Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) Poster

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10/10
faNtastIc on sCreen chemIstRy
Mr Lambert23 September 2013
Let's get something straight. This - Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium - is my realm. Some guys make movies, but not me. No! I am the one who watches. Upon recently viewing this movie upwards of 250 times in the past month, I can say this is a 100 percent perfect film that will not make you blue, but rather cheer you up even if you are cold and alone. Though I wish I could watch this with my family, I know that is unlikely even if I take full measures. Alright, let's talk about Mr. Edward Magorium. He was a good man and a good toy store owner. He didn't deserve what happened to him. He didn't deserve it at all. But I'd watch him again and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. When you make it Edward versus Bellini, or Edward versus Molly, Edward loses! Simple as that. This is on Mr. Magorium, not Eric, not Molly. I mean really, what'd you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and not watch this on repeat? That I wouldn't take the time – extreme amounts of time – to watch this myself? Wrong! Think again.

If you don't agree with me, then I'm sorry you feel that way - but know this: If you've already read this far, I won.

Tread lightly, Mr Lambert
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10/10
The only review you need to read
kickboxgrrl7 March 2008
I am amazed by the unbelievably DENSE comments and reviews I've read, apparently written by folks who have completely missed the point. These people did not have the courage for 90 short minutes to suspend their cynicism, disbelief, and cowardly need for proof or substantiation of every little thing. (Big ol' raspberry to them!)

A kid's movie? "Just" for children? Heck no. Rather, this movie is "just" for those, regardless of physical age, who have been fortunate enough to retain any portion of their own childlike -- notice, I did not say childISH -- appreciation and pure unclouded understanding of wonder, simplicity, love, and of magic found in the everyday.

If your heart was not touched, even in some intangible microscopic way, by this movie - are you sure you still have one?
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7/10
MOMS: Great movie, but toddlers and husbands will be bored
DaynaSu19 November 2007
My husband and I brought our 4 year old daughter to see this movie last night. We'd already seen (and ADORED) THE BEE MOVIE, and nothing else seemed age appropriate. Despite horrible reviews, we gave it a shot.

I loved this movie. It's not often that a kid's movie can move me to tears, but this one had a powerful (yet simple) message...LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.

My daughter was bored to the point of BEGGING us to leave. This from a kid who sees movie-going as the ultimate treat. While it was visually stimulating overall, there could have been more in the way of special effects.

Jason Bateman was surprisingly good in his role as the accounting mutant. Some of the most moving moments in the film were created by little more than the expression on his face.

Natalie Portman was radiant and lovable and...androgynous? ;) She could easily have been mistaken for a thirteen year old boy throughout most of the film, to the point where it seemed that she had her chest bound up to appear that way. But it's not about the boobies, and it's not a romantic love story, which I greatly appreciated.

No sex. No violence. No profanity. My husband hated it.

There is love...lots of love. Pure love. The kind of love you feel when you're a child, and your mind has not yet been bogged down with the soul-crushing stress of adult responsibility.

This movie is a nice kick-in-the-pants for anybody who needs to be reminded that you don't have to be a kid to see the potential in yourself and the world around you. You just have to relax a little and believe in magic.
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9/10
Really enjoyed this movie!
archangel102217 November 2007
I took my family to watch this movie, and really enjoyed it! My three year old was captivated throughout the movie as was my 10 year old daughter. I thought Justin Bateman did a great job with his character and the Special effects were top notch. Of course the story was fantastical, but I go to see these movies to escape reality for awhile, and this is a great one to share with the family. I had read some negative reviews prior to seeing the movie, but I decided to see it for myself. After seeing the movie, I feel that some of the previous reviews I read were unfair and in some cases a little mean spirited and thus not really helpful. Lastly, while watching the movie, I noted that many people were laughing and making joyful comments at some of the details they were noticing, and, the audience applauded at the end.
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9/10
An Actual Kid's Movie
Spaxtersback18 November 2007
I'm not sure I've quite seen anything like it in about two decades... an actual kids movie. Not a part kids movie, part something for the adults, something for the teens. It just tries to do one thing and be what it is. There's nothing questionable about it. It doesn't try to be current or trendy, which is why this movie is bound to be timeless. The casting is perfect. It is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only without Roald Dahl's childhood trauma created creepiness seeping in.

The story follows a small cast characters and how their lives come together and change each other for the better. There is the owner of the shop who claims to be over 200 yrs old and owns a pet zebra. There is the young shop manager who was a music prodigy as a child but now feels she is not living up to her own potential. There is the mutant... I mean, accountant, who only see's the world as it really is. Finally there is the boy with lots of hats, but no friends. They are bound together by the shop, who is just as much a character (in every since of the word as they are.)
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10/10
Apparently I'm in the minority: IT WAS A WONDERFUL MOVIE
onthatnote1 January 2009
I watched this with my wife and daughter. We loved it. We thought that the casting was perfect. Hoffman was perfect in the role and brought it to life. Portman was equally perfect for the role. And the kid who played Eric was wonderful. I don't understand the many negative critics of the acting. I thought that the casting couldn't have been better.

The set was incredible. As was the CGI. The Emporium was truly magical. Made you wish it actually existed.

The writing was great. Thoroughly enjoyable story, characters, and humor.

Really don't know why this movie didn't get a higher rating.
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9/10
A delightful and gentle movie for a family outing.
anniecat5018 November 2007
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a delightful and gentle movie for a family outing. This probably won't win any industry awards -- except for the outstanding graphics in the credits-- but it will touch a few hearts.

Reminders of how precious and magical life is and the frequent use of up beat idioms encompass most of Dustin Hoffman's dialogue. The chemistry between the cast is engaging, so much so that all the "walk on" roles seem to interrupt the more important moments for the principal actors. The ending/beginning is a bit abrupt. The characters of Bellini, the Bookbuilder and Eric's mother make you really wonder what they add to the story because you know somewhere in the script they have to have more depth. They get lost here.

If you have even the remotest curmudgeon leanings in your personality and scoff at sentimental movies, stay away from this film. If you still love the holidays and see magic in snowfalls and sunsets, enjoy!
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9/10
Magical
GodsButterfly17 November 2007
I had seen a preview or two and the occasional poster for this movie, but hadn't really been dying to see it. Once I did see it, I was amazed. This is a great movie! I left the theater wanting to see it again! Not everyone will like this movie, if you're boring, only amused by perverted jokes, or forgotten what it's like to be a kid, this movie is not for you. I had a huge smile on my face for the majority of this wonderful story. It's simply innocent and good and silly. Dustin Hoffman was magical, and perfect for this role. Natalie Portman did a great job of showing her attachment to her dear friend, she didn't want him to leave, though deep down, she knew he had lived every moment to it's fullest. This was the first time I'd seen Zach Mills, he has very pleasant charicteristics to his personality and expressions. Very cute kid. I called all my friends afterwords and told them they absolutely had to see this movie. I highly recommend this movie... it made me sparkle.
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10/10
NOT just for kids! I was uplifted, and found my own SPARKLE!
bopdog20 November 2007
I expected a "kid" movie. And an insipid one at that. Treacly and dumb. So why did I go? Well, I'd seen everything else, and I really like Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. I like Jason Bateman, too. So I took a chance. And it was really GOOD! True, kids will like this movie. But the theme of belief in one's self, and "possibilities," and all that metaphysical stuff appeals to me. Granted, the story line was about a toy store, but the real story underneath that, and which came shining through the juvenile aspects, was one of TRUE magic and possibility for all of us. The cast played their parts well, and the mechanics of the movie were good--- nice colours, nice sets. The animation, or puppets, or whatever the moving toys were, was believable.

At one point, Natalie Portman asks Jason Bateman if he sees "sparkle" in her. He has to say "no." But later, after the plot unfolds, admittedly predictably, the sparkle finally shows up. It showed up in me, too! The SPARKLE was there throughout the movie.

Whether you have kids or not, if you are in the mood for something light yet meaningful, check this out. It has the wonder of a Harry Potter movie, without the vapid and stupid plot of those films. This movie is brave enough to be simple, and true enough to be.... well, true. I feel better having sen it. And that's a worthy accomplishment for ANY movie!
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7/10
Finally, a film for kids
intelearts28 December 2007
We all really enjoyed Mr Magorium.

It has a wonderful sense of magic about it and very good solid performances from the leads.

Most of all it is the Emporium, the toy store that provides much of the wonder: real care, thought, and a real sense of wonder pervade the set.

The story is lovingly done, and never too schmaltzy.

We came away talking about our favorite bits the kids remembered lots of small details: a sure sign they really did lose themselves in the movies.

Overall I would say one of the better films for kids that doesn't try to be anything other than it is: it reminded me of 1970s Disney, simple, innocent, magic.
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8/10
If You Believe in Magic...
Brian B-27 December 2008
...then this wonderfully uplifting tale of the power of imagination is extraordinary.

From music to lighting, to set decoration, all of the elements come together in a lighthearted tale that should not be overlooked.

Dustin Hoffman, as Magorium, is a trifle too precious, but this is more than made up for by the spot on casting and performance of Natalie Portman as Molly Mahoney. She brings just the right balance of elfin enthusiasm and borderline adulthood to the crucial role. Zach Mills as Eric,who collects hats, sparkles throughout. Jason Bateman as the "mutant" never overplays his part.

If every life is a performance, this movie is an exceptional reminder of the need to live life with joy and gusto, to play every day, and make the world a brighter place.
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1/10
Mr. Magorium is 243 years old (so are his jokes)
Kelly Cather29 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
My first question is, who rated this a 10???? "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" is a stinker. I read that this was the debut feature for Zach Helm (the screenwriter of "Stranger Then Fiction") so I took a chance and took my kids to see it. Too bad the the costumes and makeup were as cheap as the jokes. The producers were hoping to get a "Willy Wonka" type film (so was I). However, they got Dustin Hoffman running around with a goofy lisp(which got annoying very, very quickly).

This is a film for kids, but most filmmaker now understand that it's the parents (me) that are paying. We want to enjoy the film too.

Why are talented actors like Natalie Portman, Hoffman and Jason Bateman signing on for this???? Why? Why? Why?
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7/10
Two heavyweights as light entertainment
Joejoesan12 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I guess Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium would have been an ordinary direct-to-DVD feel good fantasy movie if the characters were played by a bunch of unknowns. But we have movie legend Dustin Hoffman in the main lead. His role seems a mix of Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka and his own famous role as Raymond Babbitt (from Rainman). And of course there's the always lovely Natalie Portman as the charming but insecure heroine Molly. She wants to quit her job as store manager and pursue a career in music. But obviously things don't turn that way.

The story of Mr Magorium is rather simple. Mr Magorium is an eccentric 243 year old who wants to let go of life. In order to do so he wants to give his magical toy store to his loyal shop manager Molly. When the toys hear of his plans to quit they all object, driving all the customers away. But Mr Magorium is determined. Will Molly accept her destiny? And is she able to bring back the magic into the store?

This movie is filled with nice special effects (the scenes in the magical store), but it's very surprising that the story is what it is. It's all about Molly finding back the magic in herself to take over the business. The moment she has found that, the movie is over. No epilogue. No love story. In a sense that's surprising. Being a movie made for the Christmas holiday you'd expect that the finale is about choosing life (remember It's a wonderful life?). Mr Magorium thinks he has lived enough and wants to die. Molly tries to convince him to cling to life by showing him how much fun it can be. But Mr Magorium is determined. Enough is enough. He sits down, dies and never reappears. Strange. There's no suspense in that. If he dies that easily the chances are great that Molly will find the strength in herself just that easily. Too bad the screenwriter didn't find any elements to make this story more exciting.

In the end Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium is a sentimental and often corny movie about finding the kid (and magic) in yourself. Both Dustin Hoffmann and Natalie Portman do what they can to keep it entertaining. Even when they make fools out of themselves (the exaggerated accent of Mr Magorium!) and seem to overact in some scenes, they're always nice to look at. Kids will like the movie because of the nice special effects and magical scenes in the store. Adults will also be pleased because the message fits perfectly in the Christmas spirit (and there's no gun nor nudity in this one). Even though there are two heavyweights on the starring bill, this is a very light and friendly family movie. But with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman on the movie poster I somehow expected a little bit more than just that.
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3/10
One of my BIGGEST movie-going disappointments
salorkent20 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I've been a movie lover all of my life (which means almost sixty years of loving movies); saying that, I'm also one who tries to find something good to say about nearly every movie I've seen. I even defended such turkeys as "Ishtar" and "Mom and Dad Save the Universe." Sorry. No can do, this time around. "Magorium" was such a total disappointment, I hardly know where to begin. So instead, let me point out my disappointment by asking a few questions. Just who the heck IS Magorium? We learn almost nothing about him, most importantly, we get no back story as to his connection to the toy shop (most importantly, WHY a toy store.) Same with Natalie Portman's character. How did she get the job at the Emporium? Clearly she loves the shop and it loves her, so why does she suddenly find it so difficult to take over? Moreover, what is Bateman's character all about, and why did NOTHING happen in developing his relationship with Portman? So many more questions --- so little time. You get my drift. Dustin Hoffman is one of the great actors of our time. What a waste. Portman is more than competent, and there were brief flashes of character development. But a few flashes weren't enough. Jason Bateman had so much potential that the script clear didn't cash in on. Okay. Sorry about the rant. I'm so deeply disappointed. I gave up going to see "Fred Claus" for this? Especially giving that the movie just stopped. No wrap-up. No ending. It just stopped!!! Wha?
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4/10
Smoke and Mirrors
pschwebe9 March 2008
99 words or less:

Well-intentioned, but the writer/director Zach Helm has no faith in the audience, nor in film as a visual medium. There is no wonder here, only great swells of music where it says in the script. What little he has to say is spoon fed to you by the dialog and the voice-overs. Colorful SFX can't compensate for the walking clichés that replace real characters: Magical Guy. Blocked Artist. Lonely Child. Boring Accountant. Yeah, it's a Kid's Movie. Cap'n Krunch is Kid's Cereal. Does that make it good?

I feel better now.
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3/10
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Movie Review
GoneWithTheTwins15 November 2007
For a film focusing heavily on believing in magic, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is surprisingly devoid of the magic of movie-making. Several cliché characters and a story missing any real conflict produces a whimsically dreary tale best reserved for the young at heart and absent of mind. While its target audience will likely find plenty to enjoy in the Emporium, fans of Hoffman and Portman will want to wait for more meaningful ventures.

Narrated by young Eric (Zach Mills) and told like a storybook complete with chapters, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium tells the tale of exactly that. The eccentric 243-year-old toy aficionado (Dustin Hoffman) runs a magical toy store with little care in the world. But when he decides it's time to depart from this life and wills the store to Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), the Emporium's manager and only other employee (save for the strange circus reject living in the basement), she questions her ability to handle such promotion and determines to make Magorium realize all the fun he would be leaving behind. Meanwhile, Magorium has hired Henry (Jason Bateman) to sort out the mess of receipts and legal requirements of running a business, and it's up to Eric (and a mystical wooden cube) to show both the stuffy accountant and the insecure Molly the magic of believing in yourself.

Deceptively opening with Pixar-esquire cutout animation during its credits, such frills are the only thing Magorium has in common with the ever-entertaining computer animated films. Stocked with unremarkable characters, the situations they are confronted with range from death to disbelief, though rarely do we feel attached enough to care. The conflicts never feel immediate and the solutions don't stay grounded in reality. Perhaps the most pressing predicament is a saddened, personified toy store quickly losing its color, or a mopey sock monkey without someone to hold.

Magorium has an impressive cast in likely their least impressive performances. Dustin Hoffman as the gray-haired, bushy-eyebrowed title character grates on the nerves rather quickly with his too-cheerful quips and contrived speech impediment. If Willy Wonka wasn't cool, and owned a toy store instead of a chocolate factory, he'd be Mr. Magorium. Natalie Portman is believable as a cheery toy store manager, and even as a piano prodigy, but rarely does she evoke any emotions from her audience other than regret for not watching her other, better roles. Jason Bateman fits as the workaholic accountant who needs to believe in magic for others to believe in themselves, but too little focus is placed on his character development. He's not an antagonist and no one needs to work all that hard to make a believer out of him. In fact, there is no villain in this film at all, unless the sandman's gritty fingers reaching for your eyelids counts.

While rather languid in the story department, the effects and set designers likely had a field day with the living Emporium, piled high with all manner of games and toys. Animated mobiles, graying walls, and a monstrous dodgeball highlight the special effects, and what wasn't computer generated appeared painstakingly crafted. The dial that changes the rooms of the store also added to the creative feats, though its too bad Miyazaki showcased the concept in Howl's Moving Castle several years earlier.

If one tried very hard they might be able to sink into the magical world of Mr. Magorium and his living toy store, and at times might even realize the important lessons on display, from believing in yourself to the value of friendship. But flying wooden cubes and sad sock puppets mixed with Shakespearean quotes and misbehaved zebras will probably make you forget about such trivial morals.

  • Joel Massie
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6/10
Kind of a letdown
moviesleuth28 April 2008
Seeing the trailer, I imagined a dreamy, whimsical story where I could lose myself in the lost days of my childhood. Director Zach Helm certainly aspires to create something like that, but it doesn't quite work.

This is undoubtedly a kids' movie. Watching this movie with anything else in mind will ruin it for you. It's simple, with a little moral, but it has some great visuals.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a magical toy store, run by an eccentric old man named Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman). Its manager is Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman) who was a piano prodigy as a child but is too nervous to take it any further. Eric (Zach Mills) is a lonely kid who has trouble making friends (except for Molly and Mr. Magorium). There's also Henry Weston (aka The Mutant) who is hired to take care of the financial business, but he has no imagination and no sense of fun. These are the central characters in the movie. When Mr. Magorium suddenly says he's leaving and is giving Molly the store, Molly doesn't know what to do.

I think Zach Helm wanted to make a whimsy adventure like "Toys," only better. The effects and visuals work...to a point (the potential for magic in Hot Wheels cars only goes so far). There's a lot of color and feeling, but it all leaves something to be desired.

The acting is not spectacular, but the actors do what is called for. The only actor who really sticks out in my mind is Jason Bateman, who displays a wide range of acting ability.

"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" is a solid effort, but won't go down in history as a classic family movie.
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9/10
One of my favorites!
Ashleigh Laplante12 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First off, the only thing I wish was different was that Eric didn't find any friends, but perhaps it's a good thing. Life's problems don't all wrap up neatly in one little package all at once.

Other than that, I actually adore this film. It is not for those people who need backstory, violence, sex, action or language - but it is absolutely for those who still believe in magic and childlike innocence. A lot of details are left out, and if you focus on that, it will drive you crazy. If you can manage, however, to let it go and really just watch the movie for what it is, you'll find a beautiful story about the magic of every day life and believing in yourself. I would liken the attitude to the same of Anne of Green Gables, that fairies exist, blessings are alive and well, and magic is everywhere if you're just willing to see it.

Somewhat emotional at times, but this movie makes me feel like a child again, with all a child's wonder at the world and its many joys and surprises. If you can sit down, forget about the real world, not care about who came when and why and where; just enjoy a simple experience for what it is, you will love this show.
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5/10
Magically Disjointed
annie88_9923 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. M's Magic store is on the brink of disaster when its faithless manager can't seem to muster the belief in herself necessary to keep the store's spirits and magic alive. Unfortunately, the movie as whole suffers from the same affliction. There were too many plot elements that didn't hold together and too many moments that go unexplained, distracting the viewer from the charming characters and promising premise. The store is magical and exciting, and great fun to explore throughout the movie. But the movie's special effects didn't cast enough magic to save this movie from itself.

The movie begins with a voice-over narration by the character Eric, a friendless boy who either a) hangs out at the toy store behaving strangely and freaking out the other kids, or b) provides 'wise' advice to his friend Mahoney, the beautiful store manager. We're also introduced to Bellini, and told that the story is his because he's keeping track of Mr. M's life. But then we never really see Bellini again....and if it's HIS story, why wasn't he narrating? Distracting!!!

And then who is this kid Eric? What is he doing in this picture? And why is HE telling the story? We never really find out. Eric ends up sticking out like a sore thumb, with no real connection to the story or a satisfactory resolution to his own struggle to find an age appropriate friend. There is one particularly disturbing scene, where Eric brings home the store's accountant (played by Jason Bateman) to see his hat collection, and the pair are caught playing pretend in his room by his mother. For a children's movie, that scene was just too weird, and failed to connect properly to the rest of the story.

Mahoney, played by the lovely Natalie Portman, is a character that doesn't quite fit in with this movie either. Supposedly a severe doubter and faithless incompetent, Mahoney actually comes across as merely stuck, but otherwise capable. The character is very flat, as the only thing we really learn about her is that she is pretty good on piano, but doesn't know how to finish her first concerto. Her relationship with Eric is never fully explored and her connection with Jason Bateman's character is oddly absent until very near the end of the story. The primary conflict, her fear about running the store, is flawed. There is no clear evidence that Mahoney couldn't run the toy store Mr. M leaves to her, as we've watched 80% of the movie with her doing just that, so the main struggle of the film just isn't that convincing nor seem that difficult to overcome.

One of the most distracting plot elements is this stupid block of wood that Mr. M gives Mahoney near the beginning of the story. In the end it plays a key role in the movie, but it's never adequately explained how or why. Why a block of wood? What's the connection with Portman's character? What is a congreve cube? How is a kid supposed to understand all this?

Dustin Hoffman's Mr. M was convincingly played, but I found his speech impediment a barrier to understanding him, and wasn't sure why Mr. Hoffman made that choice. Perhaps to appear more childlike? At a critical point in the movie, Mr. M announces to Mahoney that he is going to leave that day, but doesn't follow through on his promise. Instead of creating the crisis of faith his absence should have created, the movie drags out his departure. Mahoney drags Mr. M all over town and then eventually to a hospital, where he's admitted and spends the night, just to get up and leave the next day. What? If the scene was meant to show Mahoney's compassion for Mr. M it failed to do so. If it was supposed to create sadness for the audience, it also failed. I couldn't wait for him to finally go!!! Why are we dragging this out people???

There are many, many questions with this movie: Is the accountant in love with Mahoney? Is he a pedophile? Does Mahoney believe in magic or doesn't she? Who is Mr. Magorium? Where does he come from and what's his deal? Who is Eric and why is he being treated like one of the staff one minute and then an arm's length stranger the next? Mahoney seems to believe in magic, 'cause she's doing it, but then she doesn't because why?

Fundamentally this movie is well-intentioned, but not thoughtful enough to hold together and to be more than an out of control mess.
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10/10
Magicial and Moving Movie
K RR5 January 2008
I took my children and my parents to this movie and it was wonderful... it was totally G-rated and I didn't have to worry about violence, sex, or bad language. The theme was simple but ever so sweet and all of us thoroughly enjoyed the movie and were touched by story's theme of the sweetness of life, the various stages of life, and the value of life and even death. The movie was delightfully cast. The creative use of language has stayed with my children and parents and we have laughed and quoted the movie over the past two weeks. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants an hour and a half to enjoy life's sweeter moments. Thanks to Hollywood for producing such a relaxing and enjoyable movie.
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Entertaining for people of all ages
Gordon-1113 January 2008
This film is about a magical toy store that can make anything and everything happen.

This film is really magical. Right from the beginning, the amazing toys brings viewers into all the sweet memories of childhood! The vibrant colours and the plentiful magical toys are captivating to say the least. The characters are lively and engaging, particularly Eric (the weird one out) and Henry (the non believer). The plot is innovative, as I could never have imagined a toy store that could throw temper! Apart from the fantasy elements, the emotional subplot is also engaging and touching. It is a great family film. It entertains people of all ages, and it also reminds us to believe in ourselves.
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5/10
Magic without boundaries equals visual effects without heart...
moonspinner5525 July 2010
Toy store manager and one-time piano prodigy, unhappy with the direction of her life and seemingly blocked artistically, is willed ownership of the store by her boss--the magically feckless Mr. Magorium--who knows the exact day and time he will pass on to another world. Writer-director Zach Helm has obviously seen a lot of movies and knows many card tricks, but he doesn't write characters--only occupations. There's the store owner (Dustin Hoffman, channeling Ed Wynn from "Babes in Toyland"), his beautiful-yet-unmarried assistant (Natalie Portman, all doe-eyed smiles and half-laughs), the humorless accountant who learns to loosen up (Jason Bateman, pulling a Jason Bateman), and the wizened youngster (Zach Mills) who helps out in the store and knows all its incredible secrets. Turns out the Emporium really is magical, with dolls that come to life and rooms that change completely with the turn of a knob. How far did Helm want to take this scenario before it became utterly ridiculous? The filmmaker is so concentrated on the visual accouterments (and bowling his audience over with sparkly eye-candy) that he fails to develop the story. The movie opens on a sleepy bookmaker who lives down in the basement, but we rarely see him again. As for Hoffman, he doesn't really get into the personage of the happy-go-lucky toy specialist; worse, the irresponsible nature of Mr. Magorium--whose business office is awash with unpaid bills--lingers over the upbeat finale like a dark shadow. There are good moments, particularly in the budding friendship between Bateman and Mills, but if Helm was hoping for a romantic sub-plot between the man and the woman, it got lost somewhere in the shuffle. In fact, "Magorium" is all shuffle and show, and its heart is hard to find. ** from ****
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2/10
Creepy, annoying holiday fare only Scrooge would enjoy
Gregory Eichelberger16 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Like a bad combination of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Toys," the Robin Williams turkey from 1992, this dud not only made me put aside all belief in magic, it had me questioning my very faith, among other things.

Dustin Hoffman, an actor about 180-years old plays Edward Magorium, a doddering character 243-years old (we're given no reason WHY he is 243-years old, by the way), who happens to own a magical toy store in the middle of New York City. And even though thousands of kids and their parents visit the establishment annually, no one (especially the media) seems to know of the wonderful things that go on inside. Nor does any customer seem to think it's at all unusual.

Helping out is Natalie Portman as Mahoney, who seems perfectly at ease with her Hillary Swank "Boys Don't Cry" haircut; but, for some reason (despite several years of working at the store and seeing supernatural occurrences constantly), she refuses to believe the store is magic when Edward tells her he will soon depart (i.e. die).

Aiding Mahoney is a weird loner kid, Eric, who collects hats and seems to have channeled the spirit of Morrissay. He mopes around in a state of constant depression and then wonders aloud why he has no friends (hey, I've got a clue, it's because you collect hats and mope around all the time!) The store is even a character in this film, getting so angry that Magorium is going to "depart" (i.e. get his ticket punched), that it "throws a tantrum." The problem is, it throws a tantrum by making things fly about the building, much like what goes on at the place everyday.

Enter the film's everyman character, accountant Henry Weston (Jason Bateman), who signs on to help the senile Magorium do his books so he can "depart" (i.e. kick the bucket). Of course, since Weston represents us, he sees nothing unusual going on in the store. But, we do, so maybe he doesn't represent anything.

Maybe this movie doesn't represent anything, either. I still cannot figure out the message here, friends. Is it that we have to believe for magic to be real; or is it that only our dreams are real and the magic never dies: or is it that the power of the magic and our dreams will live on if we believe? I have no idea.

All I know is the writing is pathetic, the jokes stink (Magorium uses the "avid shoe-wearer" line about five times), the direction consists of aiming the camera at things and then leaving it there (like the same lame toys over and over and over), the "special" effects weren't, the acting is laughable (except in one tearful scene), it's boring and Hoffman's character is a vapid and irritating cross between "Rainman" and "Tootsie" with none of the charm or intelligence of either.

Is it safe, Dustin? Not with "Magorium" haunting the box office. Better to rent the "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" version of "Merlin's Shop of Magical Wonders," get a few laughs and save some money.

That's my Christmas gift to you.
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6/10
Believe In Yourself and the Magic Happens
Claudio Carvalho2 April 2009
Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman) is the manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, the awesome toy store owned by Mr. Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman). Molly was a promising composer and piano player when she was a girl, and now she is a twenty-three year-old insecure woman that feels stuck in her job. Among the costumers of the Emporium is the lonely hat collector Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills), who has only Molly and Mr. Magorium as friends. When the last pair of shoes that Mr. Magorium bought in Toscana is worn, he hires the accountant Henry Weston (Jason Bateman) that he calls Mutant to adjust the accounts of the Emporium. Further, he claims that he is two hundred and forty-three year old and his time to go has come; he gives a block of wood called Congreve cube to Molly and asks Henry to transfer the Emporium to her name. Molly tries to convince Mr. Magorium to stay in his magical toy store instead of "going".

"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" is a pleasant fantasy with a positive message that anything can happen, even magic, when you believe in yourself. The ambiguous story told by Eric may be metaphorically interpreted by the adults or just be seen as a magical toy store by the kids and the result is equally good. The sweet Natalie Portman is perfectly cast in the role of Molly, but Dustin Hoffman plays a quite boring Mr. Magorium. The special effects are amazing. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "A Loja Mágica de Brinquedos" ("The Magical Toy Store")
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7/10
How Sad For You If You Were Bored
technoprisoners14 March 2009
I will admit to being surprised at how many people claimed that this lighthearted tale was a snoozer. If you or your children were bored, how sad for you. While this is not action-packed nor animated, it's filled with subtly delightful moments and a sense of whimsy. Unfortunately these qualities are lost on the those who are so conditioned for immediate gratification and messages that are as subtle as a flying brick. Well, too bad for you.

While far from a cinematic masterpiece, my family and I found this thoroughly enjoyable. Dustin Hoffman is a master at fully inhabiting a character and making you believe that he *is* that person. Portman was less than captivating, strangely, and Bateman was a bit wooden. The performance from Zach Mills was terrific, however. And the store was a place I would have spent a lot of time in as a boy.

And speaking as a husband and father of two, I was not bored at any point during this movie. And I'm a pretty typical red-blooded-sports-fanatic American male. I just haven't lost my ability to enjoy a flight of fantasy every once in a while.

Give this movie a chance if you've got any sense of magic left inside of you.

Oh, and to "luckyunicorn" who took umbrage with the line "You just have to believe in yourself", questioning "Who talks like this?", I would have you know that I say this to my girls all the time. Because it's the truth.
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