We've had icky weather this week so the kids and I went to see Sorcerer's Apprentice today.
This isn't meant to knock the film, but by far the most exciting part for me was seeing the really awesome Harry Potter trailer on a big screen.
Premise: Balthazar, one of Merlin's three apprentices, is alive and kicking in New York City in 2000. He's looking for the "Prime Merlinian" (which I heard as "prime millenium" until the end, thinking that he was looking for the first of the group of kids who came of age this millenium..., but I digress.)
Nic Cage plays Balthazar, with greasy hair and a wicked cool long coat made out of some dead animal or another.
He's trying to find this prime because he needs the kid to destroy Morgana, Merlin's worst enemy, who is entrapped (along with Balthazar's love Veronica) in a nesting doll, which I will call the Matruschka of Evil.
He first finds the kid in 2000 through accident, the kid, as is only natural when encountering thousand-year-old sorcerers (he accidentally lets out the third of the three apprentices who went all evil and allied with Morgana) and crazy magic. After that scene there's a fast forward 10 years and we see same kid as a geeky college student with a penchant for physics living in NYC.
Reason 1 why I liked the film: the dinky NY apartment he lives in actually LOOKS like the size, scale, and cruddieness of what a college kid in the city would actually live in. No Friends'-style rent-controlled 2000 square foot palace.
Kid (whose name is David) plays with Tesla coils in his spare time, and pursues a love interest who "knew him back when he had a nervous breakdown." The to-be-expected moments of doubt, humorous exchanges with his "master" Balthazar, and reversals are perhaps a bit predictable, but in my experience the kids enjoy movies that follow a predictable path.
So my overall impression is largely positive. It was a fun movie, clocking in just under 2 hrs (though the listing online showed it to be 121 mins.) It's a straight PG movie, but I would suggest only those who are comfortable with some scenes of scary stuff would be comfortable. My 6.5 year old who is well-versed in pretty advanced fare (all the Harry Potters, LotR, etc.) was a bit scared. That surprised me. My almost 9 year old loved it, says it's one of the best movies he's ever seen.
The scary stuff was magic-movie scary, from the way the evil apprentice reformed out of bugs (eww!) to the anticipation of knowing there's a showdown between the good guys and bad coming up, and magic battles where they're winging fire and plasma bolts at each other. There are quite a number of little bits very late in the movie (when, not to spoil it too much for you, some bad guys are maybe being raised from the dead, think graveyards and skulls...) that I thought were a bit much, but I think most of my daughter's reaction to the "scary" stuff was because the movie is really dark (very few scenes in daylight), and the score played her emotions well. Again, I think this is not necessarily a sign of a bad movie, in fact it may be quite the opposite - she was feeling just what the moviemakers wanted her to.
Her fear didn't keep her from enjoying the movie, but I'd caution those parents of younger kids that this is not some cute live-action remake of the Disney Mickey Mouse Fantasia bit. Although there was a funny redo of that scene. There's also an excellent use of "these are not the droids you're looking for" even if I did see it coming from a mile away.
Overall I thought the story was interesting enough, the action was plentiful, and the story moved at a predictable but reasonably quick pace. Nic Cage isn't so bad to look at, and the nerd actor plays nerd really well. The love interest is very compelling on screen, I like her a lot. (her name is Teresa Palmer and she looks a lot like Brittany Murphy, or at least as I remember Brittany Murphy from back in the day.)
It's worth an afternoon at the theater, worth your $6+ a ticket (and hey - let me give it a positive shout-out for NOT going down the 3-D road, because hellooooo Hollywood - 3D is annoying please lay off.) Just watch with caution with kids 8 and under, it might be a little scary for them.