Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Reviews
The film is based around a magic toy store found in the big city of Manhattan. Owned by the avid shoe wearer, Mr. Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), and managed by the lovable Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), this emporium is the stuff dreams are made of. There are sock monkeys that hug you back, a door that with a turn of a wheel opens on different rooms filled with fun, walking dinosaur skeletons, paper airplanes that fly as if propelled by fuel and miniature pilots. The chemistry between Portman and Hoffman builds a father-daughter relationship that is easily relatable for an audience. It carries the film, and helps develop the story in a correct direction. The two friends are joined by another character, Eric (Zach Mills), the hat collector who is a young boy that is more likely to be found talking to animals than humans. He spends a good amount of his time at the toy store living in a world of magic. Harry (Jason Bateman) is an accountant (or mutant as Edward prefers) that is hired by Mr. Magorium to complete finances. He arrives and is immune to the magic of the store, missing the magic of the toy store and the relationships around him. Bateman adds an element of juxtaposition to the film the keeps you interested.
Molly is confused when Mr. Magorium welcomes Harry into the store to assist in getting all legalities under control before his "departure". She is concerned with this, considering she doesn't like the new accountant. Mr. Magorium informs Molly that he will be leaving soon, and when she asks where he is going, he tells her that after 243 years it's time to die and that he is leaving her his legacy. She doesn't quite understand what is happening, but she knows she doesn't like it. She was once a music prodigy when she was younger, being far more talented than any other young girl. People were convinced she would go far, however, she is still in the same place performing only for herself as she tries to finish her own song. From here, there are flying magic boxes, dancing on bubble wrap, glow stars in hospital beds, and much more magic. Molly finds herself on a journey to believe in herself, to find her "sparkle", to find her own magic. Portman is the star of this movie, she makes you love her, all the while you are learning valuable life lessons right along with her.
If there was to be one thing that doesn't appeal to all in the audience, it would be the idea that one day Mr. Magorium just "dies". Just as those in the film cannot enjoy the store if they don't believe, those in the audience will not appreciate this charming film if they too do not allow the themselves to see through a child's eyes; to see with their imagination.
"Your life is an occasion, rise to it." This is said by Mr. Magorium when he is explaining how his departure should be one of rejoice, not sadness. "I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I'm only asking that you turn the page, continue reading... and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "He died."
Magical moments fill the screen as you watch this film and woven into the words and the relationships is simplicity and truth, the kind that uncovers the real magic in life. Mr. Magorium and Molly remind us that magic is there, you must only be open to it.
I've lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I'm only asking that you turn the page, continue reading... and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "He died."
This film tried so very desperately to recapture the true meaning of the word "magic".....but alas not everything can be Harry Potter. I wondered if it was because I'm a bit more cynical and perhaps that's the reason I didn't appreciate the effort the film made; but in all honesty, why would it need that much effort- it either is, or isn't. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The whole film came across as disingenuous and overly sappy. Dustin Hoffman (Mr. Magorium) and Natalie Portman (Maggie Mahoney), albeit a pair of the most gifted actors in our lifetime, gave rather phony, wooden performances. Jason Bateman (Henry Weston, a.k.a. "Mutant") and Zac Mills (Eric Applebaum) had the most endearing story arc, far more charming than Mr. Magorium and Maggie's. Although, there was one honest moment in the film which felt real- and that was Mr. Magorium's speech about King Lear- that was actually moving. Overall, this movie didn't have the gravitas it could have, especially having the talented cast it did....it was a bit disappointing actually.