Walt Disney Studios producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, the creators of the National Treasure franchise, present The Sorcerer's Apprentice, an innovative and epic comedy adventure about a sorcerer and his hapless apprentice who are swept into the centre of an ancient conflict between good and evil.
Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can’t do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Who doesn't wish they could unleash fire from their fingertips and make mops come to life? The Sorcerer's Apprentice enjoyably captures this fantasy as a young physics student named Dave (Jay Baruchel, She's Out of My League) learns that he's the inheritor of the powers of Merlin--and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a war between two of Merlin's protégés, Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) and Horvath (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2). The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a special-effects blockbuster--but it's a pretty good one, not reaching the charmed heights of Pirates of the Caribbean but so much better than Prince of Persia. It runs out of air toward the end, but before that it's jauntily entertaining, with capable dialogue, clever curlicues of plot, and most importantly delightful performances: Cage maintains a light touch, with enough eccentricity to be interesting but not so much that it derails the momentum; Baruchel continues his nerdy hero streak; supporting performances from Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla) and Alice Krige (best known as the Borg Queen from Star Trek) are comic and creepy respectively; Monica Bellucci (Shoot 'Em Up) and Teresa Palmer (Bedtime Stories) are mostly eye-candy but likable nonetheless; and Molina, as ever, is the best thing in the movie, playing silky villainy with effortless aplomb. All in all, good fun. --Bret Fetzer