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Movie Review

The Sorcerer's Apprentice also known as “El aprendiz de brujo,” “L'apprenti sorcier,” “Burtininko mokinys,” “Carobnjakov segrt,” “Carodejníkov ucen,” “Carodejuv ucen,” “Duell der Magier,” “L'apprendista stregone,” “Võluri õpilane,” “Ученик чародея”

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

Reviewed by: Angela Bowman

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Family, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
2 hr. 1 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 16, 2010 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: November 30, 2010
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

Sorcerers in the Bible

Magic and magicians in the Bible

Witches and witchcraft




What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Featuring: Nicolas Cage (Balthazar Blake), Jay Baruchel (Dave Stutler), Monica Bellucci (Veronica), Alfred Molina (Maxim Horvath), Toby Kebbell (Drake Stone), Ethan Peck, Teresa Palmer (Becky), Peyton List (Young Becky), Alice Krige (Morgana), Omar Benson Miller, Jake Cherry (Young Dave), Robert Capron (Oscar), James A. Stephens (Merlin), more »
Director: Jon Turteltaub—“National Treasure,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Phenomenon,” “Cool Runnings”
Producer: Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Saturn Films, Broken Road Productions, more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is inspired by the short animation of the same title from “Fantasia.” Dave (Jay Baruchel of “How To Train Your Dragon”), a special young man destined to be a great sorcerer, finds the fate of the world rests on his seemingly unreliable shoulders, as the evil Morgana (Alice Krige of “Chariots of Fire”), who has been trapped within a nesting doll, is destined to be released from her prison to awaken evil sorcerers from the dead and enslave the world.

Balthazar (NNicolas Cage) has been searching a thousand years for the Prime Merlinian, discovered to be Dave; the only sorcerer who is able to destroy Morgana once and for all and save the world from her wicked reign. Reluctantly, Dave agrees to be Balthazar’s apprentice, and his eyes are opened to a whole new world.

Positive Elements

Believing in yourself and being who you were called to be, despite what others think or say, drives Dave to overcome his lack of self-esteem, and we watch as he stumbles through the learning process and struggles with self-control. The wicked sorcerer Horvath (Alfred Molina) tries to convince Dave that he “put his faith in the wrong man” and appeals to his love for Becky (Teresa Palmer), trying to sway him—being classic examples of how Satan attempts to deceive us (2 Cor. 11:14), and how we, also, must not let our hearts deceive us (Jer. 17:9). John 15:13 is reflected in characters willing to give their lives unselfishly for their loved ones, although it must be noted that allowing another soul to possess your body is not scriptural, regardless of the nobility of intention.

Objectionable Content

The most obvious objectionable material is the prevalent use of occult symbolism and witchcraft. A five-pointed star or pentagram within a circle is utilized throughout the film in various forms, and a spell is used and discussed, in which two souls are incorporated into one body; once this is referred to as a possession (being possessed). A haunting young girl who was a witch from Salem is brought back from the dead. Various characters incant spells, including a scene of a female character moving somewhat provocatively.

There are numerous skulls shown and creatures that may be frightening to younger viewers. In one scene, a spell is cast to bring back the dead, and a partially decomposed face, that is trying to come to life, is shown. Characters are killed, and sorcerer bodies combine and disintegrate into beetle-type insects and dust. There is, alos, a scene in which a pack of wolves chase a character.

Language, sex and nudity: • one instance of “oh my g-d” • children make fun of a boy who “peed” his pants • comment about having to pee • scenes of a dog urinating (and passing gas) • A character uses a urinal in a men’s restroom, although graphic nothing is shown. • Conversation about “getting drunk” and mention of sake (a Japanese alcoholic drink) • A man threatens to “cut the truth” out of someone and that a character is going to be “ground into chunks and fed to the cat.” • There is, also, a scene in which a boy is picking up something from the floor and realizes he is looking up a girl’s skirt, who is seated at a desk; we see only her legs, covered in tights. • Characters are called “freak,” “moron” and “sexy.” • There is also a kissing scene, but not obscene. • A painting depicts a male character with a scantily clad female.


While there are some great scenes, superb action sequences and effects, and an interesting basis; the script is weak in too many places, leaving the audience experience fragmented and course. After seeing such great previews, I was expecting a much better story, and it is a shame that so many great scenes were brought down for lack of flow. Most disappointing, however, are the heavy occult elements. Fantasy magic, for the purpose of entertainment, may be harmless, however, incorporating it with the occult is a serious matter. Deuteronomy 18:10-13 makes it clear that we are to have nothing to do with sorcery, witchcraft, spells and other occult practices. In fact, there are numerous scriptures on sorcery and sorcerers that after re-reading and considering, I have a changed view on the subject in fiction (Scriptures include: Exodus 22; Leviticus 19; 2 Kings 17 and 21; 2 Chronicles 33; Acts 8; Galatians 5witchcraft). 1 Thes. 5:22 tells us to stay away from all forms of evil, and verse 21 tells us to “examine all things.”

Curious viewers are better off watching the good clips online and leaving the rest alone.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Just got out of seeing the movie. Great movie; special effects good; acting good; everything was great. Now, I know some Christians will this movie is evil, because of magic and sorcery; if that true, I never here those Christians talk bad about Narina which has the same thing but because it was written by a Christian writer its okay. God was really in this movie I saw many scriptures being fulfilled. 1st off they took a biblical name on the three wise man Balthazar which means lord of treasures gave myrrh to Jesus as a gift. I thought that was cool how God did that. 2nd Morgana was lock up for a 1,000 years just like Satan will be then release for a short time. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:2 NIV) When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. (Rev 20:7-8 NIV) 3rd and finally If you look where the final battle was fought at versus Dave and Morgana in the park the cement it made cross which remind me that Jesus defeated the Devil at the cross.

It was a great movie I saw God working in movie like He always does. This honest review which I hope you enjoyed. God Bless, Robbie P.S. Remember Jesus Loves You, And So Do I!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Robbie, age 19 (USA)
Positive—First things first; the title: “Sorcerer’s” Apprentice. That first word should catch your eyes. Yes, the movie has occultist themes and fantasy magic, which is obvious if you even caught a glimpse of a trailer.

The only bothersome bit was the possession, and the attempted necromancy (raising of the dead.) Also there is an appearance of antigrams (pentagrams are 5-point stars, right side up in a circle. Antigrams are upside down) as the “call sign” for evil (obvious, and a chance to teach younglings the dangers/meaning of satanism).

For the fantasy magic, that’s all it really is. Some will argue saying that it’s witchcraft or sorcery, however in the biblical sense “modern” sorcery has no mention or appearance, and instead is referred to the conversing with spirits, and sharing powers with demons. A further look into the exact kind of “sorcery” and the origin of the “magic” will put it in the right category. As for the casting of spells, it should be noted that spells, or in the bible, “enchantment” are tricks. They are much like today’s “magic acts,” sleights of hand and “smoke and mirrors.”

The spells in the movie look muh more complicated than that. But unlike the popular theme I’m detecting, I will need to investigate the practice from a theoretical, and non-practicing stand point, before I jump on the “SHUN THIS EVIL” train.

In short, if you are strong enough in your faith to see it and avoid the temptation of practicing satanic acts, then see it. You don’t have too look hard, it’s a movie about how God sees us, with a “cameo appearance” by you-know-who.

I’d also recommend it for children ages 10+, after which, parents, you can go over what the bible actually says about some of the themes and practices.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ben, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I am a Christian who doesn’t see anything wrong with going to a movie about witchcraft. It’s not like the people in this movie were burning up their children on a pagan altar or anything. So, having said that, I did enjoy this movie. My only complaint is that it seemed like they were leading up to huge wizardry-showdown… and it wasn’t that huge. I think they could have made the ending alot more action-packed than it was. I would recommend this movie to teenagers and adults, since it does have some parts that would disturb kids. And I would say wait for DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kadie Joseph, age 18 (USA)
Positive—While Harry potter, I believe is more fantasy magic and a lot of this movie is as well, there were a few parts towards the end that were more evil and leaning towards occult things.

Positive: the movie had great… effects. The coolest part was the mirror trick and the car flips right into a mirror and ends up on a side where everything is backwards and then flips through a mirror again. The part with the dancing mops and brooms playing homage to Mickey in “Fantasia” was good and was neat to see them pay homage to a great classic. The movie had some great other special effects, and I loved how the producers of the movie wanted things to be as real as possible with real effects, such as when someone is blown across the room; it was not done in the computer and as much of the effects as possible were done on the set rather than computer effects. I believe it gives the actors something physically to react to, which makes for better acting.

I loved the actors. I really liked Alfred Molina as the bad guy. He played that part awesome. I loved the guy who played Dave; it was cool to see a geeky nerdy guy to be the hero rather then the straight A student and football star or something but someone who no one would expect. Nick Cage was great as well, and his car he drove was quite cool, too.

The movie, for the most part, was fun and a lot of things about believing in yourself and just fun fantasy magic. And the scene of Nick’s gf in the movie taking it upon herself to die to save Nick Cage’s character.

Negative: Towards the end, there is a possession scene and an occult symbol in the air and a few other occult things—all happen within about 5 minutes. Some people may not like the movie, and I did not like the occult things in the one part, but the rest of it was otherwise a great movie—great special effects and a good story.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jason, age 34 (USA)
Neutral—Dang it. I fell asleep again. Not like in the newest “The Karate Kid”—man I missed most of that movie. I was so out of it; I just got home from my deployment a few days before and I was still lacking in the z’s dept. But with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I missed about 20 mins, at MOST. The Ol' Man is calling me a narco these days. Not quite. I’m just an old bronco, and my parts have exhausted their shelf life. While Alfred Molina (Doc Oc from Spider-Man 2) and Nick Cage are swell guys, their shared Disney story of brotherhood and betrayal just couldn’t keep me from checking my eyelids for cracks. The movie is not without its cheap laughs. The easiest of which include a jab at Chris Angel and the Pinto gag. I mean, it’s Chris Angel. Come on. But the Pinto? Allow me to segue. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve known the Pinto to be a lemon. Dad and Ma still bicker to this day about that blasted jalopy. Mom had one; Dad sold it w/o her knowing about it 'til after the fact. He swears he was just saving her from “blowing up.” So naturally when Jay Baruchel buddy boy turns their set of wheels into a Pinto, a chagrined Nick Cage bellows “THAT was your BIG PLAN!?!? Turning our car into a PINTO!?!?” Messed me up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Mega Tron, age 24 (USA)
Negative—What was most offensive about this movie was Nicholas Cage’s phoned-in performance. What could have been a great film was made a veritable yawn by Cage’s obvious lack of enthusiasm. The young apprentice was much better, and made the time spent not a total loss.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Faith, age 29 (USA)
Negative—This movie I would classify as occult passive programming, much like “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” The film tones down, via humor and silliness, the true reality and power of the ancient mysteries that our Bible calls divination, witchcraft and sorcery, but, at the same time, schools the viewer on how sorcerers and witches channel demonic powers through various luciferian or satanic rituals, such as standing in the hexagram circle speaking incantations. This is directly against what the Lord teaches us in the Bible (see Deut. 18:10; 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6, etc.).

Much of the so-called “magic” in the movie is rooted in ancient kabbalism [cabalissm], which is luciferian. Another phrase used throughout the movie was 'clearing your mind'. This is opposite of what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that we are to meditate and fill our minds on the Lord and on His Word, lest our minds be subjected to the deceptions of the devil (Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 77:12; 119:15, etc.).

I found it an interesting observation that those who commented positively on this movie were young. Although I know this isn’t a valid sampling, statistically, I don’t believe it is a coincidence either. The subliminal programming of movie and music entertainment caters to the young. As a parent, if I chose to have my kids see the movie, I myself would talk about the occult issue before and after the movie—sort of a discussion to prepare them, then a detox to “unprogram” the mind. And what I mean by “unprogram” is to help kids see what the movie is really trying to teach, and that it is in direct contrast to what is good, according to the Lord. Sorcery isn’t “fun” or “positive,” as the movie implies; sorcery and witchcraft are real, powerful and evil.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—John C, age 39 (USA)
Negative—I was really excited when I first saw the previews for this movie. I’m not really a Nicholas Cage fan, but it looked like a different role for him, so I was willing to give it a chance. There were parts of the movie that I enjoyed, such as various one-liners and other dialogue from the characters, but overall, I didn’t enjoy the movie. I’ve always recognized a difference between what the reviewer calls “fantasy magic” and “witchcraft” or “occult themes.” I went into this movie expecting it to center more around the fantasy magic, and was very uncomfortable with its many references to the Occult. There were instances of possession, and a scene of Morgana performing an incantation on top of a star (the kind that is used as a symbol for the Occult).

The thought of someone raising an army of dead sorcerers and sorceresses was very unpleasant for me.

I did like other things about the movie. The scenes that contained the “mirror trick” were really awesome, and I really enjoyed Dave, the main character. It was refreshing to have a geekier, more clumsy hero. Alfred Molina was brilliant, as always, and though I wasn’t blown away by Nicholas Cage’s performance, I thought he did a reasonable job. In conclusion, the movie could have been much better, if they had left out the references to possession and the occult, and kept it centered around fantasy magic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sara, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I recently watched this movie, and while I enjoyed the progression of the story line, the actors, script, various effects, etc., the strong prescence of occult magic made me personally very uncomfortable. There were, in this case, “good” sorcerers and then the really evil ones who (of course) were going to destroy the world; however, this movie did not have the kind of fantasty magic that is in “The Chronicles of Narnia” or even “The Lord of the Rings.”

I don’t consider myself an expert on magical content, but in this movie there were some specific elements of real black magic that even I recognized, such as the five pointed star used throughout the film. A young Salem witch was briefly brought back from the dead, and the way that the bad guys were going to destroy the world was to raise an army of lost souls from the dead, the beginning of which is shown.

All in all, it’s really unhealthy subject matter for the audience of kids/family for which this movie was targeted. I can’t really see this as providing good discussion matter either; the story line isn’t worth it, and for me, at least, the magical content is not just dark but pointedly evil and is too similar to what little I know of the occult. While I can forget it, maybe younger kids or those who are already attracted to “off” things would have trouble from seeing this.

Again, I know that many movies I have enjoyed have magic, spells, enchantments, and so on, but I do feel that a line has to be drawn somewhere and I make my distinction between what is fantasy/entertainment and what is too specific and pervasive. In my book at least, this movie crossed the line.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—R, age 19 (USA)

Addition to previous comment—After my previous negative commentary I posted, I read a neutral review here by a Jacob Davis that really makes good points. I still maintain everything I said in my other comment, but I do want to clarify that it isn’t intended to be universally judgmental; it just has my personal opinions! I have known Christians like the ones he mentioned; they live in fear of anything outside their little box of rules, and judge whoever is different; they do more damage than good. So do research, but make decisions based on what you believe God is telling you… not reviews from strangers that can seem really, really contradictory when you read them all! It’s easy to blow something like this way out of proportion.
—R, age 19 (USA)

Comments from young people
Positive—Well, DUH this movie is going to have sorcery in it!!!… It’s not all as bad as this reviewer makes it out to be, so don’t take his/her word for it, go see it yourselves. It is a GREAT movie, and I loved every minute of it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Hannah Peters, age 13 (USA)
Positive—Ok, so I went and saw this movie and really liked it. It is very funny, yes it has sorcery in it! DUH! And it is not as bad as the reviewer made it out to be. It is nothing like Harry Potter. The movie is entertaining, and I enjoyed it. I am not one to like movies with magic such as Harry Potter I don’t agree with that stuff. I went to see this cause I like Nicolas Cage, and I was pleased. I would recommend this movie to anybody. Go see it for yourself.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—S, age 17 (USA)
Positive—If you want to see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” listen to the people who think that this movie is good because that is what the movie was. The only thing is that the last 5th of the movie was sort of more for 11 and up but for the first parts of the movie were for 8 and up. I found this movie biblical in many ways. If you wonder how high this movie is on the list of my favorite movies this would be #1. If you like cars as much as me you would be in awe watching the car chase. Also, what I found interesting was the life of Dave or the sorcerer’s apprentice in other words. So if you are 11 or up watch “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Nathan M., age 11 (Canada)
Neutral—First I will admit that Nicolas Cage is a very convincing sorcerer, but unfortunately I cannot compliment the rest of the cast’s acting. The violence and scary images were pretty heavy for only a PG rating. Overall, I was able to mildly enjoy the movie. The ending was quite cheesy and predictable… I won’t post how I think it should have ended, because I may give too much away if I did.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emily, age 12 (USA)

Positive—This was a very good action movie. It did have some elements of witchcraft, but if you remember all that rise-from-the-dead was stuff was from the bad guy. …it was a good teen to adult movie. I would not recommend it to under 10. I give it the equivalent of Harry Potter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tristan Cowley, age 15 (USA)

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I am not planning to see this movie and recommend that other Christians do the same. I totally agree with the reviewer that this film should be avoided due to its heavy emphasis on occult symbolism and witchcraft (pentagrams, spells, being possessed). Like the Harry Potter films, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tries to justify the use of magic by arguing that there is a difference between good and evil magic, and that it’s a classic tale of good versus evil, therefore it’s a safe and entertaining film to watch. Don’t fall for this trap. This is a deception by Satan to draw people into the movie theater and be exposed to elements that Christians are warned against in the Bible.

Please take a moment to check the reviewer’s references in scripture and read the Bible for yourself to see what it says about the occult and how Christians are to respond. Then decide whether or not you still want to see this movie. I’ve already made my decision.
—Les, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—I have watched several clips online, and the movie looks amazing. I wanted to comment towards some of my brothers and sisters on the “occult” issue. Many people stay away from films like this, or they bash films like this, simply because of the use of “magic” or “sorcery.” The bottom line, it’s entertainment. The film’s crew were not using witchcraft during production of the film. Everything depicted is computer animation and special effects. Magic is entertaining in film. Sorcerers and wizards are interesting in the fantasy world. I grew up watching movies like this, and watching a wide variety of shows and movies that use magic and witchcraft as an element of its story. You know what? That’s ok! I think I turned out pretty good. I don’t practice witchcraft or worship the devil or put blood and parts of animals in a cauldron to mix a potion or make a spell. It’s just entertainment. I can’t say that enough.

One of the problems that Christians have in trying to reach a lost and dying world is that people think we’re super sensitive and no one wants to be like us because we’re offended by EVERYTHING, it seems. If many of us would just lighten up a little and reach people on their level, instead of giving the lost some high standard they have to reach, maybe their hearts would be more receptive to God’s call. Too many times, WE get in the way of God trying to reach some people. I think the church as a whole needs more discernment in this area. Thanks for reading!
—Jacob Davis, age 23 (USA)