Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Robert Davi, Kelly LeBrock, Byron Taylor, Greg Melvill-Smith, Anne Power
Director: David Lister
So what do you do when the kids have seen the HARRY POTTER movie and all they want now is magic? Well, it doesn’t have the budget of the aforementioned blockbuster – or the huge list of star names, so will THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE entertain your young magicians for an hour and a half?
Ben (Byron Taylor) is a young teenage boy who has just moved into town with his mother and father. He’s had to leave his friends and relocate as his dad has taken a new job as the curator of a local museum.
Ben is fascinated with magic and is delighted to find that their new mysterious neighbour seems to be an expert at magical tricks. Little does Ben realise but his neighbour is in fact Merlin (Robert Davi) who has been living in hiding since ancient times guarding a magical stone which when joined with a magical staff, gives its owner – the staff bearer – fantastic power beyond our wildest imagination. The rightful owner of the staff and stone is actually pre-destined and although Ben doesn’t know it, he is the one intended to be the staff bearer.
Of course, Merlin is guarding the stone secretly for a reason, the evil Morgana (Kelly LeBrock) has also survived through the ages (and in very good condition too!) is hot on the trail of the magical object and is assisted by her two shape-shifting familiars who although disguised as humans are really a cat and a rat.
Some of the action in THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is set in ancient times but most of the film takes place in the modern world.
Ben (Byron Taylor) is really very good as the uprooted youngster missing his friends but trying to get on in his new home and school as he gradually realises his natural magic. Robert Davi also comes across well as a modern day Merlin trying to protect Ben from the responsibility of the power of the staff and stone and its good to see what Kelly LeBrock is up to now as she seems to be the perfect evil Morgana.
So how does THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE stand up to the excellent and huge budgeted HARRY POTTER? Actually very well indeed. It obviously doesn’t have the money behind it but it’s well paced and has an attention holding storyline. The effects, although there aren’t a lot of them, are quite acceptable and yes I know it may all seem a bit familiar but most children will be drawn in and they are too young to have seen it all before anyway.
This really is very good children’s entertainment so after they’ve seen HARRY POTTER and are writing for the next magical instalment try THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, it should fire up their imagination quite nicely.