The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010 film)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A long haired man wearing a glowing dragon ring.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Edited by William Goldenberg
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • July 8, 2010 (2010-07-08) (Fantasia Film Festival)
  • July 14, 2010 (2010-07-14)
Running time
109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $215.3 million[2]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a 2010 American fantasy adventure film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the team behind the National Treasure franchise. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Monica Bellucci. The film is named after a segment in Disney's 1940 film Fantasia called The Sorcerer's Apprentice (with one scene being an extensive reference to it), which in turn is based on the late-1890s symphonic poem by Paul Dukas and the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), a "Merlinian", is a sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan, fighting against the forces of evil, in particular his nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), while searching for the person who will eventually inherit Merlin's powers ("The Prime Merlinean"). This turns out to be Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a physics student, whom Balthazar takes as a reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling apprentice a crash course in the art of science, magic, and sorcery, in order to stop Horvath and Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige) from raising the souls of the evil dead sorcerers ("Morganians") and destroying the world.


In 740 AD, the mighty magician Merlin (James A. Stephens) has three apprentices. One, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), betrays his master by joining forces with the evil sorceress Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige). Morgana mortally wounds Merlin before another apprentice, Veronica Gorloisen (Monica Bellucci), is able to rip Morgana's soul from her body and absorbs it into her own. As Morgana attempts to kill Veronica by possessing her from within, the third and final apprentice, Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), stops her by imprisoning Morgana and Veronica in the "Grimhold", a magic prison in the shape of a nesting doll. Before dying, Merlin gives Balthazar a dragon figurine that will identify the Prime Merlinian, Merlin's descendant and the only one able to defeat Morgana. While he searches for his descendant throughout history, Balthazar imprisons Morganians, sorcerers who try to release Morgana, including Horvath, into successive layers on the Grimhold.

In 2000, 10-year-old Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry), encounters Balthazar in his Manhattan antique store, after straying from his school field trip. When Balthazar gives Dave Merlin's dragon figurine, the statue comes to life and wraps itself around the boy's finger to form a ring. When Balthazar goes to retrieve a book meant to teach magic, Dave accidentally opens the Grimhold, releasing the imprisoned Horvath. While battling for possession of the Grimhold, Balthazar and Horvath are imprisoned in an ancient Chinese urn with a ten-year lock curse. Dave is then ridiculed by his classmates when he claims he saw magic, only to find the shop empty.

Ten years later in 2010, Dave (Jay Baruchel), now 20 years old, is a physics student at New York University, and meets his childhood crush Becky (Teresa Palmer). The ten-year imprisonment curse of the urn ends, releasing Horvath and Balthazar. Horvath pursues Dave and the Grimhold. Balthazar rescues Dave, riding an animated steel eagle adapted from a Chrysler Building gargoyle. Dave initially refuses to help Balthazar, having been under psychiatric care since their first meeting, until the elder agrees to leave after finding the Grimhold. They track the Grimhold to Chinatown, where Horvath has released the next Morganian, Sun Lok (Gregory Woo). Dave defeats Sun Lok, and Balthazar retrieves the Grimhold. Dave changes his mind, deciding that he likes magic after all, and agrees to become Balthazar's apprentice. He also becomes romantically involved with Becky against Balthazar's wishes and advice. Horvath enlists a youthful Morganian, celebrity magician Drake Stone (Toby Kebbell) to get back the Grimhold. They attempt to kill Dave, but Balthazar saves him. Cued by Horvath, Dave demands to know the truth about Balthazar's quest. Balthazar reveals that Morgana is trapped in the Grimhold with Veronica. Morgana, if freed, would cast a spell called "The Rising", which would revive sorcerers from the dead and enslave mankind. As Prime Merlinian, Dave will become powerful enough to cast spells without his ring (a focus, which for any other magician is the only way to channel their magic), and is the only one who can stop her. Dave tries to use magic to clean his lab, but loses control of his animated cleaning mops, and, disillusioned, decides to give up on magic, until Becky unknowingly changes his mind.

He returns to his underground subway lab, just as Drake and Horvath try to kill Balthazar and steal the Grimhold. Horvath, having no more use for Drake, casts a parasite spell and steals Drake's magic and his ring. Horvath releases the witch Abigail Williams, uses her to kidnap Becky, then steals her magic and pendant focus. He threatens to kill Becky, forcing Dave to surrender the Grimhold and his ring. Balthazar goes after Horvath in Battery Park, sure that Dave, without his ring, will be killed. Horvath releases Morgana, who begins the Rising Spell while Horvath animates the Charging Bull sculpture and commands it to attack Balthazar. Dave arrives and stuns Horvath while Balthazar's eagle flies away with the bull. Becky interrupts the Rising Spell, stunning Morgana. Balthazar takes Morgana, body and soul, from Veronica into himself, but Morgana escapes and tries to incinerate them. Dave attempts to stop her without his ring and succeeds, proving that he is the Prime Merlinian. Morgana shoots plasma bolts at the three and overwhelming Balthazar and Veronica's shield spells, kills Balthazar when he bodily intercepts a bolt meant for Veronica. Dave makes a Tesla coil out of the square's lamp posts and power lines to overwhelm her and then fires a plasma barrage which finally destroys her. He revives Balthazar by restarting his heart with plasma shocks. Balthazar and Veronica reunite. Dave and Becky kiss, and fly to France for breakfast on Balthazar's eagle.

In a post-credits scene, Horvath takes his hat at Balthazar's shop.



The basic idea for the movie was mostly Nicolas Cage's, who wanted to explore a mystic world and play a character with magical powers, and following a suggestion by his producer friend Todd Garner, decided to make a feature-length movie based upon the Fantasia segment of the same name.[7][8] On February 12, 2007, this film was announced by Disney.[9] References to the original animation include the scene where Dave animates mops to clean his laboratory, and having Mickey Mouse's hat in the post-credits scene.[8]


Lighting equipment parked on lower Broadway, Downtown and Commerce continues behind lighting equipment.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is set in New York City, and most scenes were shot on location, in places such as Washington Square Park and Chinatown's Eldrige Street. Dave's laboratory was filmed in either an abandoned subway station located under the New York City Hall or a studio recreation of it.[8] In the early morning hours of May 4, 2009, a Ferrari F430 being driven during filming of a chase sequence, lost control and careened into the window of a Sbarro restaurant in Times Square, injuring two pedestrians, one of whom was struck by a falling lamppost. Filming resumed the following night, when yet another accident occurred. The two accidents were blamed on rain making the roads slick.[10] To make the magic more believable, it was decided to an emphasis of practical, on-set effects, such as making real fire, with fluids or flash powder being used for colored flames. To provide a lighting reference for the plasma bolts, the actors wore gloves with LED displays to make them glow before adding the computer-generated shot. For floating objects, they were either thrown with wires or held by stuntmen wearing green chroma key suits.[8]


Critical response

Jay Baruchel was praised by critics for his performance.

The film received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 41% based on 165 reviews, with an average score of 5.2/10. The critical consensus reads: "It has a likeable cast and loads of CGI spectacle, but for all but the least demanding viewers, The Sorcerer's Apprentice will be less than spellbinding."[11] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from 0-100 of top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 46 out of 100 sampled from 34 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter has said that "The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a tired relic of summer-movie cliches, clearly beaten to death by far too many credited writers."[13] Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half stars out of four and wrote "This is a much better film than The Last Airbender, which is faint praise, but it's becoming clear that every weekend brings another heavily marketed action 'comedy' that pounds tens of millions out of consumers before evaporating".[14]

Box office

The Sorcerer's Apprentice made an opening gross of $3,873,997 on its first day (Wednesday July 14, 2010). It finished at #3 on its first weekend with $17,619,622 behind Inception and Despicable Me in the U.S. and Canada and gained another $8,928,216 on its first weekend internationally (in 13 countries) for a worldwide opening of $26,547,841. On October 28, 2010, The Sorcerer's Apprentice closed at the box-office in the United States and Canada with $63,150,991. As of December 12, 2010, it has earned $152,132,612 in other countries totaling $215,283,603 worldwide. Besides the U.S. and Canada, other countries where it grossed more than $10 million were Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States ($13,630,194), France and the Maghreb region ($12,930,320) and Japan ($10,632,660).[2] Its largest international weekend was August 13–15, during which it grossed $14,091,169 in 42 countries. It occupies the fourth place on the all-time chart of Sword and Sorcery films in the U.S. and Canada, and the third place on the same chart worldwide.[15] In July 2010, Parade Magazine listed the film #1 on its list of "Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010 (So Far).[16]

Home media

The Sorcerer's Apprentice was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 30, 2010. It has sold 1,288,735 DVD units (equivalent to $21,609,680) since its release in DVD. Adding in its box-office revenue, the film's earnings sum up to $236,893,283.

Awards and accolades

Year Result Award Category Recipients
2010 Nominated Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie
2011 Won ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Trevor Rabin


The score for this film was conducted and recorded by Trevor Rabin. It was released on July 6, 2010.[17][18]

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Film score by Trevor Rabin
Released July 6, 2010
Genre Film score
Length 43:04
Label Walt Disney

All tracks written by Trevor Rabin. 

1."Sorcerer's Apprentice"  3:14
2."Story of the Prime Merlinian"  4:02
3."Note Chase"  0:39
4."Dave Revives Balthazar"  2:41
5."Classroom"  1:25
6."The Urn"  1:39
7."The Grimhold"  1:39
8."Morgana Fight"  2:59
9."The Ring"  1:43
10."Walk in the Rain"  0:43
11."Merlin Circle"  2:01
12."Dave Has Doubts"  0:53
13."Becky and Dave on Rooftop"  1:24
14."Car Chase"  3:54
15."Seeing Veronica"  0:55
16."Story of Veronica"  1:44
17."Horvath Made Off With the Grimhold"  1:13
18."Kiss from Becky"  0:33
19."Bull Fight"  2:10
20."Balthazar Saves Veronica"  1:13
21."Sorcerer’s Apprentice Suite"  2:28
22."Fantasia Original Demo"  4:22
Total length:43:24

The song "Secrets" by OneRepublic is used in the film but does not appear on the album.[19]


  1. Fritz, Ben (July 16, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Inception' headed for No. 1, 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' to open in third". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
  2. 1 2 "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  3. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - About the Film
  4. 1 2 3 Kit, Borys (2009-03-03). "Alfred Molina puts spell on 'Apprentice'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  5. Graser, Marc (2009-04-19). "Kebbell joins Disney's 'Apprentice'". Variety. Archived from the original on 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  6. Graser, Marc (2009-05-14). "Monica Bellucci joins 'Sorcerer'". Variety. Archived from the original on 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  7. "How Nicolas Cage's Geeky Obessions Brought 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' to Life". Yahoo!. July 2, 2010. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  8. 1 2 3 4 The Making of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The Making of The Sorcerer's Apprentice DVD: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
  9. Kit, Borys (February 12, 2007). "Dis has Cage conjured up for 'Sorcerer'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  10. "Cage stunt car in New York crash". BBC News. May 5, 2009. Archived from the original on December 10, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  11. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  12. "Sorcerer's Apprentice, The reviews at". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  13. Honeycutt, Kirk (July 9, 2010). "The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  14. Ebert, Roger (July 13, 2010). "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  15. "Sword and Sorcery". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  16. "10 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2010 (So Far)". Parade Magazine. July 19, 2010.
  17. "iTunes - Music - The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) by Trevor Rabin". iTunes. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  18. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice Soundtrack (2010)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  19. Quote: it plays prominently in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
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