I took the twins to see Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium this weekend, after all it’s the only G-rated movie out this season. It was a nice simple family-friendly movie.
The store itself is the real star. The kind of toy store we all wished for as kids, the emporium is alive with magic that delights children of all ages. I think my favorite thing in the store was the Big Book. You just asked the book for what you wanted and if the store had it, it would appear. If only I could have one of those books to organize my house, life would be so much easier. The magical door was pretty cool too. Turn the dial to select which room you wanted and it would be there when you opened the door. What a cool way to expand your house when space is an issue?
But if the store is alive then it has feelings too. And we see those feelings come out when the store loses its owner.
The emporium is owned by the eccentric Mr. Magorium, delightfully portrayed by Dustin Hoffman. A self-proclaimed toy impresario, magic aficionado and avid shoe wearer, Magorium, at the ripe old age of 243, has lived a full life. And now that he has worn through his last pair of his favorite shoes, Magorium has decided it’s time for him to go.
He wants to leave the emporium to Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). Mahoney loves the emporium and has managed it for years embracing the magic that it holds. But believing in magic is not Mahoney’s problem. Mahoney lacks faith in herself. Faith she needs to complete her first composition. Once a child musical phenomenon, Mahoney hasn’t yet lived up to her potential.
But Magorium has plenty of faith in Mahoney to take over the store. But first his must get the store’s paperwork in order so he hires Henry Weston (Jason Bateman), an accountant to settle his affairs. As unconventional as they come, Mr. Magorium refers to Henry as mutant since his definition of accountant is a counting mutant. Unbothered by this nickname, Henry is all business. He has no time for pretend or anything else associated with the store except its paperwork.
And then there’s the hat collector. Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills) is nine years old. He has very few friends and spends all his spare time at the emporium. But this kid is a believer, a true whiz with the toys and the only one who truly seems to “get” Mr. Magorium.
Now when Mahony and the emporium find out about Magorium’s plans, neither are willing to accept his decision gracefully.
I truly enjoyed the movie, but was not wowed by it. And when the emporium goes gray, the twins lost interest quickly. The story itself flows well at that point, but there just wasn’t much here to capture the little ones attention.
The story itself seems a little confused as to who it is really about — the enigmatic Magorium, the timid Mahoney, the non-believer Henry or the delightful Eric. Personally, I was expecting more about Eric’s story since he seems to be Magorium’s true prodigy, even a younger version of Magorium himself.
Overall, Mr. Magorium’s is a nice sweet simple tale. Nothing spectacular, but a cute movie nonetheless. If you go in with these expectations, you’ll be fine.
At the end one twin was applauding and was was ready to go so I’d say they gave it one thumb up and one thumb down.