Sorcery and science fuse together in this live-action adventure film that reunites Nicholas Cage and Jon Turteltaub, the star and director from theNational Treasure franchise. Cage plays Balthazar Blake, one of three sorcerers trained by Merlin the Magician (James A. Stephans). At Merlin’s untimely death by stabbing, Balthazar is given his master’s precious dragon ring and a charge to find the one person who can destroy the wicked Morgana (Alice Krige) when she is freed from the confines of a magical matryoshka doll.
Setting out on his quest, Balthazar roams the world for centuries. At last he stumbles upon an unlikely candidate in modern day New York City. At the time, Dave (Jake Cherry) is an awkward 10-year-old whose clumsiness results in a decade long imprisonment in a clay urn for Merlin’s wandering apprentice. When the magician is finally released, he revisits Dave who is now a geeky—and still awkward—physics major at NYU. Balthazar then reveals the young adult’s role in saving mankind from the forces of evil.
Dave is skeptical and only half-hearted about his training. He is even more distracted after he runs into Becky (Teresa Palmer) and becomes enchanted by the old grade-school flame. However when the villainous Horvath (Alfred Molina) and his apprentice Drake Stone (Toby Kebbell) kidnap Becky and threaten her life, the college student seriously concentrates on developing his sorcery skills.
With plenty of engaging action for older children and teens, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice feels like a video game with increasingly difficult challenges to overcome. While it contains few language and sexual concerns, the film’s theme of sorcery and witchcraft (including the possession of bodies, incantations and the raising of the dead), may be problematic for some family viewers. The young Dave also runs away from his class during a fieldtrip, ending up alone in a shabby shop where he meets Balthazar. There he is almost killed during an ensuing battle between two sorcerers. Stabbings, electrocutions, fire breathing dragons and needles used as weapons are other intense depictions of violence and peril.
Yet for audience members who have no problem with Harry Potter and his classmates at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this story offers similar suspense and action. Combining his physics education with his recently acquired magical abilities, Dave embraces his new skills as a sorcerer’s apprentice to challenge the destructive forces of evil.