The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit & Footage Reactions
by Alex Billington
April 1, 2010
Earlier this week, Disney invited a handful of movie journalists to visit the "Edit Bay" of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the big budget sorcerer movie starring Nic Cage and Jay Baruchel due out in summer. We've seen a few trailers so far (including a new one just last week) but besides those, we haven't seen too much from this, so they decided to bring us in and show us the two scenes that are being also shown for the first time at WonderCon this upcoming weekend. We also got to talk briefly with director Jon Turteltaub and producer Jerry Bruckheimer about the movie and the footage we were shown. Read on for my reaction!
We only saw two scenes from early on the movie since a lot of the effects aren't done (this isn't due out until July) and they didn't want to show us unfinished footage. That means we also got a good background on the plot in this. Cage plays a sorcerer (not a wizard) named Balthazar Blake. It opens with a prologue and we learn that Cage has been searching for the "next Merlin" for thousands of years. Jump ahead and we see a kid, about 10 years old, end up in a "magic" shop owned by Cage and this is where the action begins. Cage puts a magic dragon ring in the kid's hand and it comes to life and wraps around his finger, proving that he is the one. He takes him in and we suddenly meet the bad guy, Maxim Horvath, played by Alfred Molina.
In that first scene we watched Balthazar and Maxim fight with all kinds of magic. It was pretty cool to see, even for an early scene in the movie. Eventually Balthazar traps both himself and Maxim in a jar for 10 years and says he'll return to find him then. That's our intro to both of those characters. In the second scene we saw, we meet one more - Drake Stone, played by Toby Kebbell. He's a Criss Angel-like magician with "real" powers (in the movie) who is Maxim's apprentice (they both have apprentices, get it?). There's another fight in the bathroom, as Stone confronts Baruchel's character Dave Stutler but Balthazar shows up just in time.
A few interesting things that I noticed - mirrors seem to play a very important role in the movie. Some of them can trap people, others transport them to different places, and I have a feeling mirrors are going to be an important (and cool to watch) part of the plot in the end. Additionally, the magic is very quickly conjured. All it takes is a snap and these sorcerer's can lift people up, drag them around the room, throw them against the wall, light fires, shoot plasma bolts, anything like that. It definitely has a solid fast-pace feel to it like Turteltaub's National Treasure movies and it's a lot of fun to watch - and we barely saw any great fights!
When asked about using the original Sorcerer's Apprentice scene from Fantasia for inspiration, Turteltaub says it's both a blessing and a curse: "There's something very wonderful and important and classic [about it], which means you're going to be criticized and judged and scrutinized." When asked about casting British actors like Molina and Kebbell, Bruckheimer explained: "A lot of the better American actors get chewed up on television, the older actors, and you try to bring unfamiliar faces to an audience. And you certainly find them in England and Australia and other places in the world. It's much better for us to have fresh faces." Although I've seen a lot of Jay Baruchel recently, there definitely are lots of other fresh faces in this movie.
At the end, Turteltaub spoke passionately about how he's just dedicated to trying to make this entertaining, but not at the cost of a wonderful story and great characters, which he hopes to truly bring out in the end.
"All the performances are pretty great. This sounds corny, and I know every director says this nonsense, but it's really the case. With all the effects and all that stuff, you're just desperate and focused on getting the characters and the story right… the emotion of the story. Do you care about these people? Do you care about their relationships with one another? That's what's going to make any of these movies work. And when you have a great character, it's somebody you follow and someone's entertaining you and someone who you really care about seeing make it through, all that noise is just there to help all that. And we spend a lot of time on all of those things, and money on all those things, a lot of press talking about that stuff, but it really is the other thing that matters the most."
Also found at the bottom is a quick video blog I recorded with Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm talking about our thoughts and reactions to everything we saw. Although I enjoyed the footage, I wish we could see more, because I have a good feeling there will be some awesome scenes involving all this magic that will kick some ass. Although this is a very family friendly PG-rated (most likely) Disney flick, it still seems to have a lot of intensity, and it looks like it'll be a solid piece of entertainment this summer. I'm looking forward to seeing more footage and trailers, but until then, we'll just have to re-watch the two we have so far. Sound good?