay. Dave tries to juggle learning magic, fighting Horvath and courting Becky.
Compared to ‘National Treasure’ and its sequel, ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets,’ ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ‘pales in comparison. While all three are action thrillers that leave the audience rooting for Cage to defeat the bad guys and save the world, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ doesn’t have any real suspense, unlike the previous Disney-Bruckheimer-Turteltaub-Cage collaborations. All of the important information relating to the true plot-line is given within the first half-hour, leaving the rest of the movie fairly predictable. It seems as though this was done so that Turteltaub can instead focus on the big action stunts. The ‘National Treasure’ movies at least spread the backstory throughout the entire script.
But ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ does deserve some credit, as it at least does have more of a backstory than most other big budget action movies. Thanks in part to loosely being based on the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment in the fellow Disney movie ‘Fantasia’ which itself was based on the 1890s Paul Dukas symphonic poem and the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad, screenwriters Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Matt Lopez at least had something to build their story on.
Overall, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ‘ even has a good message for children, as they can relate to Dave. The movie shows that anyone can overcome the obstacles they faced as a child, and if they put their mind to it, they can achieve whatever they want. Baruchel was the breakout star of the movie, overshadowing even Cage. Coming off of this spring’s adult-themed ‘She’s Out of My League,’ Baruchel proved in ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ that he can adapt to any character he takes on.
While ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ delivers everything an audience would expect from a big-budget Disney-Jerry Bruckheimer Films movie. Bruckheimer, who’s produced other hit action movies as ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ knows how to appeal to everyone, even families, and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ proves it.
Written by: Karen Benardello