Falling into the vast middle ground between ‘OK’ and ‘not bad,’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice provides plenty of whiz without much bang.
Oh, sure, many things go “Blam!” and other things go “Kablooey!” Hundreds, if not thousands, of objects fly through the air with the greatest of ease, and the heroic Nicolas Cage (as ages-old Balthazar) and the villainous Alfred Molina (as former compatriot Horvath) stare intensely at one another as though they were angry, and move their arms with great drama and emotion. The hesitant Jay Baruchel (as the diffident Dave) gets in the spirit too, only in his case it’s more akin to squinting and aimless gesticulating with inordinate uncertainty.
Yet The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is only fitfully engaging. Two or three moments soar toward the stratosphere — such as when college student Dave makes Tesla electrical arcs dance to modern music, to the delight of his long-time crush Becky (Teresa Palmer) — but succeeding scenes let the air out of the balloon, and there are too few of such moments to prop up the generally lackluster pace. It’s not a horrible movie, but it is routine and unexceptional.