In 1999, young Dave (Jay Baruchel) stumbles into an antique shop owned by the centuries-old wizard Balthazar (Nicholas Cage). In a moment of confusion, Dave accidentally frees Horvath (Alfred Molina), an evil warlock, and subsequently both magicians are (for reasons I didn't quite catch) get locked in a vase which doesn't open for 12 years. When it does reopen, both Balthazar and Horvath pursue Dave, looking for a lost article he took from the shop that holds unspeakable power. Balthazar tells Dave that he is (of course) this film's version of the ever-popular "chosen one" and quickly teaches Dave how to tap into his magical prowess. A showdown ensues, the events of which you can pretty much guess.
By now we all know what to expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer production, especially when he's paired with director Jon Turteltaub. You're going to get a lot of flair, some great special effects/stunts, a few well placed jokes, an inattention to anything that could be considered "acting," and a story that lacks all but the most basic of plot points. Consequently, there's really nothing wrong with a Bruckheimer action film while at the same time there's very little right about it. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is what it is: mildly fun, reasonably enjoyable, and entirely forgettable. Cage long ago ceased to be a good actor but in his defense, he's found a niche with Bruckheimer wherein he doesn't have to stretch himself too far and as a result, the audience isn't subjected to anywhere near the amount of punch-in-the-stomach-terrible-acting moments that have plagued him over the last two decades. He actually doesn't suck the life out of this movie the way I've come to expect. Baruchel, who had a HUGE year, does a good-enough job performing in a magnificently limited, two-dimensional role. As usual, "Apprentice" delivers some FX-heavy scenes that are almost entirely overshadowed by miserably cliched twists and turns and one of the worst soundtracks a movie has ever had. Altogether it's another notch on the "Truly Average and Unmemorable" belt for Bruckheimer (and Cage) that's just right for late night background viewing.