This weekend, Christopher Nolan is the real magician at the box office with "Inception." "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" shows Jerry Bruckheimer is more of a chemist.

This weekend, Christopher Nolan is the real magician at the box office with "Inception." "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" shows Jerry Bruckheimer is more of a chemist.

The producer with a knack for dumbed-down movies with mass appeal mixes his standard formula here with heavy doses of effects, a simple "good vs. evil" story and ample one-liners. It makes a pretty flash, but it's oh so familiar.

Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan, an apprentice of Merlin looking for the next great sorcerer. And that might be the mousy Dave (Jay Baruchel).

Baruchel is fun, though he feels a lot like Shia LaBeouf in "Transformers." With Cage, you either love him or you hate him. Here, I hate.

There are lots of nifty effects, but the whole thing feels like a watered-down take on Harry Potter. No real magic here.