The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Blu-ray)
I have to blame PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. If that film hadn’t been so successful and enjoyable, then producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney would never have moved forward with taking basic ideas of a specific scene, theme park ride or video game and making it into a feature film. But alas, Pirates was great and pulled in a ton of cash, so now we have to suffer through films like THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE that try to recapture some of that magic. This marks the second failure Bruckheimer and Disney had in 2010.
So how did they make a movie based on one scene in an animated film? Well, the idea is that Balthazar (Cage) is the apprentice of the great magician Merlin and when Merlin dies, he tasks Balthazar with finding his successor. Many years pass and then David (Baruchel) walks in and the apprentice is found. From there, we embark on a master-student relationship where the weak and unconfident David has to believe in himself to beat the evil forces. Of course, a better way to describe the story would be to point out that they steal from virtually every other film around, including STAR WARS, THE MUMMY and various Disney cartoons to create a movie that has no identity or aspect that sets it apart from countless other films.
It’s not that I expect every summer blockbuster to be INCEPTION, but if you’re going to rehash a storyline that’s been done several times before, you have to add something original to it and the filmmakers failed to do that. Every scene felt like something I’ve seen before and the lazy performances all but mocked the audience for watching. Even the usually great Alfred Molina was reduced to a cliché of a villain that we never felt posed a real threat to our heroes. And what kind of rules existed in this world of magic? At times, the sorcerers could bend time and create whatever they wanted out of thin air and at others they were reduced to fist fighting with each other. That kind of inconsistency and laziness is unacceptable for a movie of this magnitude.
I don’t want to be too hard on the film, there was one great scene where Jay Baruchel, as the apprentice, casts a spell to get the mops and brooms to clean up his work space. But things get out of hand and it just turns into a bigger mess. Oh wait, that’s the very scene from FANTASIA that the film was based on and guess what? It’s a great scene, that’s it. It’s not an excuse to make an entire film. I can honestly say that the rest of the movie was yawn after yawn of Nic Cage phoning in another performance or Jay Baruchel milking that dorky schtick of his to the point of nausea. I can’t sit through another film with Baruchel’s nervous twitching and whiny voice. Baruchel is a great supporting character that is good every now and again for a few laughs (ala TROPIC THUNDER), but he is not a leading man.
It’s not like the filmmakers had a good idea and just didn’t execute it well, they never really had anything to begin with. I think there was too much faith in the title, producer and production company to put people in the theater and not enough time was spent thinking about what they were doing. Pirates was a flash in the pan and Bruckheimer and Disney would be wise to avoid trying to turn nothing into something. I know this is going to sound crazy, but they need to go back to making movies the old fashioned way, which means finding original ideas and well-written scripts.
Video (1080p HD,2.40:1): Disney continues to be the standard for video quality and THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is another example of how beautiful Blu-rays can be.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): The audio was clear, but I felt they missed the ball a little bit when it comes to using the surround speakers and the subwoofer. For a movie like this, utilizing the surround sound ability in a Blu-ray would really add to the experience and this felt a little flat. But that’s more due to the filmmakers than the transfer.
Magic in the City (12:51) A making of featurette with the typical cast and crew interviews and full of behind the scenes shots and movie clips.
The Science of Sorcery (10:27) How science and visual effects combined to make up all the science stuff in the film.
Making Magic Real (11:14) About the visual effects that went into making this film.
Fantasia: Reinventing A Classic (10:12) A short featurette with the cast and crew reminiscing about the Disney classic FANTASIA and how they felt recreating the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene.
The Fashionable Drake Stone (2:08)A small bit about the costuming of the character Drake Stone.
The Grimhold: An Evil Work of Art (3:45)This is a look at the Grimhold (aka Russian Dolls) and how they worked the visual effects on it.
The Encantus (2:21)This is about how they made the spell book featured in the film.
Wolves & Puppies (3:06)Remember that short scenes with the wolves and puppies, here is where you get to meet them.
The World’s Coolest Car (1:32) This is actually one of Nic Cage’s cars that he lent for the film.
Deleted Scenes (7:47) These are all short, sweet and cut for pacing purposes.
Outtakes (3:13) Typical outtakes reel, lots of laughing and flubbed lines.
Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumba