Tonight I watched Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporiumwith bf and my brother. It was really cosy with the fire going and hot, buttery popcorn, and the perfect movie to go with it. It was promising from the beginning, starring one of my favourite actresses (Natalie Portman) and a sort of kids-movie-for-grownups with a quirky name premise. I love movies with a bit of spunk, fun randomness and quirky dialogue. The Emporium itself had all the “fun randomness” you could wish from Mortimer the zebra, to the Door of Rooms (which reminded me of a similar door in the film Howl’s Moving Castle), and Belini in the basement.
The character of Mr. Magorium was played by Dustin Hoffman, who, although he immediately reminded me of his character in Hook, was completely charming and appealing as the eccentric owner of the magical toy shop. I really liked his bushy eyebrows. He had so many great lines in the movie and I think his appeal came from the fact that he wasn’t just kooky or insane like other characters in children’s films, or a little creepy like Willy Wonka, but he did still have the mysterious magic quality.
This movie is about Mr. Magorium wanting to leave, and deciding to leave Mahoney, his assistant in charge – which upsets her and the magical store, which throws and tantrum and then sulks.
Natalie Portman is (of course) great in the role of Mahoney. Looking fresh and very believable (one thing I love about Natalie’s beauty is the way she can make it seem really real, not just like fake hollywood glamour) as the young assistant (with a cute short haircut – fresh from V for Vendetta?), she is great as the girl who believes in magic, but not in herself.
Another cute character is Eric, a sort of 9 year old outcast who other kids think is “weird”, and who wears a different hat every day.
Mahoney: Mr. Magorium, I asked the Big Book for a lollipop and I got a lemur!
Mr. Magorium: A lemur? We don’t even carry lemurs! I’m not even sure I know what a lemur is!
Other little details helped to make it a special movie. The story is told by Eric in chapters, each with a cute, funny, or ironic name. At the end the credits are arranged with titles like “People who made other people look good”, “People who put things in the right order”.
I really enjoyed this movie and would watch it again, perhaps it would be fun to watch with a kid and see how much they liked it.
Director: Zach Helm
Starring: Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman, Zach Mills, Jason Bateman