Unlike most of the films made by Walden Media, the family fantasy Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is not based on a beloved children's classic book. But that's exactly how it feels with its nostalgic mood, old-fashioned storytelling, childlike innocence, quirky delight, simple morals, and poetically bizarre dialogue like "It's strangely weird and weirdly strange!"

Unfortunately, it feels like a childhood favorite that didn't translate perfectly to the screen—like one of those stories where your young imagination's own take on this fantastic world could never truly be captured on screen. Watching Mr. Magorium, I was tempted to think, I bet that character is so much more developed and full in the book. You can only do so much in a movie.

But this wasn't ever a book. So while this original and often charming story has much to say about wonder, belief, and death, something's lost in "translation."

The movie is narrated like a storybook by a fascinating and eccentric 9-year-old named Eric (Zach Mills), who collects hats and spends most of his time as a sort of junior assistant at the magical toy store of the film's title. Eric is one member of a sort of dysfunctional "family" at Mr. Magorium's—four characters who share a neat bond in a wonderful display of friendship. If they were better defined, they'd be like a kids' version of the close-but-messed-up family in Little Miss Sunshine. The patriarch is Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), the mysterious and eccentric 243-year-old owner. The foursome is completed by store manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman) and the newly hired accountant Henry (Jason Bateman). When Mr. Magorium announces he will soon leave, he wants Molly to take over the store, but she's too insecure to ...

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Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
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Mpaa Rating
Genre
Directed By
Zach Helm
Run Time
1 hour 33 minutes
Cast
Ted Ludzik, Natalie Portman, Zach Mills, Dustin Hoffman
Theatre Release
November 16, 2007 by Twentieth Century Fox
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