x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Jay Baruchel's performance helps keep The Sorcerer's Apprentice afloat

The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina

This fantasy children's film from Disney was one of the biggest box office flops of the past year. That's not to say it's entirely awful, however; it does, after all, feature the loveable Jay Baruchel, most recently heard as one of the voices in the critically acclaimed How to Train Your Dragon.

It also stars Nicolas Cage, an actor who tends to either be very good or very bad. His performance here as a sorcerer called Balthazar Blake - one of three apprentices of the legendary wizard Merlin - is in the latter catagory. Equally off-putting is the premise of the film. Things go awry when one of the other apprentices, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), betrays his tutor after switching his allegiance to an evil sorceress, Morgana. After capturing the traitorous apprentice in a Grimhold - a prison built like a Russian doll - Blake travels the world in search of Merlin's replacement. Fast forward several hundred years and the wild-haired wizard winds up in New York City, his mission yet to be completed.

As luck would have it, one Dave Stutler (Baruchel), a 20-year-old science nerd and magician in the making, shares the same postcode. Crossing paths, it's not long before plenty of CGI fight scenes, stiflingly stereotypical love stories, and battles between the forces of good and evil ensue. The plot is inanely predictable; the acting even more so. Even Baruchel at times seems to be coasting. The film does have its moments, especially in the scenes that parody Fantasia, but overall it's not really worthy of anyone's full attention.