The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Sorcerer's Apprentice Movie Poster Image
Kid-friendly thriller is fun, if lacking in real magic.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 121 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 32 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

At many different points in the film, the message that comes through loud and clear is that believing in yourself is essential to success ... and that betrayal is an act that not only damages others, but yourself as well.

Positive role models & representations

Yes, there are "bad guys" (Morgana and Horvath). But Balthazar is principled, and Dave, although hesitant, simply wants to do what’s right. And his love interest is able to look beyond his awkward façade to appreciate the kind, interesting person within.

Violence

Most of the violent sequences are larger-than-life in nature, given the film’s fantastical premise, and there's not much gore. A swordfight takes place in a store in front of a frightened child; characters are electrocuted by energy blasts; characters threaten to kill each other; people are shown impaled on swords; a woman stabs Merlin.

Sex

Couples kiss.

Language

A few exclamations of "hell" and "God."

Consumerism

Labels visible for Reese’s, Golden Grahams, and an Emerson appliance.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

A college guy talks to his roommate about partying and living it up.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fantasy action-adventure, inspired to some degree by Disney’s classic Fantasia, is targeted at the same audience who enjoyed star Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure movies. Like those movies, The Sorcerer's Apprentice has plenty of thrilling action sequences boosted by special-effects magic -- some of which may be too scary and/or intense for kids under 8. There's swordplay and electric blasts, and characters are threatened with peril and even death. But underlying all the action is a positive message about being true to yourself.

User Reviews

Parent Written byjhartsock81 January 28, 2011
I sat and watching this with my wife and 7 yr old. WE all loved it. My wife thought it was cute. Over all good family movie worth watching. Could done with o...
Parent of a 11 year old Written bystepsmith23 July 18, 2010
The movie was a little dark. Like the title suggests, the movie deals with magic and witchcraft. There is some violence and there are parts that are scary for...
Teen, 13 years old Written byAlwayzCreative14 December 6, 2010

A Fantastic Film

I was expecting this movie to be cheesy when I went to see it, but I LOVED it! It's a great modern fantasy adventure, chock full of laughs, suspense, great...
Teen, 13 years old Written bymusicjesusfreak September 27, 2010

Great move for everyone from 10 to 110, but not a lot younger

The special effects in this movie are amazing! The storyline is really good too, and the characters are all interesting and smart. It's a really good movie...

What's the story?

Millennia ago, Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige) attempted to unseat Merlin (James A. Stephens), who managed to fend her off by sending her and the turncoat Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) to a prison called a grimhold. Sadly for the sorcerer Balthazar (Nicolas Cage), his magically gifted beloved, Veronica (Monica Bellucci), is trapped in there, too. The goal in THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is to find Merlin’s descendant -- aka the prime Merlinian -- who’s the only one who can vanquish Morgana and her minions forever. Balthazar thinks he may have found him once, in the form of an elementary schoolboy named Dave. But it’s not until Dave (Jay Baruchel) is in college studying to be a physicist that he’s able to finally take on his mission.

Is it any good?

Everything and the kitchen sink is in this movie: adventure, mythology, buddy comedy, wizardry, and even romance. All of which leaves the impression that it’s engineered -- some would say rigged -- to be a summer blockbuster.  Which doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining, because it certainly is. (How could it not be, given how engineered the whole thing feels?) As in Spider-Man 2, Molina proves brilliant at villainy, balancing smart and sinister at the same time. And Baruchel isn't your average hero, which is a good thing: He’s one of a few elements in the movie that has refreshing edge.

One section that does feel inspired? The mops-and-buckets-go-awry sequence inspired by Fantasia, the classic animated feature to which The Sorcerer's Apprentice owes some debt of gratitude. For a moment there, the movie evokes the whimsy and mayhem it could have more wholeheartedly embraced. As the popcorn fare it is now, it’s loads of fun -- but it could have been genius.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's action scenes. Do movies have to have actual violence to be scary or intense?

  • Why is Dave reluctant to go for greatness? What does Dave learn from Balthazar? Is theirs a believable friendship, given their differences?

  • In these types of movies, good typically wins out over evil. Why is that conflict so fascinating to Hollywood?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy

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