The Socerer's Apprentice
©Walt Disney 2010
Everyone loves when the underdog wins. And the Sorcerer’s Apprentice uses this favorite ploy for this American movie to take Dave, a physics geek, to an amazing wizard who eventually wins over the beautiful girl toward whom he has had a crush on the third grade. Yet in this seemingly innocent story of good guy beat bad guy plot, Western Spiritualism permeates the film, leaving the viewer looking around for George Lucas.
Dave is a third grade boy who one day finds his way into an odds and ends shop in New York during a class field trip. He winds up meeting Belshazzar, who, unbeknownst to him, is a sorcerer. Belshazzar puts a ring on his finger, a ring that designates the Primermerlinian and unexpectedly it comes alive on Dave’s finger, designating him as Merlin’s descendent and the only one who can defeat Merlin’s archenemy Morgana.
Belshazzar, Hovarth, and Veronica were all apprentices to the late Merlin, who was killed by Morgana. And now Hovarth, who joined Morgana, and Veronica, have become trapped in grimhold, a doll, where all the Morganians (the enemies of Merlin) are kept. Dave accidently releases Hovarth from the doll and after an epic yet short lived battle the Belshazzar and Hovarth become trapped in an urn for 10 years. The grimhold disappears.
Ten years later Dave is now in college, teaching Physics class. Belshazzar is finally released and finds Dave to entreat him to help him find the grimhold, in which Belshazzar’s love Veronica is imprisoned. Hovarth is on the lookout as well for the doll and the rest of the movie becomes a fight between Hovarth and Belshazzar and Dave as Belshazzar trains Dave in the way of sorcery.
Several elements of Western Spiritualism are evident in the film. One is that Belshazzar become Dave’s master, somewhat similar to a Jedi Master taking on an apprentice. As Belshazzar trains Dave, they have a moment similar to Luke and Yoda in that Dave uses mind control to hold Belshazzar in a chair above the ground but upon losing concentration drops him to the floor, just as Luke does to Yoda in the swamp. In teaching Dave how to use spells, Belshazzar tells him that he must clear his mind. All of his spells must be performed in the Merlin circle because that is where his energy will be focused.
Of course viewers might initially think the training sequences are cool or exciting. But Disney uses a key scene to dispel any element of triviality. Hovarth is trying to get information about Dave at his college and uses a mind trick and a waving of the hand to get the front desk personal to tell him what he needs to know. Hovarth’s apprentice mocks him and quotes a line from Star Wars that references a similar use of the mind trick. With a few choice words and a withering look, the apprentice is made to look ridiculous because by Hovarth because he mocked the seemingly fake powers of his master. And Hovarth mocks his apprentice’s powers as an entertainer magician, distinguishing that what Hovarth is using is not fake like a magician we would think of a as a viewer.
In the end, Dave defeats Morgana, gets a new girlfriend, and essentially fulfills his potential by becoming the primerlinian just as Fate destined. The supernatural forces win the day, underscoring the movie’s affirmation of western spiritualism.