Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Widescreen Edition)
by Zach Helm (director)
Review by Charles Mohapel
20th Century Fox DVD ISBN/ITEM#: B00128VA76
Date: 30 March 2008 List Price $29.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: IMDB Entry / Movie Website / Show Official Info /
[Editor's Note: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium was previously reviewed by Rogan Marshall in our December 2007 issue.]Early in the movie we discover that Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) has been inventing all sorts of wondrous toys since the 1770s. You read that correctly -- since the 1770s! His Wonder Emporium looks like an FAO Schwarz store as designed by Disney Imagineers during Walt Disney's lifetime (he passed away in 1966).
Needing to hire an accountant, or as he calls them "a counting mutant," he contacts an agency that sends over Henry Weston (Jason Bateman) who applies for the job and is hired on the spot as "the Mutant."
Weston is your stereotypical bean counter and doesn't understand that the Wonder Emporium is a truly magical store. The store is managed by Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), a 23-year-old child prodigy as a classical pianist who has never lived up to her musical potential. Always filled with excited children and their parents, the Emporium is like a home away from home for 9-year-old Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills), a child genius himself and much more at ease dealing with building toys than building relationships with children his own age.
We discover that Mr. Magorium has imbued the store with feelings like its clientele, the children, and now that he is taking his final leave after turning the store over to Mahoney, the store is throwing a major childish temper tantrum.
The rest of the story is yours to discover if you're interested in finding out what happens after Mr. Magorium passes on. I wouldn't want to spoil the conclusion for you.
Strangely Weird & Weirdly Strange
2) "The Sock Monkey": Filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the movie used the services of a group of very talented Toronto puppeteers.
3) "Mortimer the Zebra": Mortimer is Mr. Magorium's house pet, sharing his private quarters, and from his independent attitude, Mortimer is more like a cat than a dog in disposition.
4) "Lincoln Man": Have you ever seen a life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln made entirely of Lincoln logs? Well, you will now!
Watching the designing and set-building process chronicled on film was fascinating. You can see the love and joy these talented people put into their work.
If you wonder why writer-director Zach Helm seems so knowledgeable about toys and toy stores, it's simple: He used to work in a toy store. He REALLY knows and loves obscure toys and it most definitely shows.