Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

Although he doesn’t look particularly old in the trailer (55 tops), Dustin Hoffman is 243 in the new fantasy film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (yes, that’s exactly what I thought). Hoffman plays Mr. Magorium, the eccentric storeowner with a mysterious past, fluffy hair, bushy eyebrows, and no fashion sense. I guess this is what we should expect from 243-year-old men?

Natalie Portman also stars as Molly Mahoney, an up-and-coming pianist.

She’s not 243 though, probably about 23.The last time I saw Natalie she was spouting banal dialogue in slow and painful love scenes with Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, so I still find it hard to take her seriously. Which is just as well: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is as lightweight as you can get.

The store itself (Mr. Magorium’s Emporium) is everything you’d expect from a magical toy store: everything comes to life, dances around, explodes, spins, flies, smokes, floats, talks, walks, etc.

From what I can gather from the trailer and the film’s official website, the plot goes something like this: Molly inherits the extraordinary emporium from Mr. Magorium. Store immediately begins to behave strangely. An officious accountant at first causes trouble, but along with a charismatic young boy eventually helps Molly restore the emporium to its former magical glory.

Or do they? Don’t be ridiculous, of course they do!

This colourful film is the directorial debut of Zack Helm, best know as the writer of Stranger Than Fiction, which also featured Hoffman in a supporting role. I loved Stranger than Fiction, so maybe I should refrain from commenting further until I’ve actually seen the film in its entirety, but where’s the fun in that?

This one’s squarely aimed at a family audience, which shouldn’t be a problem even if you are over 12: Jumangi had a similar style and target audience and that was great for all ages. However, by the looks of the trailer, Zack Helm has been taking too many wacky pills and the under twelves are the only ones likely to get anything out of it. He’s overdosed and no one managed to resuscitate him before the final cut. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium appears to be a vibrant wacky mutant hybrid, a cross between Big, Gremlins, and Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

All right, I’ll stop now. It might turn out to be amazingly entertaining, and then I’ll have take everything back and write a glowing review.

The colourful, wacky, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, is coming to a theatre near you 16 November. Prepare yourself.

While you wait, you can check out the trailer here

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