|“||Time for a little revenge.||„|
|~ Maxim Horvath|
Maxim Horvath is a stalwart evil wizard and the central antagonist of the 2010 Disney action fantasy film The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He was once one of Merlin's apprentices, but turned to the dark arts after his love interest favored his best friend, and became a follower of Morgana le Fay. He leads the Morganians and seeks to set Morgana free and help her unleash the magic curse known as The Rising.
He was portrayed by Alfred Molina, who also played Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, Satipo in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Johann Tetzel in Luther, Reverend Leland Drury in White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf, Lasombra in Hey Arnold!, Professor Jeffries in Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! and The Duke in Solar Opposites.
During the Arthurian era, Maxim Horvath was, along with Balthazar Blake, and Veronica Gorloisen, a disciple of Merlin. The aging sorcerer granted them eternal youth until they found and train his heir. For centuries, they assisted their master against his worst enemy, the dreaded Morgana le Fay. The three were at first very close, but their mutual love for Veronica eventually split Maxim and Balthazar apart. Maxim could not bear that Veronica chose Balthazar over him and turned to Morgana out of petty jealousy.
With Horvath's help, Morgana murdered Merlin and gained the secret of the most evil curse in existence: the Rising, which would raise every dead sorcerers from the grave under their control, as an army they could use to take over the entire world. Balthazar and Veronica confronted and defeated Morgana, but at a terrible price, for Veronica was forced to seal Morgana's soul within herself and Balthazar had to seal her into a magic nesting doll called The Grimhold, to save her from being possessed. Horvath then disappeared, spending the following centuries recruiting and forming evil sorcerers to aid in his search for the Grimhold.
Horvath and Balthazar battled throughout the ages, with Balthazar trapping several of Horvath's agents into the Grimhold, finally bringing their conflict to modern-day Manhattan. It is implied that he defeated many more of Horvath's agents in more classical ways, only sealing the most powerful of them.
Balthazar is now leader of the Merlineans: wizards who use magic for the benefit of mankind; while Horvath is the leader of the Morganians, who use magic as a mean to subjugate humans. This conflict lasted until Balthazar defeated Horvath and sealed him away in the Grimhold in his turn (The novelization reveals that Horvath got trapped during the 1920s).
In the year 2000 somewhere about 80 years after his defeat in the hands of Balthazar, a 10-year-old boy named Dave Stutler ventured into Balthazar's antique shop, the Arcana Cabana, and was recognized by Merlin's magic Dragon Ring as none other than the fabled Prime Merlinean: Merlin's descendant who is to inherit all of his powers and defeat Morgana once and for all. Unfamiliar with his newfound power, Dave accidentally stumbled upon the Grimhold and freed Horvath. Balthazar battled his old enemy once again, and after a violent struggle the two got stuck in a magic urn called The Grimlock.
Ten years later, Dave is a physics student traumatized by the battle who grew up target to much ridicule, since none believed him after the magic disappeared with both sorcerers. As Dave is spending time with Becky Barnes, a female music student he loves since his childhood, the two sorcerers are finally freed. Horvath escapes first and throws the Grimlock through the window, but Balthazar escapes before the urn shatters dozens of stories below.
Horvath sneaks into Dave's flat and demands the Grimhold, but Dave threw it away. As Dave escapes, he brings to life a pack of wolves from a calendar's picture and sends them after him. Dave only owes his life to Balthazar, who turns the wolves into puppies and takes him away on one of the Chrysler Building's giant steel eagle statues, which he animated. He then starts training Dave in basic form of sorcery, much to his student's dismay.
On his track of the Grimhold, Horvath casually attacks a passer-by's car whe using used a form of clairvoyance magic to track down the Grimhold, finding out that it was taken by a Chinese woman. Knowing this, he goes to Chinatown during a celebration, but Dave and Balthazar are on their way as well. Horvath transforms into an old Chinese shop-keeping lady (probably the one who took the Grimhold and whom he murdered) to ambush Balthazar, but he sees through the disguise.
Unfortunately, Horvath found the Grimhold and released his old apprentice named Sun Lok, who turns the parade dragon into a real one. Balthazar subdues his old foe and takes away the Grimhold, while Dave succeeds in defeating the Dragon, crushing Sun Lok under its weight. They take shelter into Dave's laboratory, but not before Horvath witnesses Dave's spellcasting.
Recruiting Drake Stone
Through suggestion of a mysterious fry cook who follows Morganians, Horvath recruits the foolish illusionist Drake Stone as his apprentice and sends him after Dave. Both sorcerers attack Dave in New York University's bathroom, but Balthazar once again saves his disciple, trapping Horvath in a Hungarian Mirror Trap. Once freed by Drake, Horvath compels the school's clerk into telling him Dave's whereabouts.
Drake transforms into Dave to take Balthazar by surprise and subdues him, and Horvath casts a fog spell to locate the Grimhold, which Balthazar turned invisible. Balthazar frees himself and engages a fight, getting nearly killed by Horvath's daggers, but Dave barges him and saves him at the last second. Horvath and Drake escape in Drake's car, with Dave and Balthazar in hot pursuit.
During the ensuing car race, Horvath transforms his car following his needs (stealth or speed) before trapping them into a Hungarian Mirror Trap of his own and destroying all the mirrors through which they could exit, but they escape through a shard before it shatters; so he turns his car into a truck to crush their own, before temporarily shape-shifting a woman into Veronica to distract Balthazar and flee.
Setting the Trap
Back at Drake's lavish condo, Horvath uses the Parasite Spell to drain his now useless apprentice's life-force, taking his enchanted skull ring as well, and uses them to free the legendary witch Abigail Williams from the Grimhold. He sends her capture Becky Barnes and steals her life-force and her own pendant amulet as well after she succeeds.
When Dave and Balthazar venture in to settle the score, they find the plans he drawn for casting the Rising, but Balthazar gets trapped by a Persian Quickrug. With Horvath holding Becky hostage and Balthazar too busy to save himself from the quickrug, Dave has no choice but to relinquish his Dragon Ring. Horvath then scares both Dave and Becky with a stray plasma bolt before leaving satisfied.
The Final Battle
Horvath goes to Battery Park, at the centre of the buildings he chose for the pentagram formation needed for the Rising ritual. He uses his newly-empowered magic cane to break open the Grimhold one last time as he frees Morgana, who is fully possessing Veronica, and Balthazar resolves to face them alone. Morgana orders Horvath to destroy the Grimhold and starts casting the Rising, but they are stopped by Balthazar who engages a decisive duel against his old foe. Alas, he is no longer a match for Horvath, who wields now Drake's Ring, Abigail's Pendant and the Dragon Ring, all placed on Horvath's Cane.
Horvath animates a nearby Charging Bull statue to kill Balthazar. Fortunately, Dave comes to the rescue in Balthazar's car, on which he installed a makeshift Tesla coil (his expert subject in physics), knowing that all the Talismans Horvath put on his cane would make it a better conductor. Before Horvath can attack, he gets zapped by the coils’ discharge and blasted away by Balthazar, while the giant eagle statue flies off with the bull statue.
Just as the ceremony starts, rising dead sorcerers from the grave began to manifest physically all over the world, Becky (who was told about magic and Morganians and insisted on helping Dave) succeeds in disabling the satellite dish on top of one of the buildings, disrupting the energy flow and dispelling the Rising. With Morgana knocked out by the backlash, Balthazar attempts to absorb her soul to free Veronica, but Morgana briefly possesses him and escapes as a spirit.
With both Veronica and Balthazar recovering from the possession, Morgana attempts to kill them with a tremendous onslaught of fire, but Dave rushes to shield them and conjures a huge magic shield-like screen without his ring, awakening as the Prime Merlinean. Morgana then blasts them all with very powerful Plasma Bolts, grievously wounding Balthazar.
Enraged, Dave retaliates with equally powerful bolts, however, being a spirit, she makes them pass through her. She unleashes a tremendous barrage he can barely block and seemingly gains the upper-hand. Still, it turns out that one of Dave spells, which only looked like a Plasma Bolt, animated a janitor's mop to activate the high-voltage cabin, turning the surrounding lamps into another makeshift Tesla coil. Morgana is then zapped and turned solid by all the electric power in the district, enabling Dave to blast her into oblivion and destroy her once and for all.
Immediately after, Dave heals Balthazar, who can now reopen the Arcana Cabana and live his remaining time with Veronica, while Dave and Becky fly away on the eagle statue across the Atlantic Ocean to take breakfast in Paris.
Horvath's current whereabouts are not known, though the film's stinger shows an unidentified figure of a man with a cane, heavily implied to be him, retrieving his hat from the Arcana Cabana (this was meant to tease for a possible sequel, which was never made).
Maxim Horvath is a short and portly man with dark hair and brown eyes, sporting a trimmed mustache and a goatee. In the middle ages, he was much thinner and fitter, and wore his hair at shoulder length. He is very elegant, wearing expensive grey coats, sometimes with a large fur collar, a black suit, a tie with a spider jewel on it, black rubber gloves, and a bowler hat.
Horvath's most prized possession is a long black staff-like cane with a blue crystal that glows whenever he channels his magic. (Originally, the cane was a long, medieval sword with the same, blue crystals on its pommel, which he had transformed into a cane, presumably to suit modern era and to avoid unwanted attention.)
Personality and Traits
Maxim Horvath is a suave, sophisticated, well-mannered, well-read and erudite man, always impeccably collected, dignified and courteous, even when about to kill someone. He never ever raises his voice or expresses stronger emotion than irritation. He is witty, sarcastic, and manipulative, with a strong sense of dry, dark humor.
Yet, this refined facade hardly veils his cruelty. He is intensely cold-hearted, remorseless and power-hungry; only caring about himself and disposing of his followers without batting an eyelid the second he stops needing them. He is horribly jealous, insensitive, bitter, petty, and self-centered, betraying the people that were closest to him in a heartbeat and being willing to endanger the entire world, just because he could not get over a heartbreak. When Balthazar attempts to talk him out of it, he reacts with scathing, spiteful contempt, hinting that in his twisted point of view he considers Balthazar and Veronica to blame.
Horvath is cautious, observant, perceptive, and clever, being familiar with both magic tricks and how his foes work, and knowing how to use it to further his goals. He likes disparaging his foes and rubbing his success to their faces in an almost playful tone, and seems to enjoy trading quips. But at the same time, he cannot stand when things do not get in his way and shows little tolerance for his apprentices' antics, dismissing and belittling them at every opportunity. Though he teaches them well and praises their successes, making them very skilled and dangerous sorcerers, he does so because he only needs them as powerful assets.
However, he does have (or had) strong feelings of love for Veronica, and retains a grudging respect for Balthazar. Even when fighting his former friend to the death, he still converses with him like an old acquaintance and fully acknowledges his merits. Moreover, the only time he displayed genuine grief is when he saw Veronica fully possessed by Morgana. Also, as long as he gets what he wants, he holds his parts of bargains and leaves his foes alive (when he has no interest in killing them, that is).
Powers and Abilities
As one of Merlin's apprentices, Maxim Horvath is a sorcerer of the 777th degree, with centuries of experience and practice. This makes him highly powerful and skilled, expert in altering his surroundings and toying with the laws of physics to suit his needs. Horvath, Balthazar and Veronica are equals, and second only to Merlin and Morgana themselves, the mightiest sorcerers to ever live.
Like all sorcerers except from Merlin, his successor and Morgana, he needs a Magic Catalyst to channel his power; in his case his sword turned cane. Without it he is completely powerless. In addition, he is a highly skilled swordsman, as evidenced when he remotely controls a sword, who can use his cane as a blunt weapon with great proficiency and always keeps daggers with him to throw with his magic. And despite his unassuming appearance, he can hold his own very well in a purely physical brawl.
In the climax, he steals Merlin's Dragon Ring from the primary protagonist Dave Stutler, and steals the catalysts of both his followers, attaching them all to his cane, becoming extremely powerful in the process. With that, he was able to effortlessly defeat Balthazar himself, but vulnerable to electric currents.
Here is a list of the spells Horvath was seen casting throughout the story:
- Mental Spells: Horvath displays exceptional proficiency in mental magic such as:
- Telekinesis: Horvath can perform high-level telekinesis on objects or persons, without any gesture, to either crush people against walls or make things fly and remotely control them like a marionette. He can even move only small part of an object, like when he uses the metallic railings around a huge fan to ensnare Balthazar.
- Hypnotism: Horvath can make suggestions on someone's subconscious, and influence his thoughts and behavior, to the point of compelling them do whatever he wants or to command animals.
- Psychic Vision: Horvath can perceive the residual information of an object and/or person to have visions of past events that occurred in their vicinity.
- Illusions: Horvath is also able to induce illusions to blur people's vision and confuse them.
- Astral Projection: An ability exclusive to the videogame, which only Balthazar is seen using (though Horvath doubtless can), that enables the caster to send their spirit somewhere, even in other Planes of Existence.
- Enchantment Spells: Horvath is expert in bewitching things and people in various ways:
- Animation Spell: Horvath can bring statues and other objects to life and make them act like sapient animals acting independently, though doing his biddings. Even worst, he can bring drawings and pictures to life, turning them into living specimen of what they represent. In the videogame, he can even create monsters wielding magic energy from mundane things, ranging from junk and hoodies to trees and machines.
- Transformation Spells: Horvath masters shape-shifting magic and can use it to transform himself or other people into someone or something else, either for disguise or fooling his foes. Balthazar once mentions that he could turn Dave into a pig, but he is never seen doing so, though he obviously can. He can also reshape objects as he pleases, changing the brand of a car and turning it into a taxi or a huge truck.
- Ectoplasm Trap: With this powerful spell, Horvath can conjure ectoplasmic energy looking like a transparent, liquid fluid engulfing its target, be it people and even speeding trains, and considerably reduce their speed as if time was slowed down around them for about a minute.
- Hungarian Mirror Trap: Horvath can bewitch mirrors and reflective surfaces to lock someone into a reverse world, limited by what they reflect and only escapable through another mirror or with external help. Balthazar mentions that if the target does not escape quickly enough they might get trapped forever or even die.
- Persian Quickrug: Horvath can enchant rugs to make them like actual quicksand, that trap and swallow all that stand on it. It apparently only activates when someone steps on it.
- Replication Spell: A powerful, videogame exclusive spell used by Horvath's apprentice Drake Stone, that conjures a clone of the caster linked to them, which can act independently.
- Disperse Spell: A magic dispersion that dispels all nearby magic and returns bewitched things to normal. Horvath is never seen using it but there is no doubt that he can.
- Elemental Magic: Horvath masters various element-based spells; to blast targets with potent gusts of wind, to catch (and send back) things in a Vacuum Sphere, to conjure fog, to freeze things, to conjure, shape and carve earth, and even hurl sand blasts, raining rocks or lightning bolts from the sky. He is mostly adept with Fire Magic, and displays the abilities to cause spontaneous combustion, to conjure fire, to seize flames in his hand, and to hurl fireballs and fire streams akin to a flamethrower, or to raise walls of fire from his conjured flame or from an already existing source. He can also focus heat to draw burning symbols on walls or smaller things.
- Parasite Spell: A very dangerous curse, used to absorb people’s life-force, usually to lethal effect.
- Batle Magic: A sorcerer of Horvath's level is of course considerably adept in magic-based duels:
- Plasma Bolts: A basic attack spell that fires softball-sized orbs of blue energy. Expert fighters can fire many of them in quick succession, bigger and deadlier ones, and a fast-paced barrage of highly potent Bolts.
- Plasma Deflection: A much mightier variation of the Plasma Bolt that unleashes a wide, bluish shockwave, violently pushing away anything in his path and deflecting back normal projectiles or blasts of magic.
- Magic Shield: Horvath can conjure shields of blue energy to counter any attack coming his way.
- Outcast: A highly powerful spell exclusive to the videogame, which hurls three blue homing spheres, banishing their target into a magic gate towards another dimension.
Maxim Horvath appears as the central villain and the fifth boss of the Nintendo DS videogame adaptation. The game follows the movie’s plot, but with some notable differences. Dave visits the Arcana Cabana and frees Horvath as an adult, with Horvath banishing Balthazar to the Magical Dimension and departing with the Grimhold. From then on, Balthazar casts an astral projection to guide Dave in his quest to learn magic and stop Horvath once and for all.
Guided by Balthazar, who is using his magic to locate Horvath and the Grimhold, Dave must track down the evil Morganian in five of New York's districts, learning magic along the way; overcoming bewitched obstacles and facing all sorts of things turned into monsters by Horvath, who are wreaking widespread havoc everywhere. In each district, Dave has to learn a specific field of magic, and to battle against Morganian sorcerer whom Horvath released from the Grimhold (or recruited in Drake's case), who is an expert of it:
In Chinatown District, he learns Elemental Magic and battles Sun Lok; in the University District, he learns Transformation Magic and battles Drake Stone; in Downtown District, he learns Matter Magic and battles Marrok (a gangster sorcerer exclusive to the game); in Broadway District he learns Love Magic and battles Abigail Williams; in Uptown District, he learns Time and Space Magic and battles Horvath himself; and in Central Park District, he battles learns Forbidden Magic and battles Morgana in person.
- Sun Lok levitates and fires green and orange bolts, and later infuses one part of the Yin-Yang symbol on the ground with energy, forcing Dave to get away. He is vulnerable when he stops moving.
- Drake Stone teleports and summons monsters, then fires purple blasting bolts while taking cover, and then creates two doubles of himself firing yellow bolts and purple bolts. Dave must destroy his monsters and doubles before targeting him.
- Marrok uses magic to increase his strength and speed, causing shockwaves with his blows and conjuring explosive yellow bolts from the ground. He later creates a golem to fight for him that must be destroyed. His magic shield disappears when he attacks.
- Abigail Williams must be targeted when she fires three black bolts, and is vulnerable to Matter Magic. She then starts conjuring monsters and conjuring red bolts that blast Dave when he comes near. It is best to use magical shields forged from Love Magic against her attacks.
Whenever Dave defeats a Morganian, Horvath appears to kill them with the Parasite Spell and take their Magic Catalyst, before teleporting away. The first time, he commends Dave's skill but dismisses him, though he later identifies him as the Prime Merlinean and has his monsters focus on him. Horvath has his followers open gates to the magical dimension (each linked to their magic domain), to flood the area with Mana (magic energy) and use it as a power source.
Horvath uses the power of his 4 disciples to cloak the Grimhold from Balthazar’s detection, but fortunately, Balthazar manages to sense a Space-Time disruption caused by his old foe, who intends to use his hordes of monsters to prevent anyone from interfering while he frees Morgana Le Fay. Dave rushes to Uptown Broadway District, learning Time-Space Magic in order to face Horvath.
Maxim Horvath is a very powerful and dangerous boss, who teleports and fires purple bolts, and later conjures explosive white orbs that considerably slow down Dave if he comes too close. He later summons monsters that must be dealt with. When defeated, Horvath sacrifices himself to open a gate to the Forbidden Domain to empower Morgana and enables her to cast the Rising. Dave rushes to Central Park District where a medieval castle emerged as Morgana le Fay activates the ceremony of The Rising and learns Forbidden Magic, to settle the score once and for all. Morgana is fought in Battery Park. She senses Dave’s presence but mistakes him for a shape-shifted Horvath. Dave states that he is the Prime Merlinean, but the evil sorceress is not impressed and attacks him.
With Morgana le Fay defeated and sealed back into the Grimhold, Dave Stutler returns Balthazar Blake from the magical dimension and the two Merlineans celebrate their victory. However, it is revealed that Horvath survived his nearly fatal spell thanks to the power he stole from his recruits, mirroring his hinted survival in the movie.
- Like other characters in the film, Maxim Horvath undergoes several changes over the course of screenwriting. In the early draft of the film, instead of a centuries-old former Merlinean, Horvath was the leader of the Morganians of the 20th Century. Not only that, but Horvath was stated to be previous Prime Merlinean before Dave as well as former master of Balthazar (who was originally intended to be a former Morganian assassin and apprentice).
- Also, Horvath has an established civilian identity as the wealthy chairman of Horvath Global Insurance Group and had resources as a Morganian sorcerer, which explained with his own collection of occult textbooks. His catalyst of choice also stated to be a skull ring (similar to the one worn by Drake Stone) that had glowing red eyes, unlike the magic staff in the final film. By the end of the script, he and the rest of unleashed Morganians were sealed inside the Grimhold that kept within the second Arcana Cabana shop.
- Major difference between Horvath's portrayal in early draft and in final film was his relationships with some characters: Early draft of the film showed that he was not as selfish as his portrayal in final film as he never disposed his own allies nor steal other sorcerers' rings (the only exception was when he stole Dave's Dragon Ring that required to unlock the final layer of Grimhold and that ring eventually returned to Dave in the end). He was also already enemies with Veronica from the beginning instead of former love interests.
- In the film's prologue where Maxim Horvath was introduced through his Encantus depiction, he is shown to hold vials of potions, suggesting some skills in potion brewing and in greater extent, alchemy. Yet as he never shown demonstrating such skills on-screen, the extent of aforementioned abilities is never revealed.
- The bull statue animated by Maxim Horvath, is based the real-life Charging Bull statue in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street in Manhattan, New York.
- Though he was intended to be British, "Maxim" is a Russian given name and "Horvath" (Horváth) is a Hungarian surname.