“You will not control your magic if you will not control yourself.”
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
So I saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on BBC iPlayer yesterday and I remembered that it was a film I had watched a couple of years before and I enjoyed it. So I watched it again, for reasons that probably had more to do with procrastination than anything else.
It’s a Disney film (live-action, not animated), and that should tell you everything you need to know.
Basic premise: Balthazar Blake, one of the three original apprentices of Merlin, has been searching for the Prime Merlinius (hey, it’s a Disney film, it doesn’t have to make sense), the only person who can defeat Morgana, for over a thousand years. Eventually, in modern Manhattan, he finds a physics student (of all people) who may just be able to help…
So the prime attraction of this particular adaptation of the Merlin legend is that it’s funny without being mocking. It takes itself seriously as a story, and there are some amazingly dramatic moments (flying steel eagle, that bit where Nerdy Physics Student shields them against Morgana’s fire spell, flame in the sky), but you can laugh at it too. “Clear my mind? Are you insane?” “Little bit.”
I’m particularly fond of the magic-as-pseudo-science thing. “The ring projects the electricity from your nervous system into the outer world.” Sure. Because that makes perfect sense.
Ultimately, the story that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tells is a story that appeals to us all because we wish it were true: the story that turns the weak and the overlooked into great heroes. It’s the story of Harry Potter and The Hobbit and Stardust, and, in fact, practically any fantasy novel you’ve ever read. This film may not the best ever, but it’s heartwarming and funny and what more, really, can you ask for?