By JENNIFER CHAN
Many people recognize The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from an old Walt Disney movie which involved everyone’s favorite mouse, a wizard and a lot of wayward mops. The original story, however, was derived from a German poem written by the poet Goethe. The story is pretty much the same as the poem and has grown so popular that it has been reincarnated in various forms time and time again.
Its most recent reincarnation is in the form of Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Jerry Bruckheimer. Of course, being a Disney film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) is family-friendly, flashy and a tad bit historically inaccurate. Not that anyone expects anything else.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the classic save-the-world kind of movie everybody loves to watch. It’s funny, light-hearted and has crazy cool special effects. The movie starts off with a not-so-brief background story on Merlin, Morgana and the three apprentices Balthazar, Veronica and Horvath played respectfully by Nicolas Cage, Monica Bellucci and Alfred Molina.
Full of Premise
Horvath, jealous of Balthazar’s feelings for Veronica, decides to betray Merlin and joins forces with Morgana. But before things could get out hand, Veronica performs a spell that allows her to suck in Morgana’s soul into her own body. Morgana doesn’t die that easily, of course, and Balthazar has no choice but to lock both of them inside a matryoshka doll.
The artifact acts exactly as a nesting doll does. For each “Morganian” ally Balthazar comes across, he traps their souls inside the nesting doll, thereby layering each doll with another. Horvath escapes but he is eventually captured. However, Balthazar is forced to roam the earth looking for Merlin’s apprentice called the Prime Merlinian. For centuries, Balthazar searches for the chosen one but it wasn’t until the 21st century that he finds him.
The story is told in a fast-paced manner although there is a lot of prelude before the movie gets to the main point. Right after Balthazar finds the Prime Merlinian, he gets trapped in an antique urn with Horvath for another 10 years. Frustrating as it must be for the two sorcerers, the audience doesn’t mind as the succeeding sequence of events more than makes up for it. The entire movie is full of easy smart alleck-y banter, making one wonder if there is any danger at all.
Magic’s Various Forms
Science plays a big role in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Instead of just fairy dust or incantations, the movie’s magic depends on electricity and vibrations. It’s not a coincidence that Dave is good at Physics. Of course, it could also be that sorcerers, unlike most humans, are able to maximize 100% of their brain’s potential. In this case, Einstein could very well be a sorcerer but that’s another theory for another day.
Despite electricity being Dave’s main power source, there are a lot of “magicky” magic spells being tossed back and forth between Balthazar and Horvath as well. One magic spell in particular is the Hungarian Mirror Trap wherein a sorcerer casts his target into the mirror where everything is backwards. The only way to get out would be to go through another mirror. Making inanimate objects come to life—that’s a favorite among sorcerers, too. Watch out for the scene in Chinatown where a dragon dance lights up the evening in more ways than one. Another oldie but goodie is the Persian Quick Rug wherein a sorcerer charms a normal-looking carpet into quicksand. This one is quite deadly if you’re not that resourceful of a person—normal or sorcerer.
Magic, of course, can get out of hand if the sorcerer has not yet learned to control his powers. And this is where Disney’s famous mopping scene comes into play. Dave, wanting to clean his lab up before his love interest Becky (Teresa Palmer) comes over, unwittingly causes a riot among the mops and the scrubs. Never one to forgo an opportunity for a hidden mickey, Disney has not-so-subtly, but quite amusingly left Disney crumbs here and there in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. At one point in the movie, a Buzz Lightyear alarm clock shows up on screen and instantly elicits recognition from the audience.
Breaking Away from Pretty
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice has been made fun and interesting by its attention to detail, its two main characters the two main actors. Newcomer Baruchel, who is now the latest poster boy for nerdiness, is effective with/despite his manner of speech (which can get quite irritating sometimes) and his gangly movements. Some people might dislike his delivery but he is who he is.
In an alternate reality, Disney might have cast someone like Zac Efron for the role of Dave but then the whole movie would have bombed. Not because of Efron’s debatable acting skills (I did like him on 17 Again) but because his prettiness just won’t work for the movie. Disney used to create movies that were full of perfect-looking people but they’re definitely breaking away from that now and are concentrating more on the interesting. And the Baruchels of this world are, for the moment, more interesting than the Efrons. In the same light, Cage is quite enjoyable in the movie with his unkempt look and quick quips.
All in all, the movie is not something you might remember a few years down the road, but it is something that will make you feel good as you watch scene after scene. (Bulatlat.com)