The Sorcerer's Apprentice ★★★½

There's nothing particularly new in Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, but that don't stop it from being a well-made and mostly enjoyable film. It may not have the distinction of being very memorable by year's end but it is perfectly harmless popcorn fare that is highlighted by a good performance by Nicolas Cage as the sorcerer Balthazar. The story is self-aware of its own derivative nature and pokes itself for it, which takes some of the air out of the any flaws regarding that. Most importantly it never takes itself too seriously and Turteltaub keeps the film moving along at a nice, rapid pace. Alfred Molina makes a solid villain while Jay Baruchel stays firmly within the lines of his career by playing a variation on the same geeky loser that he always plays. The cookie-cutter story has a couple of extra depths to it, some that work and some that don't, but more often than not it is just fine. This is a solid film that may get lost in the shuffle, but one that is easy to sit through without too many complaints.