Ten-year old Dave Stutler's ordinary day takes a turn for the weird when, during a class field trip, a note to him written by the girl he likes, Becky, blows away on a breeze (before being picked up by a dog, a cyclist's tire, etc.). Dave chases the note, which inexplicably travels all the way to a strange shop called Arcana Cabana, where it gets sucked through the mail slot. Inside the shop, Dave finds himself face-to-face with master sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), who has been searching for the Prime Merlinean (Merlin's successor) for millennia. Merlin's dragon ring binds itself to Dave's finger, meaning that Balthazar's long search is finally over; but when Balthazar goes downstairs to retrieve the master spellbook that Dave will need for his training, Dave accidentally knocks over the Grimhold; a nesting doll which imprisons, layer upon layer, evil sorcerers who follow Morgana le Fey, Balthazar's most formidable enemy of all, who is imprisoned in the very first (bottom) layer of the doll. The Grimhold's topmost layer cracks and releases Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina), who, along with Balthazar and a third sorcerer called Veronica, were once Merlin's trusted proteges. Balthazar and Horvath magically battle in the shop, frightening Dave out of his wits. Balthazar succeeds in imprisoning Horvath in a large ceramic vase that will hold him for 10 years, but unfortunately, Balthazar is imprisoned as well. Dave escapes from the shop, throws the Grimhold into the street, and tries to forget everything he's just seen.
Fast-forward ten years, and Dave (Jay Baruchel) is now a 20-year old self-proclaimed physics nerd who gives lectures at the downtown NYU campus and has a huge lab off-campus where he experiments with Tesla coils. One day, Dave discovers Becky in his lecture audience and re-introduces himself to her. Unbeknownst to Dave, however, the 10-year limit on the vase is up, and now Horvath wants the Grimhold - and Dave was the last person he saw holding it.
This movie has a PG rating for "fantasy action violence, mild rude humour, and brief language." My 11-year old loved the movie (as did I) and I didn't have a problem with anything in it; other parents will have to use their own judgement.
I can't wait for the DVD; it looks like it will be released before Christmas!