The Sorcerer's Apprentice (PG)

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The Independent Culture

This Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, live-action updating of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is full of sturm und drang, but very short of the charm of the Mickey Mouse version in Fantasia.

Nic Cage plays a sorcerer in a trenchcoat (he looks more Ozzy Osbourne than Magnus Pyke). Alfred Molina, dressed like a 19th-century Parisian dandy, is his would-be nemesis. They both fell out over the beautiful Monica Bellucci back in Arthurian times. Jay Baruchel is the NYU, science-obsessed geek Cage takes under his wing. Together, they hope to defeat the dreaded Morgana and thereby save the world from destruction.

The special effects can't be faulted, and the screenplay makes token attempts to explain sorcery in terms of modern physics. Also along the way, there's a good joke about Depeche Mode and some very spirited electromagnetic fight sequences. Molina makes a suitably mellifluous villain, while Cage has a certain Catweazle-like charm as the bedraggled wizard. Even so, the film can't escape its own preposterousness. Turteltaub's direction veers between facetiousness and heavy-handed Gothic posturing. Magic this isn't.