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<Movie Details
Review
11 September 2011 by Tim Evans

When German writer Goethe penned the original Sorcerer's Apprentice in 1797 - a short poem concerned with a mischievous broomstick - it's unlikely he saw any adaptation featuring a 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom morphing into a Mercedes McClaren SUV.
 
Yet this - and more - is what you get in director Jon Turteltaub's rollicking adventure, an audacious re-imagining of the original story that gives full rein to the computer programmer's digital alchemy.
 
The art deco eagle gargoyles that adorn New York's iconic Chrysler Building swoop into life, a paper Chinese street dragon finds terrifying form as a rampaging monster, and Nic Cage has to fight off a giant animated brass bull. (Let's face it, he's appeared in plenty.)
 
Here he's in luck as Balthazar Blake, a contemporary of Merlin who is seeking to free his true love Veronica (Bellucci) while preventing the evil Morgana re-awaking an evil army of magicians (think Paul Daniels x5) to enslave the world.
 
Problem is, both formidable fillies are literally spell-bound inside a Russian Doll-style container...and Balthazar has also got to fight off his old love rival and sorcerer-turned-bad Horvath (Molina in his second Manhattan monster role after Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2).
 
Popping up in modern-day Manhattan, Balthazar enrols the help of nervous physics student Dave Stutler (Baruchel - imagine Shia LeBeouf without the preening conceit) while Horvath turns to punked-out Cockernee celebrity illusionist Drake Stone (Kebbell) as the two race find the, er, doll of destiny.
 
Director Turteltaub, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Cage join forces for the first time since the (inferior) National Treasure series to produce an enjoyable slab of 22-carat popcorn; a dizzy ride enlivened by a strong cast and a sharp script.
 
Disney is no stranger to the story, having incorporated it into the hugely ambitious Fantasia in 1937, and due homage is paid in a miraculous CGI setpiece where an army of animated mops and sponges run amok in Dave's subterranean laboratory.
 
Cage - resplendent in acres of leather trenchcoat and a bird's nest barnet - has been here a dozen times before but gamely rises to the task while Molina gives the haughty Horvath a nice slice of English malice.
 
We could have got a few more laughs out of Billy Idol clone Drake, and Dave's romantic sub-plot with Becky Barnes' student pirate DJ is largely redundant. But that's carping.
 
For the most part everybody wins. Kids will love the splendid spectacle, mums and dads will happily go along for the ride and Nic's accountants will be more than happy.
 
Wand-erful stuff.


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