Tuesday 10 August 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Nicholas Cage, Alfred Molina
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Walt Disney Studios

In Cinemas from 11th August
Review by Kelly Prior

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tells the story of Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage - The Wicker Man, G-Force), one of three apprentices to Merlin, and his quest to find the descendant of Merlin who will inherit his power and defeat the evil sorceress Morgana le Fay. After centuries of searching, Balthazar finally meets Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), and decides that he is definitely the right guy. The only problem is that Dave is a young, clumsy science student, uneducated in social skills, and with no concept of magic. With the traitor Maxim Horvath (Doctor Octopus) on the loose and Balthazar’s one true love trapped in a Grimhold (a magical prison similar to a Russian nesting doll) it is up to Dave to conquer his fear of the unknown and unlock the magic within him and become Balthazar’s apprentice.

This film really surprised me. I thought I would be watching a harmless child’s film about wizards and juvenile magic (watch Disney’s The Wizards of Waverly Place and you’ll see what I mean), but what The Sorcerer’s Apprentice delivered was much more impressive; a gritty, dark and artistic film, with a great deal of depth and some really remarkable scenes. Interestingly, the film starts off as a stereotypical child’s film with the kind of innocence and simplicity of a great deal of Disney’s live action stuff, but as Dave grows from a young boy to an urban twenty-something, the film seems to mature right alongside him.

Baruchel is a wonderful casting choice for Dave, “the sorcerer’s apprentice”. His kooky and unassuming nature makes him charming and immediately likable. Dave is an “everyman” - just your average bloke - and I think this is what makes him so mesmerising as a main character. His clumsy shyness is not seen as a negative thing, but actually more of an endearing quality. He is a very unlikely hero, and that’s what makes him perfect for the role. Even more surprisingly, Nicolas Cage is actually remarkable in his role of Balthazar Blake. It’s the kind of role you would imagine Hugh Laurie or John Hurt playing, but Cage actually steals the show. He is so convincing in this role that it might actually be remembered as one of his finest acting achievements. It really was genius casting. If you’re prone to a bit of a sniffle during a film, Cage will have you in tears.

The film harbours some really amusing references, including a whole scene devoted to Disney’s well known Fantasia, obviously mimicking Mickey Mouse’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, where mops and buckets come alive and “help” the apprentice to do some chores, resulting in hilarious consequences. The film has a great deal of magic in it, and the CG stuff is really impressive. Looking back at some of the older Disney stuff, it’s amazing to see how far we have come in the movie industry to be able to make things appear, without a doubt, 100% real. A Chinese carnival dragon is transformed into a remarkable giant metal dragon which chases Dave in one of the most memorable scenes of the movie. The magic in this film is closely followed by science, and the link between the two makes this film a really wonderful and thought provoking viewing experience.

The villains are hit and miss, but are mostly satisfactory. Maxime Horvath is a dastardly evil genius with a wry sense of humour, nicely complemented by his assistant, the very entertaining and lovable Drake Stone. Morgana Le Fay turns out to be rather underwhelming, and they also seem to have shoehorned in a Salem witch, who really doesn’t add anything to the viewing experience and then gets forgotten quickly. As with the majority of Disney films, there are a couple of love stories in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The romance is present often enough to be significant to the plot and to enhance our experience, but it does not at any point get in the way of all the fighting, magic and comedy that makes this film so very impressive.

Disney seems to be riding on a wave of success lately, with a string of popular movies in the theatre this year (Alice in Wonderland, The Princess and the Frog, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to name a few) and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice really does prove why Disney is still so popular today. I took Ashley Pearce, a film enthusiast, with me to see this film and he was stunned by how impressive this film was. He bravely mused to me that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice may actually overshadow the much anticipated Toy Story 3 upon its release.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Lots of fantasy violence and combat scenes.
Sex/Nudity: Innocent love stories, nothing more than a kiss.
Swearing: None, but it doesn’t stop the characters being believable.
Summary: It has to be said that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ticks all the boxes and has all the ingredients of the perfect film. The special effects are stunning and the overall viewing experience will leave you completely satisfied 9/10


Sun…Sea…Sand…and Sharks!

Snapping hot on the heels of Mega Piranha comes Mega Shark in Malibu

The peaceful Malibu seas are about to turn blood red when an undersea tremor releases six bone-armoured goblin sharks from their subterranean prison.

As a tsunami, spotted off the California coast, fast approaches, it soon becomes crystal clear that no where is safe from the razor-sharp teeth of the deadly creatures. Trapped in their lifeguard station, lifeguards Doug, Heather and Barb along with knockout new arrival Jenny find themselves up to their necks in water fighting for survival.

Will the predictably good-looking cast live to bronze another day or will they be left as chum by the hungry prehistoric predators?
Evil Angel takes the ancient myth of Lilith into the 21st Century with a murderously sexy and seductive villainess who, as Earth's first woman, proudly lays claim to being the world's first serial killer.

Thanks to our friends at Scanbox Entertainment, we've got a copy of Evil Angel on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to evilangelgiveaway@yahoo.co.uk with your name and postal address before midday on Tuesday 17th August (UK time). The first name drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

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