"If Hogwarts was in down-town New York, this is what Harry Potter would have turned out like."
Jerry Bruckheimer. Nicolas Cage. This, for me, is one of the most successful partnerships in Hollywood - Con Air, Gone in Sixty Seconds, National Treasure - the list goes on and on and on. For the most part, the films are never going to be Oscar winning material, but what then provide by the bucket load is pure entertainment value - I defy you to watch one of them and feel short changed. Fair enough, it might not change your life, but you won't view it as 2 hours of your life that you'll never get back.
Generally, Bruckheimer's films tend to lean towards an adult male audience. The Sorcerer's Apprentice bucks that trend and is aimed quite firmly at that most fickle of audiences - the 'tweens'. As such, it's a little too combative for the little ones, but at the same time is far from a Harry Potter for grown-ups. This middling ground is perhaps the greatest weakness of the film - there is a sense that Bruckheimer isn't really comfortable with this target audience, and as such the focus of the film tends to waver somewhat.
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That said, there is still entertainment aplenty. Comic one liners are sprinkled liberally throughout the film, and of course there are plenty of fireballs being thrown around. Perhaps the strongest element of the film is the seamless way in which the special effects have been utilised - at no point do they interfere or appear out of place, and they provide the film with some of its better set pieces - a surprisingly good car chase (although perhaps not so given Bruckheimer's history) one of the stand out scenes.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is far from a bad film. I enjoyed certain elements, but ultimately found that the film lacked cohesion, moving from set piece to set piece with a fairly flimsy overarching plot. It's saving grace is that the target audience won't really give a monkeys, preferring instead to focus on the excellent special effects and dreaming of the day they can make things move with a twitch of their hand.