One of the movies that struggled at the box office during the summer of 2010 was Disney’s 2010 live-action adaptation of its 1940 animated classic, "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE". Directed by Jon Turteltaub, the movie starred Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel.
"THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE" is a fantasy-adventure about a long-living sorcerer named Balthazar Blake who is fighting against the forces of evil and his arch-nemesis Maxim Horvath in modern-day Manhattan. During this fight against evil, Balthazar searched for the person who will inherit the magical abilities of the powerful wizard, Merlin. This person turns out to be Dave Stutler, a physics student at New York University, whom Balthazar takes on as a reluctant protégé.
Did I have any problems with "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE"? Well, I had a few. Although some of the movie's scenes managed to capture shots of Manhattan in the daytime, most of the scenes were filmed at night. Manhattan makes a vibrant and colorful setting. I found it frustrating that I got to see most of it in night scenes, when it was not really necessary. The special effect of the flying gargoyle from the Chrysler Building really did nothing for me. And the movie criminally – in my opinion – underused actors and actresses such as Omar Benson Miller, who portrayed Dave’s roommate; Monica Bellucci, who played Balthazar’s fellow sorceress and secret love, Veronica; and Alice Kriege, who portrayed the evil Morgana le Fey from the King Arthur legend.
Despite all of this, I managed to enjoy "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE", much to my surprise. More than I thought I would. There were no cheesy lines. And there was plenty of sharp humor. Thanks to the screenplay written by Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Matt Lopez, the movie also proved to be a solid adventure story about how Dave Stutler who learned to achieve his full potential and a good deal of self-respect. Dave’s mentor, Balthazar, also learned a good deal about patience and overcoming one’s past regrets. With a great deal of humor, the pair not only taught valuable lessons to each other; but also formed a solid pair to take out Horvath, who had hoped to raise the evil Morgana le Fey, and stop them both from destroying the world.
Despite too many nighttime scenes, I must admit that I found Bojan Bazelli’s photography to be colorful and impressive. I also found the special effects supervised by John Fraizer very impressive – especially during the Chinatown sequence and the scene featuring Dave’s use of Tesla coils.
And despite the film’s failure to utilize performers such as Omar Benson Miller, Monica Bellucci and Alice Kriege; the "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE" could boast a very entertaining cast. Nicholas Cage was perfectly cast as the intense and sometimes impatient sorcerer, Balthazar Blake. And he had excellent chemistry with the deliciously wry and sardonic Jay Baruchel, who portrayed physics student-turned sorcerer, Dave Stutler. Alfred Molina seemed to be in his element as the sarcastic and villainous sorcerer, Maxim Horvath. He also managed to produce a surprisingly effective screen chemistry with Toby Kebbell, who portrayed the young and self-absorbed celebrity magician, Drake Stone. And although I did not find Teresa Palmer’s portrayal of Dave’s lost interest, Becky Barners, particularly memorable; I must admit that she managed to prevent her character from becoming bland.
Looking back at "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE", I cannot help but wonder if producer Jerry Bruckheimer had refrained from allotting a bigger budget to the movie. I think it had the potential to be a major crowd pleaser, but failed to do so with too many night scenes and an unwillingness to utilize the entire cast. But, the movie still had some dazzling special effects, a solid adventure story and a talented cast in Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina. In the end, "THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE" proved to be a pretty good movie.