Sorcererís Apprentice, The
PG
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Monica Bellucci, Toby Kebbell. Comedy adventure. Written by Matt Lopez and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard. Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Produced by action-vet Jerry Bruckheimer.

FILM SNYOPSIS: Walt Disney Studios, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, the creators of the National Treasure franchise, present this comedy adventure about a sorcerer and his hapless apprentice who are swept into the center of an ancient conflict between good and evil. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar canít do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a nerdy guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protťgť. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness.

PREVIEW REVIEW: As we film reviewers leave press screenings, weíre asked by studio publicists what we thought about the films. Itís one of the worse parts of my job. Theyíre nice people and they are asking me for what is merely an opinion. But critics and publicists are professionals and we live in a moderately benign association. With The Sorcererís Apprentice, I had to shrug my shoulders at the question, and tell the publicist Iíd seen it a hundred times. Evil sorcerers vs. good sorcerers tossing CGI fireballs at one another, while some dorky kid manages to save the day and get the hottie girl.

Essentially, each summer epic action blockbuster contains the same content Ė comic book characterizations and cartoonish violence (little blood, but lots of explosions, chases and body slams). As Iíve said, Iíve seen it all before and very often from the flashy producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Mr. Bruckheimer has done well with Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun and Bad Boys, but lately, heís a hit-and-miss producer (Black Hawk Down and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl being extremely well made, Gone in Sixty Seconds, King Arthur somewhat lacking). Though some of his films lacked much substance (Coyote Ugly), he always managed to incorporate style (Flashdance). It can be said that he has a hand on the pulse of the movie-going public, but it can also be said that he puts the pursuit of the almighty buck before style or substance. Okay, thatís a producerís job, but often moviegoers are cheated when moviemaking becomes top heavy with action, the other story elements being ignored.

In this past couple of decades, Jerry Bruckheimer has been counted on to fill his films with action, action, action. And what I must keep in mind is that each summer a new batch of 14-year-old boys come along, and they havenít seen this type of film a hundred times. Only 50 times. They love it and they are used it. And they donít look to films for character or plot development. I understand. Iím not quite sure why these films are so beloved by older folk, but mine is not to reason whyÖ

There are a few entertaining moments in The Sorcererís Apprentice, and we at the screening got a kick out of the one moment this live-action film duplicated Mickey Mouseís frustrating encounter with Fantasiaís enchanted cleaning supplies. Whatís more, itís a clean film where the good sorcerers beat the bad sorcerers and the geeky kid gets the girl. But while itís loud and antic-filled, it wasnít much fun. I preferred the following action-packed adventures: Iron Man because of its wit, its expert use of effects, and the incorporation of a moral, Batman Begins for its allegorical parable about how easy it is to be charmed and deceived by the dark side, while also holding us captive with well-staged action sequences, and Bullitt, because no one was ever cooler than Steve McQueen in that film, and no computer-generated effects were used in the best car chase of all time.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Disney Studios

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of mild crudities.
Obscene Language: The expression ďliving hellĒ is heard a couple of times, but I caught no obscenity.
Profanity: Variations of the expression, ďOh my GodĒ are heard three times from the young lead.
Violence: Though comic-book-like, itís filled from beginning to end with action sequences, including sword fights, body slams and tosses, explosions, wizards throwing balls of fire at their adversaries, and menacing creatures coming to life to threaten the leads; a woman wizard stabs Merlin to death; the leads are chased by large, snarling wolves with red, demonic eyes. No blood.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: There are magic spells, incantations, and a chant within a makeshift pentagram that leads to a soul transference; while the magic seems harmless entertainment, we are warned in the Bible not to use witchcraft or spells, yet we are often entertained by these forms of sorcery.
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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