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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

93






Studio and Year: Disney - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Action/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Alred Molina, Jay Baruchel, Teresa Palmer, Monica Bellucci, Toby Kebbell, Alice Krige
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Music by: Trevor Rabin
Written by: Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 30, 2010







"It's the coolest job ever"



Film Synopsis:


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.





My Take:


The Sorcerer's Apprentice is loosely based on Disney's brief and beloved segment of the same name from Fantasia. The film purports to be a sort of contemporary take and even pays direct homage with a sequence that involves dancing mops and lots of water. It takes place in modern day New York City as powerful wizards do battle over the release of an evil sorceress who was imprisoned eons ago by a spell known as the Grimhold that locked her in a Russian Nesting Doll. The back story to these events revolves around Merlin, his three apprentices, Balthazar, Veronica, and Harvath and Merlin's arch nemesis and murderer Morgana. Prior to his death Merlin prophesized to his apprentices of the Prime Merlinian a powerful sorcerer who would someday be the one to vanquish Morgana. Unfortunately treachery was afoot and a betrayal by Harvath would lead not only to Merlin's death but a necessary sacrifice by Veronica in order to capture/imprison Morgana. Balthazar would then go on a centuries long and world wide quest in search of the Prime Merlinian. His search would take him to the Big Apple where it would end with a nerdy physics major named Dave. Balthazar will have his hands full as Dave doesn't have much in the way of skills, confidence or mystical prowess. The one thing he does have is a firm grasp of is science? Harvath is loose in modern day New York and seeks to obtain the Grimhold/Doll in order to free Morgana and continue with her plan to wipe out humanity. Time is running out as Dave struggles under Balthazar's tutorage but just when all seems lost Dave will find strength in the affections of a ten year old crush named Becky Barnes.

Typcial of a Jerry Bruckheimer produced film The Sorcerer's Apprentice spares little expense on glitz and presents well in the action department in the hands of director Jon Turteltaub. The problem is the watered down script which starts many thoughts but finishes few. The opening segment which is the setup for the plot blows through rather quickly although some things are briefly explained later but by that point interest has waned/shifted. Morgana seems formidable and dark but doesn't have enough time in the spotlight to elicit villainous disdain from the audience. The half baked romance between Dave and Becky runs along similar lines in that there is no real development so its symbolism later has little meaning. There is a brief explanation of Harvath's reason for his betrayal but its mention in the second act is almost in passing. These are several examples of the film's uneven narrative that moves quickly but pauses in between for the magical encounters/battles etc. Let's face it, this is an action comedy, the best advice is to go in with a bowl of popcorn, low expectations for a compelling storyline sit back and have a few laughs while waiting for the action to kick in. Doing that makes The Sorcerer's Apprentice a better film than it should be. I like Jay Baruchel and enjoy his droll demeanor and unlucky in love characterizations. Nicholas Cage is Nicholas Case which is fine by me. I feel much the same about Alfred Molina who I think capably handles both good guy/bad guy roles especially in a film such as this. Alice Krige is noticeably underused in the role of Morgana which is a shame because she is so adept at playing the type. Lastly, honorable mention goes out to Toby Kebbell as Drake Stone, Harvath's minion/sidekick. He provided excellent comic relief and stole every scene he was in. So what's the verdict on The Sorcerer's Apprentice? I really didn't mind it at all. It's a decent popcorn flick that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for fantasy violence, mild rude humor and brief language. This is suitable for preteen audiences.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 94


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The Sorcerers Apprentice comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.

This is a reference quality high definition video presentation that features resplendent colors and deep, image penetrating resolution. It boasts transparent imagery, with defining sharpness that highlights fine object detail. The sweeping pans of the New York City locations where it was shot offer three dimensional depth, lucid visual acuity and an almost tangible reach out and touch perspective. Contrast is boldly applied which slightly overdrives whites while adding punch to colors and dynamic quality to brighter sequences. Blacks and shadow detail are strong which provides dark scenes with excellent depth of field and noticeable gradational highlights. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries that stand out but appear predominantly natural and tonally delineated. The video has a filmic and grainy texture that occasionally takes on more prominence but isn't what I would describe as obtrusive. I did notice some innate softening during several special effects shots but it never detracted from an otherwise stellar presentation.

The DTS-HD multi-channel surround mix is equally impressive and sounds superb. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue to thunderous, dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is sublime. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive nature of the sorcerers encounters pulsate with superior authority and powerful deep bass transients. Trevor Rabin's original music as well as the pop soundtrack is carefully integrated into the sound design and sounds wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. Whether it's arcing light, trailing plasma bolts or flying objects sounds were seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This represents another impressive audio/video presentation from Disney that is sure to look and sound great in your home theater.



Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Magic in the city - 13 minute production featurette

  • (HD) The science of sorcery - 10 minute featurette

  • (HD) Making magic real - 11 minute visual effects featurette

  • (HD) Fantasia: reinventing a classic - 10 minute featurette

  • (HD) The fashionable Drake Stone - 2 minute costume design feature

  • (HD) The Grimhold: an evil work of art - 3 minute prop design feature

  • (HD) The Encantus - 2 minute prop design feature

  • (HD) Wolves and puppies - 3 minute behind the scenes feature

  • (HD) The worlds coolest car - 1 minute feature

  • (HD) 5 Deleted scenes with play all option

  • (HD) Outtakes - 3 minutes

  • (HD) 3D Blu-ray promo featuring Pumba and Timone

  • Bonus DVD of The Sorcerers Apprentice



Final Thoughts:


The Sorcerer's Apprentice is loosely based on Disney's brief and beloved segment of the same name from Fantasia. It purports to be a sort of contemporary take although it will hardly be remembered in the same vein. It's a middling genre piece with great special effects, decent action and a few well placed laughs. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney sporting reference quality audio/video and bonus supplements that offer a glimpse behind the scenes at the production but not much more. It won't win any awards for screenwriting but I think it's a decent popcorn flick that is worth a rental when you're in the mood for a little mindless entertainment.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Thanks Ralph for another great review. I loved this movie, but I'm Disney freak. We actually saw this at the theater in Downtown Disney last summer on our trip to Disney World. So it made it an even better and memorable experience. It's a very fun movie, like you say, that doesn't take much thought to enjoy. This is already on my Christmas list and I'm glad to hear that the did the movie justice on blu. Thanks again Ralph!


SNSGUY
 

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I thought this was a decent movie; fwiw you can get a good discount by using the DMR $10 off coupons for this and Fantasia bluray package (ie each is reduced by $10) and if you buy them both there's also a $10 promo for that so you get a total of $30 off the combined price.
 

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I just watched this movie on Blu-Ray. This was a fun movie to watch with excellent video and audio.


I had difficulty, though, with my receiver. I have a Yamaha RXV-1000 (circa 1998?) and the receiver kept shutting off during the movie. This is the first time the receiver has ever misbehaved. I have a coaxial cable running from the Blu-Ray player to my receiver for audio. I wonder if the receiver was getting audio information it couldn't handle. The interesting thing is that it kept on shutting off during the exact same points in the movie. I had to finish watching the movie with my TV speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikenK /forum/post/19591467


I just watched this movie on Blu-Ray. This was a fun movie to watch with excellent video and audio.


I had difficulty, though, with my receiver. I have a Yamaha RXV-1000 (circa 1998?) and the receiver kept shutting off during the movie. This is the first time the receiver has ever misbehaved. I have a coaxial cable running from the Blu-Ray player to my receiver for audio. I wonder if the receiver was getting audio information it couldn't handle. The interesting thing is that it kept on shutting off during the exact same points in the movie. I had to finish watching the movie with my TV speakers.

It's possible that the overload protection circuitry was shutting it down. Even though you are only getting the core soundtrack with your set up, it's still a very robust soundtrack.


I have a fairly new HDMI switching Onkyo AVR and I was replaying a couple of scenes of Iron Man 2, for demo purposes, and the receiver shut down on me twice. I did the button code that displays the temperature of the receiver and it was over 150 degrees. It won't tolerate much more than that for an extended period of time. I even had instances where my HT shut down to high loads on the UPSs. Something to think about.
 

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Does everything have to be a silly one-liner joke!!??. This was a pain to watch because of the "apprentice", who was the most annoying "gifted one" I've almost ever seen. I say almost ever because it's a growing trend..have you seen the Green Hornet previews or ads?..anyway..NO..I had to turn it off. The good news is I get Inception this week
.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco
Does everything have to be a silly one-liner joke!!??. This was a pain to watch because of the "apprentice", who was the most annoying "gifted one" I've almost ever seen. I say almost ever because it's a growing trend..have you seen the Green Hornet previews or ads?..anyway..NO..I had to turn it off. The good news is I get Inception this week
.
Yeah, barachal, or whatever his name is, had some cringe inducing lines. Just painful and corny to hear. But he was not as annoying, to me, as Cera in Scott Pilgrim. Over all the movie was fun for the family to watch. Not as good as some reviews suggest but the AV made up for it. The picture quality was just perfect.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco /forum/post/19602699

Does everything have to be a silly one-liner joke!!??. This was a pain to watch because of the "apprentice", who was the most annoying "gifted one" I've almost ever seen. I say almost ever because it's a growing trend..have you seen the Green Hornet previews or ads?..anyway..NO..I had to turn it off. The good news is I get Inception this week
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow /forum/post/19605123


Yeah, barachal, or whatever his name is, had some cringe inducing lines. Just painful and corny to hear. But he was not as annoying, to me, as Cera in Scott Pilgrim. Over all the movie was fun for the family to watch. Not as good as some reviews suggest but the AV made up for it. The picture quality was just perfect.

Watched this last night.

Didn't take long to realize the target audience, anyone who likes the Shia LaDoof School of Acting. Sputter, spaz-out and be as dense as Bohrium.

Cage and Moline were good.

This could have been a very good film, instead it was mostly annoying and shallow and the ending lame and predictable.
 

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The soundtrack is really good... I really like the special effects when the brooms are moving... The story is ok...
 

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just watched the sorcerer's apprentice on blu-ray tonight at about 8 below reference. the picture quality was excellent. and a spectacular dts ma soundtrack as well. very bombastic, active, clear dialogue, and unrelenting lfe through out the movie. and a very entertaining plot to boot with great comedic moments punctuated with a lot of action. gave my dual ps212 subs quite a work out. highly recommended.
 

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I watched this one last night with my kids. I would agree with Ralph's take that it was a good popcorn flick. The PQ and AQ were outstanding. The special effects were, actually, special. A real treat in a home theater.


For some reason, the Dave character was too much to tolerate. I don't know if it was the (faked?) nasal voice or just his pure awkwardness on the screen. I think they were going the too tried nerd saves the world routine, but I think it was a mistake in the casting or scripting.


As mentioned above, the movie also felt very incomplete and rushed at the end, almost like the baby was thrown out with the bath water in the final editing of the movie. It reminded me of the theatrical cut of Kingdom of Heaven. I wonder if there will be a director's cut of this movie that will give some more depth to the characters, particularly Morgana.


In any case, it was what it was--a good enough movie to enjoy with the kids.
 
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