Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Dustin Huffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman. Family fantasy comedy drama. Written & directed by Zach Helm.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the strangest magic toy store in the world. For one thing, everything in it comes to life - including the store itself. The Emporium only asks one thing of its customers: you must believe it to see it. As the fantastical Mr. Magorium decides its time to move on (and by that I mean its time to go to Heaven) he wants to give his magical store to his devoted employee. But she feels inadequate to take his place. And now theres this little friendless boy and an overworked tax consultant. Lessons must be learned. And Mr. Magorium will leave them with a great lesson, a great gift: Your life is an occasion, rise to it.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The obvious comparison would be Willie Wonka and his chocolate factory. But that film was much darker. This one, though it deals with the passing of the aged Mr. Magorium, mixes whimsy with an underlying melancholy that gives the film dimension. Its an allegory, reminding viewers of the need to believe in ourselves. Whats more, the parable deepens, telling us that magic can be found all around and warning not to overlook those wonders. As Auntie Mame once told moviegoers, Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Alas, like Willie Wonkas universe, this one seems unwilling to pay homage to the biblical Creator. For instance, when one character says Magorium is going to Heaven, Mr. Magorium is quick to call Heaven by different New Age names. I wouldnt be looking for a specific acknowledgement of the true Creator in this film, but I think children can identify with the lonely boy who wants to express himself as an individual, yet be loved by others. And adults can be reminded by the film of the wondrous journey we are on.

Heres how it affected me. Theres a tree just outside my office window. And right now it is ablaze with Falls glory. Each leaf is a mix of translucent gold and vivid red. The tree is perfectly shaped as if it belonged outside Snow Whites cottage. The movie has reminded me to be cognizant of that tree. It really is something. It stands there proud, aware that its doing its job well. Im thankful to God for that tree and later today, Im going to spend a few minutes with it. No, I havent gone goofy, its just that while the TV networks and Bill OReilly are constantly telling of travesties by and to mankind, nature is reminding us that despite our folly, God is in control, and that one day all will be well.

Thats not a bad moral to learn from a family-aimed movie.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Fox/Walden

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None, though the store, which seems to have a life of its own, begins to turn gray, angry that Mr. Magorium is going away. Mr. Magorium dies, but it is handled discretely. That said, a parent should be there to reassure little ones.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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