Nicolas Cage returns to the movie industry this time not as a treasure hunter extraordinarie, but as one of the three Sorcerer's trusted by Merlin himself. Loosely based off of the Disney short "Fantasia," the movie follows a twenty year old boy named David (Jay Baruchel). Unaware of his magical ability, Dave initially rejects his calling to become a Sorcerer. Only after accidentally unleashing one of the most feared enemies into the world does he agree to help Balthazar (Cage).
At first, his magical ability is extremely weak. He cannot even conjure a plasma ball, the most basic of spells. However, with an instructor who learned from the famous Merlin, Dave eventually begins to control his ability. As with most movies with a "average guy who becomes the chosen one and must save the world" plot, The Sorcerer's Apprentice involves romance. Dave falls for a girl he met when he was ten however after an unfortunate turn of events, does not see her again until his collegiate years. His dream girl Becky (Teresa Palmer) is skeptical of seeing Dave after so many years, however soon becomes intrigued as Dave's physics and ingenuity helps her get her radio station back on the air. However, the great evil foil to Balthazar, Horvath (another apprentice to Merlin), plans to disrupt Dave's apprenticeship and unleash a horror the world has yet to see since the Medieval Era.
Similar to another movie I recently reviewed that shall go unnamed, The Sorcerer's Apprentice had amazing CGI. Magical spells worked well and made the film somewhat believable. Characters didn't have to dance around for five seconds before any magic actually took place *cough cough The Last Airbender*. I also found it rather fitting that *spoiler alert skip to the next paragraph* the scene from Fantasia where Mickey uses his spells to control mops to do his chores for him is expertly recreated and even includes the original music to go along with the amazing visuals.
Along with homages to the original "Fantasia" and excellent CGI, the acting skills were above par. It might just be that the last acting skills I saw in a theater involved a cast of children who had no personality, however, I still felt that Cage and the rest of the characters in this film did their part superbly. Also, to continue my previous rant on that Avatar movie, The Sorcerer's Apprentice actually had comedy. And it was actually funny. I don't want to give it away, but a certain Star Wars reference had my friends and I laughing for a while.
Overall, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is an excellent movie, one that I am certainly not unhappy paying for. The cast is exceptional, the CGI is amazing, and the comedic timing is perfect. Even though there are a few awkward moments and occasional plot holes the movie as a whole is amazing. I went into this movie lazily trying to find time to spend my Friday night, however, when I exited, I asked myself why I didn't see this opening night.
A solid 4.5/5.
Edit: Here's a couple tidbits of trivia I thought paid excellent homage to "Fantasia."