Thursday, April 3, 2008
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
I really wanted to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium when it came out in theaters, but alas, I missed it. I love Natalie Portman, and I'm definitely a kid at heart. I finally caught it on DVD this weekend, and liked it as much as I thought I would. It's a story about believing in yourself and magic. Dustin Hoffman is Mr. Magorium and owns a magical toy store. He's 243 years old and has owned the magical toy store for over 100 years. Of course, no one believes him when he says these things, but they're still true. He brings in an accountant, Jason Bateman, to determine the value of the store as he's leaving it to Portman, his store manager, in his will. They reason that an accountant must be a cross between a "counter" and a "mutant" so they call him "Mutant" throughout. He's a logical kind of guy and couldn't be more out of place in the Emporium. When the accountant is explaining that a guy can't be the king of a planet that doesn't exist, Mr. Magorium says, "You can't blame people for having aspirations." This sort of conflict goes on between The Mutant and Portman and Hoffman until he meets the little boy, Eric, who haunts the store because he has no friends. Eric and the Mutant become friends, unlocking the part of each other that couldn't imagine a magical story and the ability to make friends. Hoffman is terrific - with glimpses of his Tootsie personality behind the magical insanity and the occasional Rain Main moment when he's wondering about The Mutant's logical questions. But overall, he stays in control with the acting, and has moments of great humor and tenderness. When Portman wants to ensure he's sticking around and that she can't run the store because she's not magical, he reminds her, "Your life is an occasion, rise to it." The movie is full of lots of fun special effects, uncomplicated stories, and the belief in magic in ordinary situations. I loved it. 4.5 of 5 stars, and great for the entire family!
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