Film review: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010), directed by Jon Turteltaub
Ways to attract my undivided attention even though you’ve never really caught my eye before: dress up like a wizard à la Harry Potter and wear a really cool coat. And yeah, having your beloved trapped inside some sort of magical prison so you’ve got the brooding thing going on as well … doesn’t hurt.
If you think it’s a lame film because it says “Disney” on the cover and their DVD:s are godawful because you get like ten minutes worth of Disney ads before you get to the main menu, well … okay, it’s not brilliant, but it’s good fun. And less lame than I thought it was going to be.
We get the back story first, how there were powerful sorcerers roaming the earth. One being über-powerful and good Merlin, and one of them being super-evil Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige, last seen in Skin) and her evil henchman Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Merlin had some apprentices, namely Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) and Veronica (Monica Bellucci), and in order to defeat Morgana (or something like that), Veronica absorbs her soul, but Morgana ends up taking the reins of the body, so Blake traps their body and souls in a nesting (Russian) doll, called a Grimhold.
Over the years, the doll acquires more and more layers of trapped evil-doers, as Blake searches through the centuries trying to find The One who can defeat Morgana once and for all – the Prime Merlinian, who has inherited Merlin’s powers.
In the early Noughties, a ten-year-old boy on a school trip chases after a note. You see, young Dave Stutler wrote a note to the girl he fancied, a blonde girl called Becky. It’s a very important note, because it asks if she wants to be his friend or his girlfriend (tick the appropriate box), but as he goes to retrieve it from where she left it, it blows away. Instead of just writing her another note and say that the first one was lost, like any sane person would do, he chases after it. The chase takes him to an old antiques shop, where Blake asks him to try on a ring – Merlin’s ring. The ring fits, so to speak. Dave is The One! However, by accident, Dave also manages to set Horvath free from the Grimhold. Fighting ensues and the two sorcerers end up trapped inside an urn … which traps people for ten years.
So, ten years later, Dave (now played by Jay Baruchel – Sandusky from Tropic Thunder, I thought he looked familiar!) has gone on with his life. No one believed his ramblings about the shop and he was dismissed as delusional. Today, he’s a university physics genius. An annoying one, I thought, but still. Blake finds him and starts training him to be a sorcerer (takes some convincing), but the boy’s resisting pretty well. Especially when he re-discovers Becky (now played by Teresa Palmer, who looks a lot like a blonde Kristen Stewart), whom he has not seen for the past ten years, as he had to change schools and stuff. Save the world or get the girl? Decisions, decisions …
It’s an entertaining film. It’s lighthearted and fun and again, I do emphasise this point, Nicolas Cage with That Hair in That Coat … wowza. He’s only a cravat and a wand away from being astoundingly perfect. Alfred Molina also gets my thumbs up but nowhere near as much. Veronica … she kinda looks a lot like Laila Rouass, which also messes with my head – a blonde Kristen Stewart and a Laila Rouass with a foreign accent in a medieval/fantasy style dress? I don’t care about the cheesy bits, just let me watch this marvel!
Oh, and the explanation of how magic works got thumbs up from both me and Mr T. It made it sound perfectly plausible to burn pieces of paper with your mind. With or without a ring. Which is of course entirely possible anyway, if you just put your mind to it and practice a lot. Ahh yes, maybe that’s what we should do while waiting for the boiler to get repaired (Two days! Can’t wait!) – practice pyromancy in the fireplace. Or just stare at Blake the Sorcerer for a bit. That might warm the place up a bit.