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Who remembers the classic Fantasia from Disney, way back when? Ok, so many probably didn’t see the original when it was released in 1940, but it’s a much loved and well watched piece of Disney animation. Funnily enough, Mickey wears my all time favourite mouse outfit in Fantasia! So, the 40’s have provided some inspiration for Nicolas Cage and co, who star in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Set in modern day New York city, Balthazar Blake (Cage) was once Merlin’s apprentice and is now a master sorcerer who has spent a thousand years trying to find the next master wizard as it was Merlin’s dying request for him to do so. Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel, She’s out of my League) is that guy, but as these things go, he doesn’t know it. He meets Balthazar Blake as a young boy and after a scuffle between Blake and bad guy Sorcerer, Maxim Horvath, he runs out of the building as Blake and Horvath get sucked into a magic Urn. Ten years pass by and Stutler is now in college, being a nerdy physics student. Horvath and Blake eventually break free of the Urn and it’s then a case of the bad guy trying to bring back the super bad ass Morgana, who will raise the dead and end the world…as you do. Blake and Stutler become Master and Apprentice and go on to try and save the world from eternal damnation.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this to be honest. When I originally heard about it, I dismissed it completely. But then when the trailers started to arrive it pricked my interest a bit and then it completely surprised me. Nicolas Cage has been on a major roll over his last few movies, Kick-Ass and Bad Lieutenant in particular, and that roll continues here. With scraggy, dirty hair and a seriously bad ass trench coat that Neo would kill for, Cage really looks the part as a 1000 year old Sorcerer. He’s convincing and his dialogue delivery really stands out as well as the comedic elements he’s involved which are really well timed out. As for the rest of the cast, Alfred Molina is fine as the bad guy, but won’t set your pants on fire. It’s not a bad performance, but compared to what he’s done in the past, even Prince of Persia, he’s not breaking a sweat here. Jay Baruchel plays the geek with geek like precision. Immediately likeable, and you will always feel yourself rooting for him.

I really enjoyed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The love story that is running throughout is good, but it slows the pacing down a bit at times with a few unnecessary stretched out scenes, but it’s not enough to derail the thing either. The special effects are really spectacular and incredibly well done. The eagle from the Chrysler building and Dragon in China town are really enjoyable. There’s plenty of set pieces to keep the action fans amused and all feature great special effects and pacing.  There’s plenty of notable scenes here, in particular the mop tribute to the original Fantasia which is really brilliant! So much so, at time’s I found myself with a big cheesy grin almost wanting to jump out of my seat and go “Yeeeeeeeeahhhhhhhhhhhh”. Particularly in the final chapter, which is a real smile inducer.
There does seem to be a few rough edits in it, which makes me think there is probably a longer version out there, and hopefully that might arrive on the home release. Because as great as the magic scenes are, you really wished there was a few more of them. But then again, isn’t the key to keep the audience wanting more? And the general acceptance of non wizard folk, particularly the love interest and her stance of “Jeez this is all bit weird, but whatever” signal a few plot holes..but it didn’t upset me too much.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will bring out your inner child, is thoroughly enjoyable and at times a very magical experience!

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