Balthazar Blake is a sorcerer who has spend centuries trying to find the chosen one to defeat the dark forces which threaten the world. He was once an apprentice of Merlin and when Merlin was killed he captured the evil wizards and locked them in a special nesting doll where they will stay until some one can destroy them.
Dave is an ordinary 10 year old boy who goes on a school trip to New York where he stumbles upon a strange shop which gives him the fright of his life. He meets Balthazar who discovers he is the chosen one. Unfortunately an evil wizard is set free and after a fight they both get locked in an urn for 10 years. Dave his the next 10 years of his life trying to forget and get over the fright he had that day. That is until Balthazar is released from the urn and he tracks him down.
Balthazar now has to convince Dave of his power and the fact he is the chosen one and the only person who can destroy the evil wizards. Can Balthazar make Dave understand this and if not what will happen if the evil escapes and takes over the world?
I have been looking forward to watching this film as the trailers made it look good. I do enjoy Disney films and the added bonus to this one was the fact Nicholas Cage starred as Balthazar and I find he is always very good in his roles. This film was very enjoyable and both me and hubby loved it. I felt the story was great and despite having not seen the original animated version of this I was easily able to follow the story and felt it was modern and quite realistic. The story did not get overly far fetched and I felt it was kept quite down to earth and simple for the younger audience to be able to follow it with ease.
The acting was great, the role of Balthazar was played by Nicholas Cage and he was brilliant in the role. He was strong and determined throughout but we did get to see flashes of another side to him when he gave a few one liners which made both me and hubby chuckle. He worked well with his magical abilities and I felt he took the role to a good depth and made his character very believable. There was a good connection on screen with his and Dave and I felt at times he was a father figure to him. Dave was played by Jay Baruchel and I felt he was a great choice. He was a normal 20 year old male who was having issues getting ladies and I felt this was a good inclusion in the film as it gave the story some depth. He was able to make me feel a good amount of emotions. I was sad for him when he was young and then felt amused and happy for him when he was older. He too worked well with the magical elements and I again thought he was very believable in the role. I did think these two actors were a good paring as the comedy timing from them both was perfect and this meant the film had a slightly lighter note throughout.
We did have some good support actors in the film, including the likes of Alfred Molina, Toby Kebbell, Monica Bellucci and James A Stephens. They too were all very strong in their roles and played very different roles which helped to bring the film to life.
As you can imagine with this film being about magic there are lots of CGi and special effects right from the start of the film. The effects were all made to a very high standard and I felt they were not overly produced so they fitted effortlessly into the film and looked very real. I found the actors worked exceptionally well with all of the effects and stunts which were included. I did not notice any added backdrops or parts which looked fake and thought a lot of time, money and effort went into the effects. There is also a lot of action in the film which was also well made and added in to the film.
There are a few parts to the film which I must advise caution to parents over. We do have the lead roles in danger at times, being chased by evil wizards and dragons but none of this goes over the edge and it is all fantasy violence so I think children over the age of 7 will be fine with it all. I would suggest that if you are going to be letting younger children watch then give it a viewing yourself first as you will be able to judge for yourself then over the suitability of these parts.
The music throughout the film was great and fitted very well. The dramatic parts of the story were given slightly classical and orchestral scores and I loved this aspect of this film as it helped add to the drama of the scenes. I liked the few modern songs which we got and I have to say I noticed immediately when the Fantasia track was used and I am pleased it was again used in this re make. I felt the setting for the story was good and felt it worked being in the modern time. I thought he costumes and props were all very good and consistent throughout the film but I also enjoy the element of old which Balthazar bought to the film too.
The running time of the film is 105 minutes long and I did find this to be a good length with the story moving at a good pace from start to finish, I think children will be able to watch for this length as there is enough to keep them entertained throughout. The rate is a PG and I agree with this. We bought the DVD for £5 in Tesco and I think this is a great price. The DVD does have some bonus features but as I have not watched them I cannot make comment so this is going to be a film only review.
I am more than happy to recommend this film and give it a good solid 4 stars. It is a good family film and children will easily be able to follow the story. I cannot comment or compare it to the original as I have never watched it but for me this is a great film which is modern and up to date and well worth the price tag.