Monday, January 18, 2010

Mr. Magorium Left Me Wondering...

When I saw the trailer, I had thought the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium looked rather charming. But I’ll be honest, it didn’t sparkle so much that I felt I needed to see it in the theater. I finally got around to watching it this past weekend.

I did not expect it to be the most wondrous film this side of the imagination. Plus, I (quite randomly for her) asked Sunshine the other day if she had seen it and what she thought. After some jogging of memory as to which film it might be, she said she had seen it with the comment: Eh, it’s a movie. Doesn’t suck, isn’t fantastic. Thus, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for it.

I’m not about to say that it exceeded expectations or even blew me away. I suppose I agree with Sunshine. Entertaining, but nothing to write home about, as the saying goes. So why am I writing about it? A couple of reasons.

First, I am sort of contradicting myself when I say that my hopes for it did raise a little when I saw who wrote it - Zach Helm. He’s the marvelously demented man who brought us Stranger Than Fiction. From the moment I saw its trailer up through this very moment, Fiction has been one of my favorite movies. (My commentary on it is here.) Mr. Helm also directed Mr. Magorium, just to note. And each of them star Dustin Hoffman who’s delightful in both. Thus, I thought maybe Mr. Magorium’s store just might win my affections just as much. But not so much. Don’t get me wrong. I did like it. It just didn’t thrill me the way Stranger Than Fiction did.

Second, I just wanted to “ask” if there’s supposed to be a sequel. Or if not a sequel than more to this story? For the way it ends, without spoiling it, a whole great deal more is about to happen. Sure, it could be one of those tales in which the audience is meant to do all the imagining as to what comes next. For anyone who has read my novel Peter Pan’s NeverWorld, there is a whole bit about “finished from done.” It didn’t seem as if this film knew the difference. That’s not meant as an insult or slam of any kind. I’m not saying the film felt unsatisfying or lacking. Just that there seemed to be...more to this story. It ends rather abruptly. And yet, it’s entirely able to stand on its own, too, as per the aforementioned allowing the audience to create their own adventures for the characters. It's also quite possible that the entire point had been that we must live our own adventures, not knowing quite what will happen next.

But on the whole, it's a fun ride. If you’re looking for a sweet, charming, “eye candy” movie, this won’t let you down. But it won’t necessary leave you on Cloud 9 either.

Incidentally, there are two not so hidden references to the movie in this review. ;)

Actually, there’s one other aspect of this film I want to discuss. But I’ll leave that for another time…

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