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Q&A Interview: Director Jon Turteltaub of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

December 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With our continuing feature for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (currently available on Blu-ray and DVD), our fifth and final Q&A is with Director Jon Turteltaub known for his work on the “National Treasure” films, “While You Were Sleeping”, “Cool Runnings”, “Phenomenon”.  J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith recently took part in a Q&A media roundtable with the director.

The following special feature article is from the media Q&A roundtable.

Click here to download the article (PDF)

Interview with Jay Baruchel of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – J!-ENT Interviews and Articles

November 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Nov. 30th, J!-ENT will be featuring interviews with cast members, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub.  In our third featured interview, we feature Jay Baruchel (“Tropic Thunder”, “Knocked Up”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Nick and Norah’s Infinity Playlist) who plays the sorcerer’s apprentice Dave.

Here is a short Q&A interview with Jay Baruchel:

How does it feel to be involved with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

It’s a great honor to be part of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it’s also very stressful because Fantasia is cherished and beloved by so many people around the world. The sorcerer’s apprentice sequence of Fantasia is one of the most iconic and important sequences in film history, so I didn’t want to screw this up. If you were going to create a retrospective of great film moments, I think the Fantasia sequence would be up there alongside Cary Grant being chased by the crop duster in North By Northwest. It has been exhilarating to get the chance to do something so important to so many people, but there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders and I didn’t want to get it wrong.

How do you deal with the stress of working on such an iconic project?

There are two possible outcomes. You can either let the stress get the best of you and wilt in the face of adversity, or you can let the stress push you to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. The only other time in my career where I felt a similar weight on my shoulders was when I got to work for Clint Eastwood. It was tough. There’s a great sports analogy that comes to mind when I think about this. If you get drafted into the NHL and you get to play on the same line with the guys that made you want to start playing hockey in the first place, are you going to mess up under the pressure? Or are you going to show everyone the reason why you are standing there next to these amazing athletes? I had to bring my A-game to this project. I wanted to prove to everyone that they made the right decision in hiring me.

What was your highlight to the filming of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Shooting plasma bolts out of my hands has been a lifelong ambition of mine. Ever since I played Street Fighter II when I was a kid, I’ve been waiting to shoot energy out of my hands. For years, nothing happened. My hands finally get to work in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

What was it like to work with Nicolas Cage on the movie?

Nicolas Cage is an amazing man and I have a great deal of affection for him. I love the man and I count him as a good friend of mine. He and I are cut from the same cloth. We’re kindred spirits who both march to the beat of our own drum. We’re both outsiders and we’re interested in the same things. We both love comic books, we like a lot of the same music, we like a lot of the same movies for the same reasons, and we’re both incredibly punctual. It was a real thrill for me to work with him because I can remember sneaking into Con Air when I was 15 years old.

What makes Nicolas Cage such an iconic actor?

He has such a unique, distinct presence. To be on set and shooting scenes with him or even having conversations with the guy has been mind blowing for me. There would be moments throughout the six months of filming where I would almost step outside of my body and realize that I was talking to Nicolas Cage. That was really cool for me.

What was it like working with Teresa Palmer?

Teresa is awesome. We have a very similar background and we have similar views on a lot of things. She’s kind, beautiful and easy to fall in love with on camera. I gained another best friend by working with her on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

How much of Fantasia do we see in the new movie?

Well, we do our own version of the Mickey Mouse mop sequence in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was a very fun scene to work on. I make the mops come to life, which is a sequence we shot over a week. While filming that, it was abundantly clear to me that I had to do the best I’d ever done. I certainly had to bring the A-game for those scenes.

Did you want to wear Mickey Mouse’s wizard hat for the magical mop scenes?

No, I was very thankful that I didn’t get to wear Mickey’s hat. Mickey can rock the hat. He looks neat wearing it, but it doesn’t look as cool on my head. It’s pretty hard to look cool with a pointy hat.

What’s your earliest memory of Fantasia?

I was a little kid when I saw Fantasia for the first time and I’m pretty sure I had Fantasia sheets or a blanket on my bed back then. When I was a kid, everything I owned was either Winnie The Pooh or Fantasia. It was huge in my life.

Do you remember the first time you saw the movie?

There are moments in your life when you remember seeing or hearing something for the first time. But when it comes to Fantasia, I don’t remember a life without it. It’s always been there for me. I can’t pinpoint my first viewing, but it’s been thrilling to pay homage to something that’s been in my life forever.

There is a scene in the movie where your character gets beaten up in a bathroom and he says, “Oh, God… This is just like high school all over again.” Did you have a tough childhood like your character in the movie?

Yes and no. I think high school is a mix of the happiest memories of your life and the most miserable memories of your life. I had some real great times at school. House parties haven’t been as fun as they were when I was a teenager. That’s when a party at someone’s house is the most fun thing in the universe. However, that’s also the time of your life when you’re at your most awkward and you can’t stand the way you look. I went to a tough high school in Montreal and the cops were there every single week. Sure, I had my fights back then, but my parents eventually transferred me to a fine arts school. I went from the most dangerous high school to the artiest place ever. It was a strange transition, but it’s all been a great learning process for me.

Many people remember you for your role in Tropic Thunder. How much fun did you have shooting that movie?

Tropic Thunder was sweet. It was real fun and an amazing experience. Between takes, Brandon Jackson and I would time ourselves and see how quickly we could unload and reload our guns with our eyes closed. I could do it in four and a half seconds. I had the record on set.

How did the Tropic Thunder set compare to other movies sets you worked on?

It was very, very, different to my experience on Knocked Up where I was going to set every day with people that I had known for a long time. I lived with Seth Rogan for two years and I stayed with his parents in Vancouver, so he’s like blood to me. In that sense, filming Knocked Up was like a family reunion. I had an amazing mix of love, loyalty and impatience with the people on set there. Tropic Thunder was very different because I went away to a far off place with Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Steve Coogan. I found myself shooting guns in the middle of the jungle with all these guys that became my friends, but they were untouchable icons that I didn’t know at the start of the film shoot. I knew Ben and Jack a little bit, but by spending six months in the jungle with them, I formed some real bonds.

Which film set do you prefer?

I love both experiences equally and I would do either of them again in a heartbeat. Seth Rogan is one of my best friends in the whole world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that kid, and I can call him kid because I am five days older than him. Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up both changed my life, so I have equal affection for them. However, I also have a huge affection for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice because it has become a project I’m extremely proud of.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?

My main ambition in life is to direct horror movies in Montreal. Long before I started acting, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life, so if I wasn’t acting I would be making an effort to direct horror movies. If not, I would probably be working at a video store or a record store and talking a lot of rubbish because I know a little about a lot of things. I’m a nerd and I read a lot. I have a head full of useless knowledge.

Where does your passion for horror come from?

I’ve always had a passion for horror, but I don’t know where it came from. The two movie genres that excite me the most are action movies and horror movies – and that’s what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. When I was seven years old, I wanted to be a writer. When I was nine years old, I decided that I wanted to make movies. My mother videotaped me when I was seven years old and there’s a tape of me saying I want to make stuff that scares Stephen King out of his underpants. That’s my next goal. Let’s see if I can make that dream come true.

**WALT DISNEY STUDIO HOME ENTERTAINMENT’S THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOVEMBER 30TH**

Interview with Nicolas Cage of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – J!-ENT Interviews and Articles

November 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Nov. 30th, J!-ENT will be featuring interviews with cast members, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub.

In our second featured interview, we feature Nicolas Cage (“Con Air”, “Ghost Rider”, “The Rock”, “Face/Off”) who has worked with producer Jerry Bruckheimer in the past and with director Jon Turteltaub in the two “National Treasure” films.  This time around, Nicolas Cage served as the executive producer of the film as well as starring as the sorcerer Balthazar.

Here is a short Q&A media interview with Nicolas Cage:

How did you get involved with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice began with my desire to play a magician in a movie. I played a magician of sorts in a movie called Next, which is when I became fascinated with ancient mythologies and philosophies from England. I loved the subject, so I had a conversation with Todd Garner – the producer of Next – and I said to him, “Boy, I’d really like to play a sorcerer from the times of King Arthur.” The very next day he said to me, “Nic, I’ve got it. Why don’t we create a movie around the sorcerer’s apprentice from the Fantasia movie?” It was perfect.

How important was it to transform your look for your role in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Actors often change their looks for roles and I’m certainly part of that school of thought. In fact, I want to transform myself every time I get a new role. I’ll wear wigs, I’ll wear nosepieces, I’ll wear green contact lenses… I’ll do whatever I need to do to create a character. That’s what acting’s all about. That’s the fun of it.

How would you describe the look of your character, Balthazar Blake?

Jerry Bruckheimer says that Balthazar has the look of an ancient rock star, and I have to agree with him. He has a cool style that harkens back to the 500s or the 600s, which is where he came from. Merlin was his teacher, so it was appropriate.

How did it feel to play a sorcerer?

This is the role I’ve been waiting to do my whole life. When I was a kid, I used to love pretending to be a superhero. I was always playing around and shooting energy out of my hands. In that respect, I’ve been rehearsing for this role for years because Balthazar certainly shoots plasma out of his hands in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

How much of the movie is based on the sorcerer’s apprentice scenes of the Disney classic, Fantasia?

There are elements of the animation in the movie, but we fleshed out the idea into a two-hour action adventure. We have expanded the idea to present a thrilling magical world to audiences and I’m especially happy because it’s a family movie. I liked the idea of entertaining a family without having to rely on murder and guns. We’ve kept it very positive.

Why did you want to make it a family movie?

I wanted to create a movie that excited both children and parents because I am a big fan of family movies. When you’re playing supernatural characters in movies like Ghost Rider, Next or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice there is an infinite number of possibilities that you can do with the character, but I wanted this to have comedy and humor – and I wanted it to connect with big audiences. Do you remember the first time you saw The Wizard Of Oz? Did you feel enchanted and magical? We wanted people to have those feelings at the end of our movie. That was our goal.

How did Jerry Bruckheimer and Jon Turteltaub get involved with the project?

I talked the movie over with different writers and then we pitched the idea to Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney – and they loved it. I’d just finished National Treasure II with the director Jon Turteltaub and I thought he’d be perfect for the new movie. He likes to keep things in the fun zone and he keeps things comical, but he’s also edgy, so it was a good mix. He was the perfect man for the job.

What does it mean to you to be associated with Disney?

It’s an honor and I feel greatly privileged to work with Disney. I grew up watching Walt Disney’s movies and I love what he stands for. I love the entertainment that comes out of the studio and this movie is a dream come true for me, which is in the spirit of Disney. It has been a magical experience.

What was it like to work with Jay Baruchel, the actor who plays the sorcerer’s apprentice in the film?

Jay is great. He’s hilarious and he’s a really physical comedian when he wants to be, but he’s also got a little bit of a demon in him. He’s a little mischievous and there’s a playful dark side in him. He was a joy to work with on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Are you a fan of magic and wizards?

I definitely went through my magic phase when I was younger. I think all little boys do at some point. Everyone gets fascinated with magic tricks. I certainly did. I used to go to the Hollywood House Of Magic, which is where I bought a magic trick called ‘Gloripy’. It was a little handkerchief that had a ghost in it. The ghost would move the handkerchief around on its own – and it was really good. I could stun my friends with it. You feel very powerful when you have a magic trick up your sleeve. I used to love it.

When was the last time you performed a magic trick?

Balthazar is a wonderful sorcerer in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it’s been a while since I used the Gloripy trick. I also had another trick called The Rising Deck Of Cards, too. I could point towards a deck of cards and pick a card – and the card of my choice would rise up. That was also a lot of fun to play with.

Do you know any magical secrets?

Let me tell you something: Never give away your magical secrets. I worked on a movie in New Orleans where I used The Rising Deck Of Cards trick on a friend of mine. He kept asking me, “How are you doing that?” And I could tell he was getting a little nervous because he thought something weird was going on. That’s when I made the world’s worst mistake: I gave away the secret of my trick. He just threw the cards away after that and I lost all the power. Never give away your secrets.

When was the last time you were an apprentice?

The last time I was an apprentice was on a movie called Season Of The Witch. I had to learn how to ride horses for that movie and a young woman named Camilla was my instructor. She did a wonderful job. I’d not been on a horse before, so I was a little nervous – but I learned to love it, which was exciting. I definitely felt like an apprentice there.

What do you think is magical in our world today?

Any painting is a work of magic. Any book is a work of magic. Any science experiment is a work of magic. Any speech that moves people is a work of magic. When you think about magic, it’s not all hocus-pocus. It’s all about imagination and will power and positivity.

Do you remember the first time you realized you wanted to act?

I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was about six years old. I was trying to figure out how to get inside the television set because I was fascinated by it. My father built a little castle out of plywood in our back yard and I would go in there for hours making up stories and characters.

What characters did you make up?

I would pretend to be anything from a knight to a superhero to an astronaut. In fact, that castle was where I learned to act.

Do you have any advice for youngsters who want to follow in your footsteps and act?

Keep the child in you alive because it’s your imagination that will connect you to audiences. Your imagination is your best tool to be an actor. Don’t let people try to diminish it or make you feel bad for having an imagination. Use it whenever you can. I would urge children to play as much as they can and use their imagination as much as possible. It will really help you as an actor. Follow your instincts, work hard and you’ll go far.

**WALT DISNEY STUDIO HOME ENTERTAINMENT’S THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOVEMBER 30TH**

Interview with Teresa Palmer of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – J!-ENT Interviews and Articles

November 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Nov. 30th, J!-ENT will be featuring interviews with cast members, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub.

We begin with actress Teresa Palmer who began her career with the 2005 horror film “Wolf Creek” and would go on to appear in films such as “The Grudge 2″, “December Boys” and “Bedtime Stories”.  In 2010, the young actress would star as Becky Barnes, the love interest for main character Dave (played by Jay Baruchel).  Teresa Palmer was interviewed in regards to her role in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

How would you describe your character in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Becky Barnes is the love interest of Jay Baruchel’s character, Dave Stutler. Becky is a DJ and she’s a college student at NYU. She starts off the film as a very normal girl. She’s been a bit unlucky in love and then she meets Dave who is a bit of a geek and a nerd – and she is drawn to him. Dave and Becky went to the same school when they were seven years old and he has had a crush on her ever since. They reconnect in New York 15 years later and that’s when Becky gets thrust into this magical world of sorcery. It’s a very interesting ride for her.

Is Becky a damsel in distress?

I guess she’s a little like a damsel in distress at the beginning of the movie. However, it gets a lot cooler for Becky as the story unfolds. She soon kicks butt and she gets to be a Lara Croft-type character. She gets to take control as she tries to save the world.

How intimidating was it to walk onto the set of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for the first time?

I’ve done a lot of independent Australian films and other movies, but this was different because it was my biggest film role. I did my own hair and makeup on my first movie, and I even wrote half of my scenes. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was the polar opposite. It was a wonderful job.

How much of the movie is special effects?

I think we shot about 75% of the film on sound stages. That means they had to recreate a lot of the iconic settings in the movie, like the Chrysler building. That stage was amazing. They built four stories of the building with the big eagle inside and they printed out sheets of the city view, so they put twinkling lights all around the place to represent the lights of the city. It was really beautiful. You forget you’re actually on a stage when you’re filming on a set like that. All of a sudden, they turn on the lights and you’re brought back to reality. You think to yourself, ‘Oh, wow… This isn’t real. It’s wood.’ It was weird, but it was very cool.

How difficult is it to act in a CGI world?

It was certainly different. Someone will walk onto the stage with a special ball and wave it in front of you. They’ll explain that the ball is meant to be some sort of plasma bulb in your hand. Things like that are always a little bizarre. You have to start thinking in a different way, but it’s a great tool to learn.

When did you decide you wanted to be an actress?

I grew up in Adelaide, Australia, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated high school. I think it’s really difficult for an 18-year-old to know what they want to do for the next 50 years. I had no idea, but I worked on the weekends to earn some money and that’s when I met a director who asked if I wanted to be in his movie. He gave me a script and it was about youth suicide, which is an issue that’s on the increase in Australia, but it’s brushed under the carpet. I ended up doing the movie and it became a pretty controversial film. It got the attention of the Cannes Film Festival and it ended up premiering there, which is where my career started. As I said earlier, I did my own hair and makeup on the set of that first film and I wore my own clothes – and now I’m part of a huge blockbuster with Nicolas Cage. It’s been such a whirlwind ride for me. I picked up an agent in Cannes and they brought me straight to America to start work. And here I am.

Who were your acting heroes when you were growing up?

I was a big fan of Audrey Hepburn when I was growing up, but I never thought of acting as a serious career option. There aren’t many opportunities to act in Adelaide and South Australia because there aren’t any big acting agencies there and we don’t have any acting schools. There aren’t many movies shot in Adelaide, so it was never a reality for me. I went to university and I started to teach – and then I was going to change careers to become a midwife because I’m obsessed with babies. But then the movie I worked on got picked up for Cannes and my life changed. It’s really weird how it all happened so quickly.

How much has your life changed since you moved to Hollywood?

My life has mainly changed because I live in Los Angeles now and I’m away from my family and my friends in Australia. However, I’m the same person underneath. My friends come over to Los Angeles from Adelaide and they get blown away by everything here, but it’s just a job to me.

Do you enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle with all its partying and red carpet events?

I’m not really a partygoer. I don’t drink alcohol at all. I don’t like the taste of it. A party for me involves board games in my pajamas on a Sunday night. We play Guesstures, Cranium and Twister – and that’s my idea of fun. I never go to events unless I need to go for work or to support a friend. To be honest, my life revolves around hanging out with my friends and going to the dog park. That’s about it, although I definitely get homesick from time to time.

What do you miss the most from home?

I miss so much about Australia. I definitely miss the lifestyle because it feels much more laid back in Australia. We take work seriously, but your job does not define who you are. In Australia, we do our job but our friends, our family and our social life is equally as important, if not more important, than our work. It’s a refreshing way of life. I miss that and I miss my dogs at home as well.

Do you still wash the dishes when you go home to Australia?

Of course I do! I love being back home because I stay with my mom. We cook together and I wear whatever I want as I walk my dogs down the street. Nobody looks at me twice in Adelaide. They don’t really care about the movie industry, so I get to be normal. I don’t have to worry about any of the other stuff that comes along with being an actor.

What have you discovered in Hollywood that you never experienced at home in Australia?

I’ve discovered exercise since living in Los Angeles. Back in Adelaide, I would eat burgers all the time and I wouldn’t exercise at all – but it’s a big part of the culture in Los Angeles. You go for lunch and then you head to the gym or go on a hike and then you go out for dinner again. I’ve really got into exercise now. In fact, the most Hollywood thing about me is the fact that I have a personal trainer. He’s the guy who works with Jessica Biel because I want to get her bottom.

Are you ambitious, Teresa?

Am I ambitious? Absolutely, but not in a detrimental way. I’m ambitious because I want to create good things and I want to be part of important and inspiring movies. However, I also want to do other things in my life. I want to have a family and I want to live a philanthropic life. I also want to start my own charity, as well as an animal shelter.

What makes you happy?

I’m generally a very happy and bubbly person. Whenever I get unhappy it’s usually because I’m lonely or because of something trivial. If I didn’t get an audition I wanted or if I lost some self esteem because I didn’t get a job then I will certainly be unhappy for a while, but it soon passes.

How do you cheer yourself up at times like that?

I find that writing my journal always helps me feel much better. It’s very therapeutic. I also find that being around my friends and my loved ones makes me very happy. The perfect day for me involves being near the beach in Adelaide with my friends and family. Everyone will be smiling and eating good food. We’ll chat, have fun and talk about fun times. That’s bliss to me. My work is bliss too, but it makes me smile to think of home.

**WALT DISNEY STUDIO HOME ENTERTAINMENT’S THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOVEMBER 30TH**

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Everything you come to expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer produced film and Blu-ray release…  Magnificent PQ, AQ and numerous special features.  But with that being said, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” film is not meant to be taken seriously.  It is purely an visual effects and action-driven popcorn flick that doesn’t aspire to be anything deep.  Just sit back, watch and enjoy!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

DURATION: 109 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/240bit), English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested – For Fantasy, Action, Violence, Some Mild Rude Humor and Brief Language)

Release Date: November 30, 2010

Directed by Jon Turteltaub

Screen Story by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Matt Lopez

Screenplay by Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard

Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer

Executive Producer: Nicolas Cage, Todd Garner, Norman Golightly, Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Barry H. Waldman

Production Executive: Ben Haber

Development Executive: Brigham Taylor

Music by Trevor Rabin

Cinematography by Bojan Bazzeli

Edited by William Goldenberg

Casting by Ronna Kress

Production Design by Naomi Shohan

Art Direction by David Lazan, David Swayze

Set Decoration by George DeTitta, Jr.

Costume Design by Michael Kaplan

Starring:

Nicolas Cage as Balthazar Blake

Jay Baruchel as Dave

Alfred Molina as Maxim Horvath

Teresa Palmer as Becky Barnes

Toby Kebbell as Drake Stone

Omar Benson Miller as Bennet

Monica Belluci as Veronica

Alice Krige as Morgana le Fay

Jake Cherry as Young Dave

James A. Stephens as Merlin

Gregory Woo as Sun-Lok

Peyton List as Young Becky

A fun, modern-day adventure follows Dave (JAY BARUCHEL), just an average college student, or so it appears, until the sorcerer Balthazar Blake (NICOLAS CAGE) recruits him as his reluctant protégé and gives him a crash course in the art and science of magic. As he prepares for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern-day Manhattan, Dave finds it is going to take all of the courage he can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE.


Sharpening the Magic

Car Chase

Becky Finds Out

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was originally a poem by Goeth known as “Der Zauberlehrling” written back in 1797 and was popularized in 1940 courtesy of Walt Disney via the animated film “Fantasia”.

Flashforward 60-years later and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“National Treasure” films, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, “The Pirates of the Caribbean” films), executive producer/actor Nicolas Cage (“National Treasure” films, “Con Air”, “The Rock”) and director Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure” films, “The Kid”, “While You Were Sleeping”) have taken on the project of remaking “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” for the modern age, with incredible visual effects and an action-paced storyline.

The film features a screenplay by Matt Lopez (“Race to Witch Mountain”, “Bedtime Stories”, “The Wild”), Doug Miro (“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, “The Uninvited”) and Carlo Bernard (“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, “The Uninvited”), cinematography by Bojan Bazelli (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, “The Ring”, “Burlesque”) and music composed by Trevor Rabin *”The Guardian”, “Get Smart”, “G-Force”, “Race to Witch Mountain”).  The film would be budgeted at $150 million and would earn $215 million in the box office and will now be released on Blu-ray (Blu-ray+DVD and Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy) and DVD.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” begins in 740 AD.  The sorcerer Merlin had three apprentices: Maxim Horvath (played by Alfred Molina, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Spider-Man 2″, “Chocolat”), Balthazar Blake (played by Nicolas Cage) and Veronica Gorloisen (played by Monica Belluci, “The Matrix” films, “Shoot ‘em Up”) to take on the evil sorceress Morgana le Fay (played by Alice Krige).   Morgana wants to destroy the world by resurrecting the dead under her power but as Merlin the Apprentices are about to stop her, one of their own, Horvath betrays Merlin by allowing Morgana to mortally wound Merlin.

As Balthazar battles his former friend, Veronica stops Morgan by absorbing her into her own body.  While Morgana tries to destroy Veronica from within, Balthazar quickly imprisons both women into a Grimhold (a nesting doll) which will keep Veronica alive but also prevent Morgana from causing any harm. He also imprisons Horvath as well.

Before Merlin dies, he tells Balthazar that the remaining apprentice (from his bloodline) will need to be found and that a Dragon ring will lead him to the next apprentice, the Prime Merlinian who will become his successor.  Only the Prime Merlinian can defeat Morgana.

So, for the next 1,000 years, Balthazar imprisons Morganians into the Grimhold while trying to search for his successor.

In 2000, a young 10-year-old named Dave Stutler (young version played by Jake Cherry, older version played by Jay Baruchel, “Knocked Up”, “Tropic Thunder”, “Million Dollar Baby”) a boy who has fallen in love for the young Becky (young version played by Peyton List, older version by Teresa Palmer, “Bedtime Stories”, “The Grudge 2″).  He gives her a note for her to mark if she would be his friend or boyfriend.  She marks the note but somehow the note starts flying around and as Dave tries to get the catch the note, it flies into a shop which is owned by Balthazar.

When Balthazar realizes the coincidence of the boy coming to his store, he tests the dragon ring which automatically responds to Dave.  Balthazar tells him that he has been looking for him for over a 1,000 years.  Of course, Dave doesn’t understand what’s going on.  But when Balthazar tells him to wait and not touch anything, Dave realizes that each time he moves his hand (with the ring) he causes damage in the store and accidentally releases Horvath from the nesting doll.  Now Horvath wants the Grimhold to release Morgana.

Balthazar and Horvath battle but in order to protect the young Dave, Balthazar ends up sealing himself and Horvath in a large vase.   Shocked by what has transpired, Dave takes the Grimhold, runs out of the store and throws it out into the street.  Meanwhile, his classmates see him scared and his pants are wet and assume Dave has peed in his pants. Unfortunately, for him…Becky, the girl he likes also sees this and for the next teen years of his life, Dave would be ridiculed, become an outcast, has to transfer to another school because of being picked on and even go through psychiatric evaluations because no one believes him of what he had seen inside the store.

Fastforward to 2010, Dave is now a student at NYU who studies physics and a science geek.  While collecting papers, he manages to run into Becky who he has not seen for many years.  Becky is also a student at NYU who is struggling in her class and is a DJ on campus.  Excited to see her again, Dave volunteers to tutor her in her studies.

Meanwhile, Balthazar and Horvath manage to escape from the vase and immediately Horvath goes to look for the Grimhold, while Balthazar looks for Dave.

To Dave’s shock, when he returns home, he sees Horvath and realizes that what he saw at the age of 10 was real and now this evil sorcerer is trying to kill him, but Balthazar ends up saving him.   Unfortunately, Horvath finds the Grimhold and now he plans to release Morgana and have her destroy the world.

Balthazar knows he can’t defeat Morgana and Horvath on his own and needs the help of Dave but he must be trained first.

Balthazar explains to Dave that he is a sorcerer and that with his ring, he can create magic and fight against the evils and defend himself from the Morganians, but in order to learn, he must be his apprentice and do what he says.  Dave realizes the truth of what Balthazar says, although he is not ready to dedicate all his time to learning sorcery because he has fallen for Becky, but yet, he will do what it takes to become the sorcerer’s apprentice.

VIDEO:

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). As I expect audio to be wonderful from a Jerry Bruckheimer-related film, I also expect incredible visuals and in this case, the picture quality of this film is fantastic!  There is a lot of vibrant colors going around everywhere in this film.  These colors pop and not only are they dazzling and just wonderful to watch and see, I found no problems with the video whatsoever.  No artifactgs, no dust, scratches or anything negative.  Blacks were nice and deep, skin tones were natural, you can see the scraggly hair of Balthazar, the fur on Alfred Molina’s jacket, the detail of the set also come to life.  Just take a look at the scenes in China Town or Dave’s lab.  There is just detail and colors that just come alive on Blu-ray.

In fact, the film sports a lot of red and amber colors and typically, I would see some banding during those scenes, pause and watch it slowly frame-by-frame and saw none of that.  I saw no crush, I saw nothing that I perceive as negative for the entire film.  Visual effects by Method, One of Us, Double Negative and Asylum for this film were wonderful and the production design by Naomi Shohan (I loved what she did in “I Am Legend”) looks fantastic in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

But once again, similar to Bruckheimer’s “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” on Blu-ray, once again, another film on Blu-ray that achieves perfect marks for PQ.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

And what would a Jerry Bruckheimer film be without upfront, stomach churning, room shaking lossless audio.  “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is fantastic.  Dialogue and music is crystal clear from the center and front channels but with so much action, the surround channels are constantly being used.  But most of all, for those who simply want more LFE in films, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” delivers!

From the battles between Balthzar and Dave versus Horvath and Morganians, fireballs, electricity, explosions, damage to surroundings, you’re going to hear it from all over, you’re going to hear the audio pan from left to right and right to left and you’re going to be moved by it (literally, moved by it courtesy of that LFE).  Audio for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is magnificent and audiophiles will love this aspect of the film.

As for subtitles, the film is presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” comes with the following special features presented in HD:

  • Magic In The City – (12:53)  Shooting in New York City, shooting in China Town and the challenges shooting around the city and the challenge of building the dragon and coordinating the green screen with the people running from it.  As well as incorporating the visual effects.
  • The Science Of Sorcery – (10:15)  The cast and crew talk about the science discussion used in the film.
  • Making Magic Real – (11:46)  Creating the effects in real time and not via visual effects.  So, the fire effects shown in the lab was real-time and not added in post-production.  As well, as another numerous scenes that were done real-time.
  • Fantasia: Reinventing a Classic – (10:13) Bruckheimer, Turteltaub and Cage talk about the animated classic “Fantastia” and reinventing it.
  • The Fashionable Drake Stone – (2:09) Bruckheimer and costume designer Michael Kaplan talk about creating the magician Drake Stone and the fashion around him.
  • The Grimhold: An Evil Work Of Art – (3:45) The cast talk about the Grimhold, the Russian nesting doll and the artwork painted on it.
  • The Encantus – (2:23) Director Jon Turteltaub and talent talk about “The Encantus” and the creation of making the actual compiled book and art design involved.
  • Wolves & Puppies – (3:07) Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turteltaub and casts talk about working with wolves.
  • The World’s Coolest Car – (1:30) Director Jon Turteltaub talks about using Nicolas Cage’s 1935 Rolls Royce used for the film and the special care it took to make it and a replica made for it.
  • 5 Deleted Scenes – (7:46) Five deleted scenes cut from the film.
  • Outtakes – (3:14) Bloopers from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

EXTRAS:

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” comes with a slip-over case.

When it comes to action films, especially from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, there are things that you come to expect, heavy action and a film that utilizes incredible visual effects and very awesome set design.  But when it comes to storyline, you never expect anything too deep, in fact, you just sit back and enjoy.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is similar to Bruckheimer’s last big-budget produced film “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, both are visual effects heavy, plenty of action and very good talent behind-the-film but a storyline that could have been further explored and made deeper but instead, a film that tends to showcase the latest in visual effects and action.

Film critics will often not be supportive of these type of films but for audiences looking to be entertained and audiophiles and videophiles looking for reference titles to show off their system, Bruckheimer films typically score quite high for these audiences.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is definitely a film that looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray and the audio is also magnificent but coming into this film, I didn’t have high expectations.  I knew what to expect from a Bruckheimer film and its consistent with his other films in being audio and visual eye candy.  Would I have liked a more deeper film in which we see Dave learning how to become an apprentice and focus on the actual training and see him developing as a sorcerer-in-training.  Yes, that would be great but a Bruckheimer film is not so much about the character development, it’s about in your face action that keeps coming and coming and with the director Jon Turteltaub and the screenwriter to continue to top these action sequences as much as they can.  Visual eye candy…yes, this is how Bruckheimer action films are.  Anyone expecting more than that, shouldn’t.

Don’t expect the greatest acting, don’t expect deep character development, it’s literally a kitschy film that happens to be fun and visual effects heavy.

I grew up watching these type of films as a child and always been mesmerized by visual effects-driven type of films.  Personally, I don’t mind having eye-candy driven films once in awhile and in some way, I have a soft spot for enjoying films about nerds becoming heroes and I know many audiences share the same sentiment as well.

So, If you are looking for an action-driven film with plenty of awesome visual effects, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” well serve you well.  If you are a videophile or audiophile looking for awesome visuals and with that stomach churning, room shaking LFE, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” will definitely entertain you.

But in the end, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a fun, family popcorn action flick.  Don’t expect too much from this film.  Just watch and enjoy.

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