BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Nicolas Cage spins magic and mayhem on Disney's latest home video release...
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There's something about movies featuring magic that's just...well...magic. Whether it's a modern fan-favorites like The Prestige or older fan-favorites like The Wizard of Oz, films that feature magic and mysticism entertain in their own, unique way. Enter Disney's latest live-action magic movie: The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a magical go-round aimed at the young and old alike.
Starring the somewhat miscast Nicolas Cage as Balthazar Blake, one of Merlin's original students, and Jay Baruchel as Dave, Blake's reluctant modern-day apprentice, the live-action family film is lighthearted, fun and somewhat goofy film which reminds me of the effects-laden Steven Sommer's film The Mummy, only aimed at youth instead of adults.
Clocking in at 109 minutes, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is based on the favorite animated short of the same name from Fantasia, which was also released today on Blu-ray (watch for a review of it later this week). Somewhat goofy in its story, the film follows Dave, a somewhat nerdy college student who may be the latest in a line of suspected Prime Merlinians, capable of harnessing the complete and total power of the greatest magician of all time.
The film features a solid cast of characters, including Nicolas Cage (an interesting and slightly odd choice), who has gone off his rocker in his portrayal of Blake, who both smiles when he's happy and smiles to simply show teeth. Other impressive cast members includes Alfred Molina as Blake's devious archenemy Maxim Horvath and Monica Bellucci as the sexy Veronica.
Likewise, the pacing of the film, while action packed, seems crammed full of training montages, forcing viewers to watch as Blake instructs Dave in magic and its proper use. While tiring, these training montages feature plenty of impressive effects, sure to impress the 12 and under crowd.
The 2-disc blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes the film in both standard and hi-def. The 1080p video is beautifully captured as is the usual with Disney's blu-ray home video releases. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers, with plenty of explosions, plasma blasts, and magical sounds.
Also included on this 2-disc set are a variety of special featurettes, including "Magic in the City," a look at filming in NYC; "The Science of Sorcery," which examines the science behind the magic; "Making Magic Real," focusing on how the magical effects were done, "Fantasia: Reinventing a Classic," showing the film's inspiration; and "The Fashionable Drake Stone," a brief look at one of the film's characters.
Other short featurettes include "The Grimhold: An Evil Work of Art," which focuses on the doll in the film; "The Encantus," showing Blake's crazy spell book; "Wolves & Puppies," focusing on the Horvath's pets; and "The World's Coolest Car," which examines the one and only Rolls Royce Phantom Cage drives in the film. Other bonus features include a number of deleted scenes and outtakes.
While The Sorcerer's Apprentice may not have the appeal of other Disney films, it's a solid and entertaining family film which will appeal most to young boys, wishing they too could be the sorcerer's apprentice.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is rated PG for fantasy action violence, some mild rude humor and brief language. The Sorcerer's Apprentice is available now on Blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley