The Sorcerer's Apprentice is old-school movie making at its best, but that's also its major flaw, as it's entertaining but it does feel slightly old fashioned in its approach.
The film starts off like those classic 80's movie where a kid wanders in to a store and ends up on an amazing adventure, think The NeverEnding Story or The Goonies. Unfortunately even though it evokes that kind of nostalgia you can't help but think it makes the movie a little dated.
I actually enjoyed the movie and thought it was a lot of fun, with some great comedic touches. I even like Nicholas Cage as the long-lived 'Balthazar Blake' and Jay Baruchel's whiney twenty year old college student, 'Dave', was also a mostly relatable and likable character.
For Disney aficionados they'll love the recreation of Fantasia's dancing mops, although I'm a bit troubled that Dave's destiny is to kill the villainous 'Morgana le Fay', as that doesn't feel very Disney at all.
Alfred Molina makes for a great villain, 'Horvath', and there are also some great special effects in the movie, from the visualization of magic, to the colourful ticker-tape and dragon battle in New York's Chinatown.
Where the film falls down is on the depth of the plot. It's quite a simple story, with not much meat on the bones, in fact the opening sequence of the movie where the history of the sorcerers is related is pretty weak. These days I think cinema goers expect more complexity from their movies, even children.
There are also throwaway characters, like the Chinese wizard 'Sun-Lok', and Horvath's fellow Morganian helper, 'Drake Stone', is played too much for laughs and is frankly quite annoying.
It's also a bit unbelievable that Dave could master his magical powers so quickly to defeat the greatest evil ever.
Having said all that it's best not to dwell on the movie's flaws and just give yourself over to the fantasy adventure which I give three *** stars.
I'm surprised The Sorcerer's Apprentice hasn't done better at the box office, but maybe there are only so many Harry Potter and Percy Jackson's audiences can take and maybe they are looking for some more original ideas to inspire them.
If you like the film be sure to check out some of the original costumes from The Sorcerer's Apprentice on display at ArcLight Sherman Oaks cinema.
I'm highly anticipating Disney's Tron Legacy in December, so let's hope that doesn't disappoint as the trailers so far look awesome.
I'll keep my fingers crossed...