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Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Zach Helm

Written By:
Zach Helm

Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman, Dustin Hoffman, Marcia Bennett, Philippe Bergeron, Jonathan Potts, Ted Ludzik, Erica Jones, Zach Mills, Beatriz Yuste, Jennessa Rose, Paula Boudreau, David Rendall, Rebecca Northan, Jade Cohen, Matt Baram, Dash Grundy, Oliver Masuda, Jesse Bostick, Samantha Harvey, Brea Maloney, Daniella Tokic

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
November 20th, 2007

Mr Magorium is a lot like Willy Wonka, but his Wonder Emporium, unlike Wonka's Candy Factory, is not full of creepy orange midgets and strange and cruel punishments for bad children. Magorium (Hoffman) instead has not apparently encountered anybody like Veruca Salt. He is more than two centuries old, and has run a truly magical toy shop, brought to vivid life with bright colors and special effects, the centerpiece of this charming family-oriented fantasy, along with Magorium himself, who looks like an elf, and is played by Hoffman with a distinct personality, eccentric yet lovable, wise in his old age, and yet more than a bit daffy, totally committed to his work and bringing joy to kids, who are, even more than we, in awe of his impressively vast inventory of virtually everything they could possibly want, or could wish for under the Christmas tree. There is nothing that seems to bother Magorium, even his death, which is long overdue, at least in his mind, and he has already cultivated a successor, his employee, Molly (Portman), who is not a very good pick, since she lacks self-confidence and believes that she simply cannot handle a responsibility of this magnitude. Magorium will settle for no one else, though.

Zach Mills is Eric, a boy who always seems to be around Magorium's store, which I suppose would always be packed with many others like him, if such a place really existed. Jason Bateman is Henry Weston, who shows up essentially to audit Magorium's business, to peruse his financial records, which have not really been updated for a while, as Magorium predates modern tax laws, and has little understanding of the outside human world, which is something Molly is constantly aware of, but Weston is not a particularly nasty villain, if he is a villain at all, but he is a very disposable character nonetheless, like Molly, and both are here simply to provide additional plot threads, and they are distracting, primarily because they divert our attention away from the two most interesting and worthwhile things in the movie, Magorium and his Emporium.

The film lacks the sheer imagination of the original Willy Wonka, but is still quite unique, with its own striking visual flourishes that make it potentially enchanting to younger viewers, though not so much to their parents, but I can say most adults would find this entertaining enough to sit through with few complaints. Now, what is the secret to Magorium's longevity? It isn't immortality, and probably not an organic diet. Maybe that is to be left a mystery, much like the secrets of Willy Wonka, whom we found it out in the end was a pretty nice guy. But there is little doubt that Magorium is more cheerful and generally less bizarre throughout.

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Nov 20, 2007 2:44 AM
also wrote a review of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
I liked that part of Bateman's take on the character the best. That he didn't play him as a villain that needed to find redemption. Like Eric mentions, not being mean to the mutant because he's only trying to do the only thing that he knows how. Unlike the angle with Kevin Spacey's dickhead character in FRED CLAUS. I think Bateman got it very right.

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