aka Mr. Why-did-they-make-this-movie? …orium
Last night we watched Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman. With that amount of star power, you could well imagine that the level of work the actors would put out should be spectacular. Well…
First off, this is definitely a kids movie. It glosses over all of the adult situations that happen, like when a main character passes away, or when Mr. Bateman is found in a 9 year old boys room, playing jester to the kid’s king. The boy’s mother returns from a day at work to find a grown man cavorting with her son in his bedroom, and not a mention of anything untoward is flung about. She simply sighs and tells Jason to go home, please. Um, ok?
Secondly, the CGI is laughable – it almost looks like traditional animation. Apart from a large wooden dinosaur seen through a window, all of the rest is cheap looking. I understand with the amount of magic that they had to show that this might be cost prohibitive, but I feel like any mac user out of college could have done better.
And thirdly, the actors, all three of whom I think of as incredibly talented, phone in their performances as if they only want to get through this damn day of filming, already!
I think that the folks who made this movie catered much too low-brow for kids. Show them death – they get it. And if they don’t, maybe it will be a jumping off point for a real discussion with their parents. Don’t throw terrible animation on the screen just because the median age of the viewer is 8 – they deserve better.
This is a cute little movie that could have been great, and it’s disappointing.
PS – The best part was when Mr. Magorium is playing the euphonium (clever!) and Grady lost his mind at the sounds coming from the tv. I don’t know what he thought he was hearing, but he was determined to protect us from it, whatever it was. He’s our little guard-dog. Aw.