“You are the One.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are. You must believe in your powers.”
Bad thing happens.
“Oh, okay, I’m the One.”
Yes, I’m paraphrasing and no, I’m not regurgitating the dialogue from The Matrix. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the new Jerry Bruckheimer produced Disney film is.
The guy trying to do the convincing is Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), a sorcerer who learned the craft from the great Arthurian mage Merlin. The one resisting the fact he is ‘The One’ is Dave (Jay Baruchel), a 19-year old physics nerd. Balthazar has been searching for him for hundreds of years because, as written by more people than I care to imagine, evil wizards and wizardesses want to destroy the world. Problem is these evil doers — Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Morgana (Alice Krige) — are locked away safe and tight in a magical vessel and can harm no one. Keep the vessel hidden (by say a magical cloaking spell) and no one would find and by chance break it open. End of movie. But, of course the incredible containment unit is left out in the open and doesn’t resist a fall from a table very well.
Anyways, the bad guys are out and Dave needs to learn that spell casting stuff. With some comedic flair, Balthazar explains to Dave that in order to do this (make a plasma ball), you’ve got to do that (gesticulate hands like your massaging a stress ball); want this (look like an idiot), try this (stand on your head). But it couldn’t be that easy — Dave has a crush on his grade school classmate, who has suddenly, for the sake of being a distraction, been reintroduced to him. Becky (Teresa Palmer) doesn’t do much other than look pretty and feign incredulousness when she learns Dave is the Chosen One.
And speaking of underutilized characters, Monica Bellucci, who plays Balthazar’s love interest Veronica, may as well not even have a part. I understand the family friendly arc of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but c’mon people, it’s Monica Bellucci for Christ’s sake. Dress her up a bit and give her some more words to speak with that sultry Italian accent! The dads and sons in the audience wouldn’t have minded in the least.
What the film lacks in plot and sense is made up for in effects. They are, I must say, quite good. Cars, during a high speed chase, morph into, well, other cars; a paper dragon becomes a very alive dragon hungry for sorcerer blood; and a roof decoration takes flight. The final battle between good and evil puts on quite a light show too, although the ending could have used more punch to it. Literally.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a pure popcorn summer flick — short on anything of merit, tall on razzle dazzle.