Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)

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Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer’s Productions
Distributed by : Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Nicholas Cage – Balthazar Blake
Jay Baruchel – Dave Stutler
Teresa Palmer – Rebecca/Becky Barnes
Monica Belucci - Veronica
Alfred Molina – Maxim Horvath
Alice Krige – Morgana le Fay
James A. Stephens – Merlin
Toby Kebbell – Drake Stone
Jake Cherry – 10-year old Dave Stutler
Gregory Woo – Sun Lok

It started sometime in 740 A.D. where one of the greatest wizards/sorcerer of time lived; Merlin, who had three apprentices; Balthazar, Veronica and Horvath whom he trusted and taught all his arts and skills to.
As it was quoted, “He should have trusted only two”, as one of his apprentices; Horvath joined forces with an evil sorceress; Morgana who was intent on destroying Merlin.
During the power struggle, Morgana managed to stab Merlin and the injury left him fighting for his dear life in front of Balthazar and Veronica. Balthazar continues to battle Horvath; and Morgana was about to kill Balthazar when Veronica used her skills to morph Morgana’s soul into herself to prevent her from killing him. This soul unification was a dangerous one as Morgana was more powerful than her, and she starts to kill her from within.
Balthazar then summons and imprisons Morgana/Veronica’s spirit into the Grimhold; a wooden doll-like structure, and when he managed to trap Horvath as well, it the wooden doll had another layer on top of it.

Merlin, who was on the verge of dying, then gives Balthazar his last message and handed him a dragon ring which will find his future successor; the Prime Merlinean who is the destined one and is the one who will be able to defeat and vanquish Morgana.

Thus Balthazar begun his search which lasted for centuries; in the meantime, trapping more of Morgana’s followers (Morganans), and evil sorcerers who tried to release Morgana; creating successive layers on top of the doll.

Dave Stutler was a young 10-year old boy who was headed on a field trip to New York city, and it was when he was trying to attract the attention of his classmate Becky Barnes whom he had a crush on, that he ended up in an old antique store in an alley in the city.

Balthazar led him to put on the ring; which magically coiled around the boy’s finger, which signified that the successor had been found.
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Balthazar, was ready to heave a sigh of relief but when he left to get his book, Dave accidentally released Horvath from the Grimhold and during the struggle, Balthazar and Horvath were both imprisoned in an ancient dynasty urn containing the ashes of the emperor’s least favorite concubines. Dave, shocked by the whole incident and drama in front of his eyes, ran away and threw the Grimhold to the side of the street.

Ten years later, Dave had grown up to be a 20-year old physics undergraduate in New York University where he bumped into his old crush; Becky Barnes.
At the same time, Horvath and Balthazar were both released by an old couple in their apartment. They had bought the urn from a flea market; believing that it was a unique antique vase from China and unknowingly released Horvath and Balthazar.

Horvath and Balthazar both battled against time (and each other) to get to the Grimhold and Horvath was set on destroying the Prime Merlinean; while Balthazar wanted to train him to defeat Morgana and to succeed over Merlin.
Horvath got to Dave first but was intercepted by Balthazar who whisked him away, on a steel eagle initially perched on top of a building.

The chase continued for the Grimhold during which Dave refused to help Balthazar as he only wanted to lead a normal life and not one that is mythical and dangerous. Balthazar struck a deal with him whereby he will only need Dave’s help to locate the Grimhold and after that, he is free to do what he wants.
Dave agreed to the deal and soon, Balthazar tracked the location of the Grimhold using his own navigational system to Chinatown and finally gotten hold of the Grimhold while at the same time, accidentally releasing another evil sorcerer; a Morganian, Sun Lok.
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During the ensuing battle with this evil wizard on the streets of Chinatown, Dave used his ring and managed to defeat Sun Lok which ignited his interest in magic. He then agreed to learn magic and became Balthazar’s apprentice.
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He slacked once in a while and even tried to use magic to perform his cleaning up chore which backfired.
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However, as he slowly encountered obstacle by obstacle and learning the truth about his identity as the Chosen One to be the Prime Merlinean, he soon went against all odds to master magic and finally defeated Morgana and at the same time, reunited Veronica and Balthazar; his mentor who almost died.
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He also finally found his own happiness in his lady love, Becky.

What I liked about this movie is the fact that it is associated with Walt Disney? (Hehe, I am a Disney fan after all, ain’t I?) Okay, besides THAT, I liked how the story developed; a simple and generic plot which was quite typical but the flow and the action was not too much at the same time to make it overwhelming as an entertaining story. I also liked the fact that it was associated to Merlin; one of my favorite characters in the books I used to read, the most powerful wizard of all times.
Oh, the OST too, happened to be one of my favorite songs from One Republic!
“Those are old man shoes” says Dave when Balthazar told him to put on the shoes for better magical performances.
I also liked the apprentice of Horvath; who was a part-time magician.
Another interesting aspect of the movie was how they assimilated the concept of science; specifically Physics in explaining the course of magic. I guess it is also to the understanding of the younger generation who are now more intelligent and not as readily receptive towards the idea of magic or any unexplained matter exists without the backing up of science. It is a very scientific world these days, and I felt it was logical and not too ridiculous to make up the pulse of how magic works.
Also, did you realize that they are now focusing a lot on making nerdy, geeky or smart kids the heroes these days? That is a change.

What I disliked was that there should have been more scenes adapted from the actual kids’ book’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, you know, the Mickey Mouse version. They did adapt the scene which was really well known, where he ordered the mops and the brooms to work themselves in cleaning the place up which backfired but I would have love to see more of how a mortal could do with the world of magic anyway.
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What could be better, definitely the lighting and the costumes! Haha, if you noticed, the whole drama seems to be a depiction or campaign of Earth Hour where it was mostly dark and also, the cast didn’t seem to have much to change into; it seems to be the same attire for the whole two hours.

There should also be more scenes on the funny apprentice of Horvath; he seemed to have too short of a screen time.
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It would have been more humor-packed had his clumsiness as the apprentice been focused as well.

My Conclusion/Verdict Go watch it if you are a Disney or Jerry Bruckheimer’s or a National Treasure or a fan of magical worlds! It is entertaining and I laughed at their jokes (though no one else in the cinema did). I think it was really simple and just light-hearted to lift the stress from your mind!
Furthermore, if you are a skeptic and a firm science disciple, you would be intrigued by the way they explain magic and of course, the Tesla Circle =)

Rating: 7 out of 10

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