The Sorcerer's Apprentice | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Sorcerer's Apprentice 

Magical Charms: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ultimately delivers just what it promises: a lively tale of improbable heroism.

Pin It
Favorite
art11704widea.jpg
Honestly, I don’t ask for much when it comes to summer comic adventures like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I only ask that they be, you know, comic and adventurous.

Disney goes two for two in this surprisingly breezy tale of how a New York fourth-grader named David has a traumatic encounter with two sorcerers with a centuries-long history. Ten years later, David (Jay Baruchel) is now a college physics nerd, and those two rival sorcerers have found him again. Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) is a disciple of Merlin, who believes David is destined to become a great wizard himself. And Horvath (Alfred Molina) wants to resurrect Merlin’s ancient enemy Morgana to wreak destruction on humanity.

In case you’re keeping count, this marks about the dozenth attempt in recent months to re-create the Star Wars/Harry Potter model of a youngster coming to terms with playing a crucial role in world-shaking events. This variation from director Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure) never takes itself too seriously, effortlessly combining the charm in Baruchel’s self-deprecation, the appeal of a just-crazy-enough Cage and the dapper villainy of Molina. Together, they’re a terrifically entertaining tandem.

They need to be, because there’s not much else about the film that’s wildly original. The obligatory romantic interest for David (Teresa Palmer, scarily resembling a bleached-blonde Kristen Stewart) has little personality of her own, and there’s a bit of a missed opportunity with the cocky stage magician (Toby Kebbell) who becomes Horvath’s minion. When Turtletaub and his screenwriters resort to re-creating the famous self-cleaning mops and brooms sequence from Fantasia, it’s a wink to the title’s origin that feels more self-congratulatory than organic.

Yet, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ultimately delivers just what it promises: a lively tale of improbable heroism served up with a generous helping of humor. Fun isn’t just a formula; it comes from putting the right people in the position to create a little bit of summer-movie magic.

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE

3_stars.gif

Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina
Rated PG

Scott Renshaw:


Pin It
Favorite

Tags:

More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • All the Rage

    Three Billboards dares to imagine a world in which anger isn't righteous.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • Without a Map

    Lady Bird chronicles the rocky road of female adolescence.
    • Nov 15, 2017
  • Parallel Lives

    Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck unites two tales of youthful discovery.
    • Nov 8, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

‚Äč

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep-dive into the way movies portray one half of humanity.
    • May 11, 2016
  • List We Forget ...

    Celebrating the best of 2016 in film.
    • Dec 28, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation