Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I have been an avid follower of Disney movies and cartoons ever since I could remember. From classics like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to musical features such as High School Musical and Enchanted, Disney has never failed to entertain me with its adventures and magic.

The story of The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a re-telling inspired by the short cartoon tale, featuring Mickey Mouse which appeared in Disney's classical music celebration, Fantasia in 1940 and again in 1999.

The plot begins with the tale of Merlin and his three apprentices, Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage), Veronica (Monica Belucci) and Maxim Horvath (Afred Molina). Merlin is killed at the beginning of the movie while trying to protect his spell, "The Rising" from falling into the hands of the evil Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige). Apparently, this spell could lead to the enslavement of all mankind by the dead. (Which leads me to the question, why would Merlin even have such a spell to begin with? I wonder...) Anyway, before Morgana could get away with the spell, two of Merlin's apprentices arrive just in time to stop her. As it is narrated in the beginning, Merlin should have trusted only two of his apprentices as he was betrayed by Horvath, the third apprentice who chooses to help Morgana to acquire the spell. While trying to stop Morgana from killing Balthazar, Veronica draws Morgana's soul into her own body, but before Morgana could kill Veronica from the inside, Belthazar traps both their souls inside an inescapable magic vessel known as the Grimhold. Before he dies, Merlin entrusts Belthazar with his ring and makes him promise to seek for a boy who will be known as "The Prime Merlinian". This boy will inherit Merlin's powers and with it be able to destroy Morgana once and for all.

Thousands of years pass by, and Balthazar keeps his promise to look for the boy all the while trapping the souls of Morgana's evil followers, including Horvath in the Grimhold. As fate would have it, "The Prime Merlinian" finds his way into Balthazar's antique store. "The Prime Merlinian", also known as Dave Sutler is portrayed by Jake Cherry (whose acting skills have not improved since his performance in Night of The Museum 2). Through a series of coincidences, Dave walks into Balthazar's store looking for a piece of paper. It is there that Balthazar discovers that Dave is the one he is looking for. After specifically instructing Dave not to touch anything while he goes to search for something, Balthazar returns to discover that Harvath has been released from the vessel. After a battle, Balthazar and Horvath are trapped in an urn for the next 10 years while Dave, having witnessed the bizarre battle and its outcome, is forced to undergo theraphy after having what is deemed as a mental breakdown.

The years roll by and Dave (now portrayed by Jay Baruchel) has now grown into an awkward 20-year old college student just trying to live his life after the traumatic events in his childhood. He bumps into his former love interest, Becky (Teressa Palmer) and tries his best to impress her and she seems to have rather positive responses towards his advances. Meanwhile, Balthazar and Horvath are released from the urn and Balthazar proceeds with his quest to find Dave and fulfil his mission to kill Morgana. After finally deciding that he wants to be Belthazar's apprentice, Dave goes through a series of training sessions where he learns how to use his powers. His relationship with Becky however, is put on hold as Dave continues to hide his secret from her. The story carries on, leading to the ultimate event of "The Rising" where Morgana and Veronica are finally released. There are no surprises as to how the story ends. As in all Disney features, everybody (well, with the exception of the villains) lives happily ever after. The guy gets the girl, old lovers reunite, good is restored and evil is vanquished.

A rather entertaining flick, with a good number of laughs and delightful moments in numerous scenes. Look out for the scene where Dave tries to use his powers to tidy up the house. Besides being a direct reference to the Disney classic it was based on, it also reminds me of a scene in Sleeping Beauty when Merryweather uses magic to tidy up the house. Also keep an ear out for Molina's lines which are witty and amusing in several scenes. Monica Belucci was gorgeous as the kind-hearted and sweet Veronica who would sacrifice herself for the man she loves. As for the other performances, they were mediocre at best. Jay Baruchel is convincing enough as the awkward nerd who is just well, plain awkward in every way and Cage's performance was...well, lets just say that he was there. The CGI effects were awesome enough for a Disney feature such as this. An enjoyable and a fun movie for audiences of all ages.

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