Movie Monday: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

The Sorcerer's ApprenticeWhile I was quite suspicious of the plot for this movie, especially since the Harry Potter craze, I was a little disappointed in the story line. I generally enjoy performances by Nicolas Cage, but every once in awhile he chooses roles that are just not right for him, and this was one of them. This richly CG-ed and awesomely filmed movie, was quite disappointing in the final product. All that said with my grown-up hat on, the kid in me (and my own kids) really enjoyed the FX enough to look past the trite dialogue and cliche storyline.

We learn of an ongoing battle between Merlin and Morgana le Fay. When Merlin dies, he magic is passed on to a future generation and Balthazar Blake is quested to find it when he traps Morgan le Fay (inside Veronica‘s body) inside a Grimhold (a magical doll). After a 1000-year search, Balthazar finds the heir to Merlin’s power in a young boy name Dave Stutler. Balthazar is then trapped for 10 years inside a magical urn with the evil Hovarth whom Dave accidentally released from the Grimhold. Ten years later, the dorky Dave, now a physics student, is drawn into the ongoing war when Hovarth and Balthazar escape the urn and search for the Grimhold. Balthazar convinces Dave that he is the only one who can stop Morgan le Fay and they start training. Meanwhile, Hovarth beats them to the Grimhold and starts releasing bad guys, who are then sacrificed in order to increase his power. The whole thing culminates in a final battle in a park where Morgan le Fay is released and attempts to destroy the world.

I had not originally planned on watching the movie yet, but I was drawn in by the dramatic final battle when my kids were watching it at their grandparents house. I was so impressed that I insisted on watching it from the beginning as soon as they finished. The special effects were stunning. The final battle was very well done with a great balance between magic and cunning.

However, I was greatly disappointed by the plot, as the hero’s journey was poorly developed, the romance was boringly cliche, and the mentor/student relationship was quite poor. The story was quite predictable and not very unique to the genre of magical quests. Cage’s performance as the teacher (Balthazar) was quite flat.

Since this was made with kids and families in mind, though, I cannot ignore their reception of the movie. My kids (ages 6-11) were quite impressed and found the dialogue funny and the story interesting. If you have a young family, I would strongly recommend this movie for a Family Date Night activity. If it’s just you, I would pass.

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