The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2001) Review with RiffTrax

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Spellbinding

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2001): 5 out of 10: is a tale of magic, power, British real estate transactions and the enduring battle between good and evil. When the wicked sorceress Morgana (Kelly LeBrock) devises a plan to rule the world, the only thing standing in her way is a mysterious stone in the possession of the wizard Merlin.

Now living under the guise of an elderly man named Milner (Robert Davi), Merlin protects the magic stone by leaving it on a mantle. Every century, Morgana attempts to unite Fingall’s magic staff, currently on display in a museum, with Merlin’s stone to gain devastating power. But for fourteen hundred years, her efforts have somehow been unsuccessful.

The story takes a twist when Milner befriends his young neighbor, Ben Clark (Byron Taylor), a fourteen-year-old boy recently migrated from South Africa. Ben is not only intrigued by magic, but he also bears the same unique scar as a previous holder of Fingall’s staff from the 6th century. Recognizing this as the plot of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Milner takes Ben under his wing, teaching him the art of magic.

Unbeknownst to Ben, his father (Greg Melvill-Smith) is the curator of the museum where Fingall’s staff is kept. As Morgana re-emerges with her sinister plot, young Ben is thrust into the age-old battle between past thier prime American actors. He must not only choose his path but also protect Fingall’s staff from falling into Morgana’s hands, which could bring, as far as I can recall, unmentioned catastrophic consequences to the world as we know it. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, resting on the shoulders of a young apprentice and his ancient mentor.

The Good

The Good: I rate movies on a sliding scale. This way I am comparing apples to apples. It also allows me to give both The Godfather Part II and Amityville: Dollhouse an 8 out of 10 when one film is clearly superior to the other. (Dollhouse with Starr Andreeff giving an excellent performance as the new stepmother lusting after her husband’s son is obviously the superior one.)

As children’s films about magic with Merlin in them go, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is not half bad. Nor is it half bad for a South African production with two American “B” actors past their prime. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is surprisingly watchable. It does not do much well, but as anyone who has had to sit through some children’s films before can attest to it avoids most of the pitfalls of the genre. Well, avoidance is a strong term, actually. It does not feature a poop emoji voiced by Patrick Stewart. The bar is on the floor here, people.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice actually has decent leads and features one of my favorite actors, Robert Davi. Now admittedly, Robert does not escape unscathed as Merlin and Kelly Le Brock acts primarily with her cleavage as Morgan le Fay. In addition, Byron Taylor is apparently trying out for the Dennis the Menace remake as the titular apprentice.

Okay, maybe the acting is not “Top Notch” but again Patrick Stewart as a poop emoji. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is not painful to sit through. It does not overstay its welcome and okay special effects and Kelly Le Brock’s cleavage certainly helps the watchable factor.

The Bad

The Bad: I am not a Home Alone fan. I like Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, but when I think of their best roles, I do not think of “The Wet Bandits” (I think of Goodfellas and C.H.U.D. respectfully). Their performance in Home Alone is Oscar caliber compared to the milquetoast results of comic relief Martin Le Maitre (Cyborg Cop III) and Gideon Emery (Takers). Martin turns into a black cat and Gideon turns into a rat and if you think that the movie would have anything clever to say or do with such circumstances, you would be sadly mistaken. Instead, we get Three Stooges B roll.  

The Ugly

The Ugly: Robert Davi with the white beard and the white wavy hair as Merlin is the most ridiculous looking thing ever.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: I have seen worse kids films. I have seen worse films where a bullied kid gets magical powers. Hell, I have seen worse kid’s films where the bullied kid gets magical power by being Merlin’s apprentice.

What I am trying to say is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice could have been worse. A lot worse. The special effects are workable and fit the rest of the film. Between Robert Davi and the magic of Kelly LeBrock’s cleavage, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is actually watchable at times. Well, as watchable as a kid’s wish fulfillment movie involving Merlin can be.

RiffTrax Review

RiffTrax: The Sorcerers Apprentice (2019): 8 out of 10: RiffTrax does its job here. Making a watchable film truly entertaining. Kevin has some excellent writing advice when he points out that getting to Merlin as soon as possible isn’t just good advice for the character, but good advice for the script as well. The boys also point out the Cleavage of Legend, in case you thought that was just me. Other excellent advice includes one cannot have too many torch mobs.

Not the greatest RiffTrax ever, but a fun and funny time.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…. no
C’mon Cleavage… emote.
What the hell is this supposed to be? Is it a fossil? Is it a hunting trophy? Is it both? Did Merlin killed a very small dragon a thousand years ago?
This was Roxanne Burger’s only movie role. She plays the love interest to our titular apprentice. She does a decent job.
The “Cat and Mouse:” bandits get a very appropriate dressing down from the cleavage.
I am not suggesting that henchman in children’s film need to be scary. But a turtleneck and vest? Really?
I give him some stick but Robert Davi is a better Merlin than Stephen Dillane’s Osama bin Merlin.
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