MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Dustin Hoffman as MR. EDWARD MAGORIUM
Natalie Portman as MOLLY MAHONEY
Zach Mills as ERIC APPLEBAUM
Jason Bateman as HENRY WESTON
Developed by: Zach Helm
BY KEVIN CARR
One of the shames about this past holiday season, in terms of movies, was that “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” seemed to be completely lost on audiences. At the same time, it was a travesty that “Fred Claus” faced such relative success.
Sadly, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” was by far a better film, and it was a treat to watch. It wasn’t perfect, but so few films are. The movie tells the story of a magical toy store owned by a 244-year-old man named Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman). He’s got his friends, but he also sees that they need a push to move on in this world. Mr. Magorium decides to move on himself, out of this plane of existence, and give them their freedom to be everything they can be.
Too often with films aimed at a family audience, the filmmakers try to be too simple or too heavy. Even though “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” deals with some heavy issues like death, it remains a very straightforward film. Yet, even beneath that, there is more to take away from the film if you watch it on a deeper level.
“Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” isn’t as out there as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and it doesn’t rely on big awesome explosions and CGI to propel the story. Rather, it’s a movie about relationships – between Mr. Magorium and his protege Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), as well as the nine-year-old loner Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills) helping the “counting mutant” (Jason Bateman) find his childhood again.
The key to this film is to see it with the mind of a child. Don’t look for the big message, but don’t just look for the cute things. Enjoy it for what it is and dare to be wrapped up in the story and characters.
The DVD comes with several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including an overall making-of video, and spotlights on the characters, the toy store and the fun and jokes that happened on set.