Movie Review – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Magic & Mayhem

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Do you ever wish you were a sorcerer with amazing magical powers?  Even though sorcerers have incredible powers, they live a life full of risks and mayhem, as you see in the intertwined lives of Dave, a 20-year-old modern day physics nerd, and Balthazar, a sorcerer from the Middle Ages in the new Disney film “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

When the movie opens, 10-year-old Dave has a crush on his cute classmate Becky in New York City where they go to school.  He even writes her a note for her to choose if she is his friend or girlfriend when they are on a field trip.  She checked a box before the yellow note flew into the streets, into an alley full of crumpled paper, and into the mail slot of a store.

Dave walked into the room and met a man wearing a long black leather coat, named Balthazar, who showed him a tiny, intricately carved, jewel-studded metal dragon.  On Dave’s hand, the dragon suddenly comes to life, crawling onto his finger, and turned into a ring!  Suddenly, Dave’s world and Balthazar’s collides, and Dave learns the secret of the ring and the mysterious Balthazar.  This is my favorite scene in the movie.

Suddenly, a layered doll where Balthazar had trapped many people breaks, and a swarm of insects crawl out and turn into a sorcerer gone bad, named Maxim Horvath (Balthazar’s enemy), now fighting for the doll with Balthazar.  Dave has no idea of the evil trapped in the many layers of the doll.

10 years later, Dave unwittingly reconnects with Balthazar, and finds his childhood crush Becky again, but must learn the art of sorcery from Balthazar to fight the evil Horvath and save the world.

I have to say that I like animation better than live action movies in general.  In live action, actors are limited by their physical abilities.  In animation, you can make characters do anything because it is a world of fantasy, not realism. The only limitation is your imagination.

Towards the end of the movie, special effects become overloaded and the film loses its magic.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is about love, friendship, adventure, and the risks and rewards of magical power.  It has fantasy, visually-stunning actions, romance, and great humor, most of which comes from Dave (or Jay Baruchel who played Dave as a physics nerd).

I interviewed Jay Baruchel in “How to Train Your Dragon” press junket in Beverly Hills in March 2010.  He voiced the lead character Hiccup.  He is really witty, charming, and insightful.  He told me he was nerdy like Hiccup when he was growing up, not into sports, but loved reading and acting.  I can see Baruchel put a lot of himself into Dave’s personality.

I give the film 4 starfish (out of 5).  The acting is superb, especially from Nicholas Cage (Balthazar) and Baruchel.  Cage appears confident and always in control of his environment.  My favorite character is Dave, who at 10 is brave, innocent, curious, and probably smarter than most of his peers.  Young man Dave is suspicious, wary, and lovesick, but with a sense of duty and honor.  He uses science to his advantage when fighting evil.  Dave held on to the question from his yellow note for 10 years after the note was lost, which empowers him in his quest for love and mastery of sorcery.

Duty comes with magic power, but love is more powerful than duty.

Copyright 2010 by Perry S. Chen


Perry Chen is a 10-year-old award-winning film and entertainment critic, artist, speaker, budding filmmaker and animator, featured on CBS Evening News, National Public Radio (NPR), San Diego Union Tribune, and numerous other regional media.  Starting July 16, 2010, Perry is writing for the San Diego Entertainer magazine to review movies, restaurants, and family-friendly entertainment.

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