Press Play: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Press Play: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Dec 01, 2010

This week's must-see DVD/BD, and why we're lovin' it.

What? The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Who? Directed by John Turteltaub and starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci and Teresa Palmer

Why? We all know Nicolas Cage is obsessed with comic books (he named his son Kal-el after Superman's birth name, after all) as well as classic Disney animation, so it should come as little surprise that it was the actor who rallied behind the team that made National Treasure to expand "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment from Fantasia into a big-budget feature.

Cage plays Balthazar Blake, an ageless wizard trained by Merlin during the time of King Arthur. For 1,000 years he has been searching for his own apprentice—the Prime Merlinian—who is said to be the only person that can defeat the evil sorceress Morgana. The magical dragon ring that Merlin, on his death bed, gave to Balthazar chooses Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel)—a 20-year-old NYU physics student—as the fabled apprentice. Balthazar trains Dave in the ways of sorcery as Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) attempts to free Morgana from the Grimhold—a magical prison that looks like a nesting doll—so that she can raise sorcerers from the dead and, you know, destroy the world.

Will Dave's crash course in magic be enough to save New York from the dark forces bearing down on it? It better be, or this fun PG family flick would take a turn toward an R rating faster than you can say "Mickey Mouse." As it is, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is surprisingly engaging—even for adults—with its dazzling special effects and likable cast, including Cage as the main magic man, Baruchel as the witty nerd with hidden potential, and the underused Monica Bellucci as Cage's unrequited sex-bomb sorceress. Be sure to fast forward or wait around until after the credits to see a little nod to Fantasia, which not-so-coincidentally makes its Blu-ray debut this week.

What Else? The DVD contains "The Making of The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and one deleted scene; the Blu-ray has five deleted scenes, several short making-of featurettes and "The Science of Sorcery," which talks about how the film's magic is based on science. You'll want to check out: The BD-exclusive bonus feature "Fantasia: Reinventing a Classic," which takes a look at the film's inspiration from Fantasia and how it was used in the movie.

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Which one of these people is in the movie Divergent?

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Jai Courtney