Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman, and Zach Mills star in this exiting, thought-provoking and magical film. It’s about a toy store, but not just any store, one that comes to life, one that has feelings, one that grows gray when people don’t believe in it’s wonder and magic. Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) says he is leaving earth, and wants to give his store to his apprentice Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). Portman, doesn’t handle the news well, and begins to wonder if he is ill. She quickly plans a day of “wonder” and makes him realize all he will miss, if he leaves the planet. Jason Bateman (Henry) is Magorium’s accountant that doesn’t understand the world of wonder and is provoked by Zach Mills (Eric) to be a kid again. When the Emporium is completely in Molly’s hands, Henry and Eric try to stop her from selling it.
Jump into the world of wonder with flying planes, the room of balls, fish mobiles, trains, and endless stuffed animals with Mr. Edward Magorium and Molly Mahoney. “Your life is an occasion, rise to it.” The words of Mr. Magorium (Hoffman) himself, can’t be spoken any truer. This one isn’t just for the kids to enjoy. It’s for anyone who believes in the unthinkable, specifically magic.
Mahoney (Portman, “V for Vendetta,” “Where the Heart Is”) runs the register and helps children find their toy selections; she is Magorium’s right hand man. But, she really wants to find her inner kid again and finish her own piano concerto. Though her personal goals go awry, Mr. Magorium believes in her and that she can complete her goal, and take over his legacy (the store) through a block of wood that he gives her. This block is the key to her goal.
Most fantastical films of its genre can’t compare to the great selection of actors and interesting story by writer-director Zach Helm (“Stranger Than Fiction”). Jason Bateman (“The Ex,” “The Kingdom”), is still his funny likeable self, and is very memorable when he has a jester hat on. It is too funny to miss. While he provides his usual dry-comedy, it seems to blend perfectly with Portman and Hoffman. Portman is a natural in this film, just like in all the others.
Dustin Hoffman, accent and all (“Stranger Than Fiction,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Tootsie”) plays a great part as the eccentric creator of a full of life toy store extraordinaire, Mr. Edward Magorium. His voice is rather goofy sounding at first, but after all his name is rather unique, and the accent fits his fun-loving wild imagination. He makes you want to be a kid again, and rent “Hook,” and remember the magic he put into the Peter Pan film.
Even Kermit the Frog makes a cameo appearance in the film, as he shops around the Emporium and fills his basket with toys. The scene in the room of balls is absolutely amazing and to watch; a large ball starts to roll after a kid, mirroring the Indiana Jones moment, in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Newcomer, Zach Mills (“The Valley of Light,” “October Road”) who plays Eric is remarkable and brings back the magic for Portman, convincing her to keep the store alive.
This is a great film, a must buy DVD and one that will put the magic back in their life.
Review by Meredith A. Iager