Three takes on the Disney classic 'Fantasia'

Friday, February 4, 2011


Film Critic

I'm going give you a two-for-one deal. It's not often you have Mickey Mouse and Nicholas Cage tackling the same material, but that's what one gets with Disney's recent release of "Fantasia" and a modern day retelling of the story in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000

The 1940 classic and its 1999 sequel get a new Blu-ray treatment in this new release. While "Fantasia 2000" looks good, it's the original that really will knock your socks off.

"Fantasia" is a movie you either love or hate, there seems to be very little room in between. It's been Walt Disney's boldest idea and might prove to be one of his crowning achievements when all is said and done.

Only the studio's third full length animated, the vision of "Fantasia" was sweeping and a risk for a studio that was still trying to find its footing. It features eight animated segments set to classical music, with Deems Taylor providing the intros to each.

The most well known segment of the film is Mickey Mouse's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," where the lovable little mouse takes up the wizard's hat and proceeds to cast a spell of mops and broom sot do his chores. However, things go bad and as the room floods and Mickey almost drowns, the wizard returns to rectify the situation.

Considered a flop upon its initial release, "Fantasia" has become one of Disney's best-loved films.

The "Fantasia/Fantasia 2000" four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack has a treasure trove of extra goodies, including "Dali and Disney -- A date with Destrino documentary," "The Schultheis Notebook" and "Musicana"

Final Cut: For lovers of the film, this four-pack is a must own. If you haven't seen the film before, treat yourself to something that will capture your imagination as only Disney can.


5 out of 5 Stars

Fantasia 2000

3.5 out of 5 Stars

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A modern day retelling of the famous "Fantasia" sequence featuring Mickey Mouse in which he uses magic to enchant brooms and mops to clean for him. This time around, Jay Baruchel takes on the role of the apprentice and Nicholas Cage the character of the wizard.

After watching his mentor, Merlin, betrayed and killed by Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) and Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige), Balthazar (Cage) battles Morgana. But as Morgana stands ready to kill Balthazar, Veronica (Monica Bellucci) absorbs Morgana's souls and Balthazar imprisons the both of them in a nesting doll.

Merlin gives Balthazar a dragon ring that will find the Prime Merlinian, the one who will eventually succeed Merlin. Spending the next 1,000-plus years searching, Balthazar encounters young Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry) as he chases a love note into an antique store.

After a few precarious moments, Balthazar wonders if this could be the one he's been looking for, he drops the dragon ring in Dave's palm, where it comes to life and wraps around his finger, signaling that he is indeed the Prime Merlinian.

The bulk of the middle of the film is spent with Dave attempting to learn his craft, getting cozy with his grade school crush and Balthazar trying to keep him on course.

Horvath discovers Dave is the Prime Merlinian and enlists Chris Angel wannabe Drake Stone (Toby Kebbell) to help release Morgana from the Grimhold and defeat Balthazar and Dave.

The final battle is pretty cool and you need to sit through the credits because a tiny treat awaits thee.

It might not spellbind you, but "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a likeable flick with a good change, cute story and just enough laughs. The CGI looks awesome at times and it's a nice nod to its Mickey Mouse predecessor.

This is the Nicholas Cage I love. His quirky take on Balthazar is vintage Cage and a reminder the actor, when involved with the right film, can still deliver the goods. Jay Baruchel is mildly annoying at times and I found myself tuning him out when I should have been more engaged.

Final Cut: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a fluffy little action comedy with Cage and Molina providing some wonderful characters. It's also a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Just be on the lookout for some mild language at times.

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Writers: Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard

MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action violence, some mild humor and brief language

Running Time: 1hr. 51 min.