Idol Chatter

magoriumsm.jpgIt was with high hopes for holiday fare and the memory of “Willy Wonka” and “ Home Alone II” that I anticipated the release of Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” Movies like this raise our hopes that there will be something inspiring about it. Something wonderful! This one has all the trimmings. Colorful toys! Holiday theme! Kooky characters! Out-of-the-box thinking! Star power!
As I write this review, though, my advice to you is this: take your kids, or your nieces and nephews, or some friends’ kids if you’re babysitting, because it’s probably enjoyable at their level. But that’s about it.

Hoffman does some kind of a lispy dialect that comes off more goofy than cute. Portman and the other regular adults don’t seem to experience anything heightened or transforming. Attempts at whimsy will be appreciated by the young, but adults will see this as more childish than childlike.
One other important note: this movie was void of reference to faith, religion or the tradition on which the holiday season is based. It’s hard to have hope in a story where the only season being celebrated is the holiday shopping season, which admittedly has become the unifying principle of our culture. Shopping may be tradition, but it offers little hope, little wonder, little magic, as does Mr. Magorium’s Emporium, which runs out of wonder all too early in the script.

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