The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With the popularity of the “Harry Potter” movies, it would appear that movies about the occult or simply fantasy in general are becoming a more popular. Granted, to some, these movies never really went out. Still, newer movies like “The Bridge to Taribethia”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, “The Lord of the Rings” and so on, the genre is simply bursting at the seams with material. And so we have “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, a title so bland and generic-sounding that you have to assume that there’s more to it than meets the eye. It stars Nicolas Cage who’s getting to the point where he needs to switch gears and start playing grandfathers or lawyers and not crazy-eyed, long haired magicians. As fine of an actor that Mr. Cage is, there comes a point where having him around teens is just plain creepy. And in the lead we have Jay Baruchel who’s had quite the year in film. He starred in the very well-received “How to Train your Dragon” with the lead voice and the teen hit “She’s Out of My League.” Would the big summer blockbuster make it a hat trick for Baruchel or should he have quit while he was ahead?

We first meet Dave Sutler back in the year 2000. We flash forward ten years and then meet the adult Dave (Jay Baruchel), a more socially awkward version of the young lad we’d just met. Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage) sees something special in Dave and as Balthazar continues to do battle with his arch nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), it becomes clear that Dave will need to step it up and become, wait for it, the sorcerer’s apprentice. Now of course there’s much more to it than that. There’s a thousand year old container that has some of the most villainous foes in which Balthazar has imprisoned over the years and, wouldn’t you know it, they seem to escape. Naturally Balthazar and Dave have to put these criminals back in their place but Dave also has to contend with/impress Becky Barnes (Teresa Palmer), the token hot blonde who he’s got a crush on. Will these two be able to team up and save the world and will Dave finally realize his untapped potential as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?”

Nicholas Cage and director Jon Turtletaub have teamed on both of the “National Treasure” movies and, admittedly, I really enjoyed both of those films. Granted the subject matter is a bit easier to swallow but they were obviously trying to create lighting in a bottle here. While “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is full of action, cliché’s and everything in between, I was felt wanting a bit. Yes, there’s plenty of action and if you’re a fan of the genre then I don’t see how you could be let down. It is entertaining as well. If your goal is to simply be entertained then you’ll get that and a bit more here. However as far as repeat view ability goes, I don’t imagine popping in this disc in my player too many more times. But I do have to admit that I now have the craving to watch both “National Treasure” movies. Bottom line, if this kind of movie is your cup of tea then enjoy, everyone else might want to give it a rental first.

Video: How does it look?

If it’s a good-looking picture that tickles your fancy, well then “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” delivers in spades. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer sparkles with detail and looks as crisp and clean as any Blu-ray I’ve seen. I was expecting no less, of course, as Disney puts out some of the better-looking live action titles in terms of picture quality. There are several dark spots in the movie and the transfer is handled with absolute precision. Black levels are right on the money and contrast is near perfection. This is on par with what we’d expect a day and date Blu-ray movie to look like.

Audio: How does it sound?

Just as impressive as the way this looks is the way it sounds. The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is very loud and it doesn’t seem to let up much during the runtime. First off the surrounds are almost always engaged in something or another. They spit out discrete effects like it’s going out of style. The front heavy soundstage does the lion’s share of the work, but the sound is immersive. The LFE are also heavily involved and give the atmosphere a very unique soundstage. There are several battle scenes with spells being cast and whatnot – they sound amazing. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” might have some plot holes, but if you want a robust soundtrack then look (listen, rather) no further.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Disney has loaded down this disc with plenty of supplements, but are they worth it? Well consider the target audience for this film and then see if it makes any sense. We don’t have any commentary tracks, moreover we’ve got a slew of featurettes and “Making of…” pieces. We start off with “Magic in the City” which focuses on the New York City scene and we get some interviews with the cast and crew about working in the city that never sleeps. “The Science of Sorcery” shows the filmmaker’s attempts to justify some of the props in the movie and relate them to historical significance. “Making Magic Real” shows us some of the special and visual effects in the movie and how they came to “life” so to speak. “Fantasia: Reinventing a Classic” focuses on the scene with the mops and brooms, an obvious nod to the Disney film from the 1940’s. We get a few more shortened featurettes showcasing everything from the Grimhold (the device that’s used as a prison of sorts for the sorcerers) to wolves and puppies. There are several deleted scenes and some outtakes as well. Lastly, this Blu-ray comes in both a 2 and 3 disc pack with this being the three disc which contains a DVD of the movie as well as a digital copy.

Disc Scores