July 16, 2010 in Features

‘Apprentice’ script-writing fails to enchant

Rick Bentley Fresno Bee

The biggest problem with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a lack of magic.

Based loosely on “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence from the 1940 animated classic “Fantasia,” the film tells the story of Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), an apprentice of Merlin, who is searching for a sorcerer with the skills of King Arthur’s magician.

He finds the magical heir in the nerdish Dave (Jay Baruchel). The two team up to stop the sinister Horvath (Alfred Molina) from releasing the even more sinister Morgana (Alice Krige) from her nesting-doll prison.

There are a few good action sequences, but those can’t distract from the sleep-inducing lulls in the muddled script. It bounces from comedy to drama to love story for a mishmash that’s about as interesting as a magician trying to saw a lady in half.

Cage looks like a third-rate street magician with his long coat and mystical hand waving. Baruchel’s OK, but he is close to getting permanently typecast as a nerd who always gets the hot girl.

And it was an asinine decision to base the film on Mickey Mouse’s sorcerer in “Fantasia.” Except for the idea that a sorcerer has taken an apprentice and a sequence with dancing mops, the two have nothing in common. So why set yourself up for comparisons?

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