The Sorcerer's Apprentice proves, once again, that Disney can do kid and tween fun better than most anybody out there, and sometimes surpasses itself by making a film that an adult will enjoy along with their progeny.
Balthazar, Horvath and Veronica (Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina and Monica Bellalucci) are the apprentices of Merlin (James A. Stephens) himself, as the film opens in 8th Century England. Balthazar and Veronica are in love, much to the chagrin of Horvath who also loves Veronica. This causes Horvath to betray Merlin and the duo to the evil Morgana (Alice Krige).
Morgana destroys Merlin, but then is absorbed by Veronica and imprisoned, along with Horvath, in a mystical matryoshka doll to await the coming of the Prime Merlinian, a future sorcerer that will assume Merlin's powers and finally be able to destroy Morgana.
We now move to the year 2000, when Balthazar, having been searching for the Prime Merlinian for centuries, encounters young Dave (the irrepressibly cutesy Jake Cherry), and freaks him out with his sorcery, as he fights a recently released Horvath.
Balthazar manages to imprison himself and Horvath in another magical jar for the next ten years. This is why the film takes place in the present day, and the now grown Dave (Jay Baruchel) character can have a love interest.
In 2010, Dave is a college physics nerd who has convinced himself the encounter with the two sorcerers years before was a hallucination brought about by a blood sugar imbalance (an excuse that diabetics across the nation I'm sure will take issue with).
He changes his tune about his encounter with sorcery when Balthazar shows up just in time to save him from an assault be Horvath, and he realizes that magic men get the chicks, like the one Dave's been pining away for since elementary school: Becky (Teresa Parker).
Dave must train under Balthazar to be able to defeat Morgana, whom Horvath is working to free from her centuries old imprisonment. But can Dave learn enough in time to help Balthazar stop Horvath and Morgana, and free Balthazar's lady love, Veronica from her tomb as well (cue dramatic organ music)?
On the performance end, Cage adds a sense of acting authority to the proceedings as does Molina, with Baruchel, the obvious heir to the Woody Allen comic loser throne once occupied by Ben Stiller, a delight as the reluctant hero of the film. And Toby Kebbell is obviously enjoying himself as a modern day evil sorcerer that is more akin to Vegas than old world magic.
This movie is fun, and energetic, and, okay, a leave your brain at the door type of young folks action flick, but I found it very appealing for its genre. The film even pays homage to the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon scene when Dave tries to get his lab to clean itself up and mops and brooms run amok!
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a good time at the movies as it delivers exactly what you'd expect, and does it in winning fashion!