Written By - Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard

Directed By - John Turtletaub

Starring - Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina

Disney presents THE SORCERERS APPRENTICE and that's all you really need to know. There is nothing here too challenging, too edgy, or too controversial, everything is safe and harmless.

An 8th century war between wizards spills over into the 21st century when someone mishandles a set of Russian stack dolls containing a menagerie of evil wizards. Basically what follows are the first 6 Harry Potter films compacted into the next hour and a half. A young wizard reluctantly comes to realize his own destiny just in time to fight an ancient evil hell bent on destroying the world. Not surprisingly he finds the inner strength to succeed.

Despite its obviousness, the film is nothing if not entertaining. Baruchel is what he is and if you've seen him in anything else, you've seen him in this. His awe shucks routine hasn't quite moved into type casting territory - yet, and I stress yet. Alfred Molina is criminally under used as the evil wizard, Horvath, who's hell bent on freeing the rest of the evil wizards. He chews scenery and brings a life and energy to the role that not many actors would have the balls to unleash. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Nic Cage. Cage looks as miserable as ever as he struggles to strip every iota of joy out of every scene. Its hard to believe that this is the same guy that was amazing in LEAVING LAS VEGAS. Saddly it seems after the disaster that was the WICKERMAN remake, he has just given up, and it's a shame.

Turteltaubs directorial job is fine. He has experience with these types of CG heavy adventures, after all he is the man behind both National Treasure films. The film looks great, seamlessly transitioning between three different periods of time. The CG versus green screen shots are barely noticeable and other than Cage, he gets good performances out of all the actors.

Whats most maddening about the film is that it's so thin. Disney films are not meant to be head scratchers, but flushing out the script could have only helped. The seeds of great ideas hare here: Balthazar and Horvaths past alliance destroyed by their love for the same woman, Horvath as the revenge driven jilted lover, Dave and Beckys burgeoning love mirroring Daves own growing confidence as a wizard, but sadly they are but small points wiped away by the next cool looking effect or Disney homage.

Overall - Shut Your Brain Off and Look At the Pretty Colors : Thumbs in the Middle

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