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'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium'
(Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman, et al / DVD / G / (2007) 2008 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) owns and runs the most magical store in the universe, where all of the toys for sale are alive. But, when the aging shopkeeper decides to retire and sell the business to his faithful cashier (Natalie Portman), he hires an uptight accountant (Jason Bateman) to get his affairs in order.

DVD Verdict: Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) is well over 200 years old. He owns a magical toy store in New York City. And when I say magical, I do mean magical. The toys come alive and play with the kids. There is even a door of rooms controlled by a dial to find the room you want.

Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman) is the store manager, a former piano virtuoso ready to get back to her music career. Mr. Magorium doesn't pay any attention to her, however, but brings in a mutant. Okays, so it's really an accountant, but he figures the word derived from mutant at some point. Henry Weston (Jason Bateman) is hired to find out just how much the store is worth. See, Mr. Magorium has not kept records at all. Fortunately, he has saved every receipt along the way.

Yet it's Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills), a nine year old hat collector with no friends, who first notices the problem. A wall of the store is turning dark and bubbling. Could Mr. Magorium's decision to leave be causing the problem? Will the store react poorly if he follows through?

This movie was marketed as a fun comedy fantasy. From those ads, I was really looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately, the movie is much more serious then I was led to believe it would be. While the theme of believing in yourself is wonderful, the melancholy tone made parts of it sadder then I was looking for.

Despite the disappointment in tone, there is much to praise. There were several funny sight gags and great lines. Most of these were in the previews, however. This accountant got a huge kick out of the characters continually calling Henry "Mutant." And don't miss Kermit the Frog's wonderful cameo. This movie wasn't the special effects extravaganza I was expecting, but what was there was great. And the acting was top notch. All four of the leads made their characters absolutely believable. Special praise has to go to Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Magorium. He made the movie work.

I think if I had walked into this film knowing what to expect, I would have enjoyed it. But since the movie wasn't what I wanted, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Basically, it's a decent film as long as you are expecting a darker kid's film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features:

Inside Look - Strangely Weird and Weirdly Strange: The Magical World of a Wonder Emporium
Pod-Casts: Zach Helm, Sock Monkey, Mortimer the Zebra, Fun on the set, and Lincoln Man
An Eccentric Boss andan Awkward Apprentice
To Find Eric Applebaum, Start by saying Hi
A Magical Toy Store
The Big Book of Toys
DVD ROM Game - Paper Airplane Tutor
Fox Trailers

www.FoxStore.com





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