DON'T FIRE THIS "APPRENTICE" -- IT'S BETTER THAN YOU MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT @ 3 December 2010 10:39 PM
When Disney announced a live action adventure feature based on The Sorcerer's Apprentice, at first it was met with disbelief. When it became clear that it was a action/fantasy more in the manner of a modern day Harry Potter, the general reception improved. However the box office did not yield results as spectacular as the resulting film.
It's a shame because my family and I enjoyed it in the theather and again seeing it at home on this DVD/Blu-Ray release. Nicolas Cage plays the mentor sorcerer Balthazar in the manner of his performance in National Treasure, a crowd favorite, and Jay Baruchel (who scored much higher, box-office-wise, in How to Train Your Dragon) does a creditable job as a likable young nerd who learns the apparent connection between science and magic.
The cast appears to be having a ball. The always entertaining Alfred Molina delights in yet another larger-than-life villain role, much more rich than the one he was given in Prince of Persia.
There are some deleted scenes as bonus features (more on the Blu-Ray than the DVD) and making-of feature, but no commentary, which might have been welcome. However there is that thoughtful narrative description feature for the sight impaired and those of us who might like to listen to the movie without watching -- like the classic Disneyland Storyteller LP series of days past.
The film's centerpiece of course is the iconic broom sequence made so famous by Mickey Mouse's definitive Fantasia performance and Paul Dukas' masterful music. It's cute and brilliantly executed (as one of the bonus features prove) but hardly the same as the animated version. However, these moments of sheer magical whimsy put me in the mind of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and made me yearn for a all-out family fantasy in the classic Disney tradition. Maybe someday...
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