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The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
A film that definitely deserves your time.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a mix of the television series Merlin, the Alchemyst book series from Michael Scott, and a dash of Doctor Who. In this world, anything is possible through magic using science. However, it requires not one, but two different prologues to explain everything. This must be why the marketing department didn't bother to explain that the movie revolves around the mortal enemies of Merlin and Morgana le Fay. It was a very refreshing take on Merlin to kill him off in the first five minutes and set up Morgana for a present day awakening. Naturally, Merlin needs a successor but his personal "sword in the stone" takes the form of a ring: a dragon that sleeps until the day he meets the special boy that will defeat Morgana forever.
Enter, David Stutler, a screw-up kid who can't do anything right. Yet, who can resist a ten-year-old with a Buzz Lightyear alarm clock? Jake Cherry is well-cast and well-trained to mirror the mannerisms of Jay Baruchel, his grown-up counterpart who appears in the next scene. Baruchel first starred in the short lived television series, Undeclared. After nine years of being the co-star, his biggest role to date was the unseen voice actor for Hiccup in Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon. Here, he's the titular character and pulls it off, even though his hair does seem Ten-ish. (Or perhaps Tennant-ish would be the better term.) Even more surprising was Nicholas Cage. His career seemed to have hit a creative plateau where his name was no longer a draw. Then, Kickass came along and reminded us why we liked him in the first place. His character is Balthazar Blake and was an apprentice of Merlin. For over a thousand years, he's lived to help save the world from the acolytes of Morgana and to find Merlin's successor. Usually, Cage appears too laid back, but here, even in silence you can see him acting whether it's the frown of his lips or the haunted look in his eyes. You can see the thousand years he's lived through and what it's meant to him.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice runs under two hours, but never appears too slow or too fast. The action only rests for a moment so the viewer can catch their breath before it picks up again: betrayals, double-crosses, dragons coming alive or the greatest car chase ever. There is never a moment to stop and let the audience's minds reflect on whether they need more milk in the fridge or if they ought to get new shoes.
The film is inspired by the cartoon short in Fantasia featuring Mickey Mouse which was in turn inspired by a Victorian symphonic poem by Paul Dukas. The required scene was done in a cute way that doesn't tarnish the original and there is a further reference if you stay through all the credits. This is the best film Jerry Bruckheimer has produced since the first two installments of Pirates of the Caribbean.