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Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium(2007)
Molly Mahoney is the awkward and insecure manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, the strangest, most fantastic, most wonderful toy store in the world. In fact, it's a magic toy store and everything in it comes to life — including the store itself. The Emporium only asks one thing of its customers: you must believe it to see it. But when Mr. Magorium, a 243–year–old eccentric, bequeaths the store to her, a dark and ominous change begins to take over the once remarkable Emporium.
For more about Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and the Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray release, see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 27, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Bateman, Zach Mills, Jonathan Potts (I), Kiele Sanchez
Director: Zach Helm
» See full cast & crew
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray Review
This odd and colorful film looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 27, 2008
Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Marketed as a kids movie, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the place where "toys come to life!" according to the quote on the box. While that's true, the film is much more melodramatic than your average kids' movie. Sprinkle in a bit of melancholy; a lisp-y sounding Dustin Hoffman (who at times acts as if he's blind); an uninspired performance by Natalie Portman (who at times acts as if she's blind); a completely normal-looking accountant nicknamed "Mutant;" and a kid named Eric who spends all day at a store filled with children yet cannot make a friend--and you've got a movie that seems to be everything but a toy commercial. The movie is like getting a Happy Meal but receiving in it a note that tells you you're going to die some day, nothing can stop it, sorry kid. I just didn't get good vibes from this movie. I felt that it was far too dark in places for younger audiences, too silly for slightly older children, and maybe a bit creepy for adults. It's also completely predictable, and from the moment Mr. Magorium informs us of the plot, we know exactly how it will end.
Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman, Stranger Than Fiction) has owned his toy store, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, for 113 years. He'e been inventing toys since 1770s, and he's custom-built toys for Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln. He has no idea how much the store is worth, so he hires an accountant named Henry, A.K.A. "Mutant" (Jason Bateman, Juno). Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman, Closer) is a gifted musician stuck in a rut, wanting to write her first concerto but finding it difficult to live up to peoples' expectations. She's also the store's manager. Eric (Zach Mills, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause) spends his free time at the store, showing amazing engineering talents, but cannot make any friends. It turns out that Mr. Magorium is dying, and he needs to get his business in order so he can turn it over to Mahoney. The store's magic begins to fade as Magorium's loved ones, his toys, and even the walls of the store begin to mourn his imminent peril. All four of the primary characters come full circle, learning life lessons and finding a bit of magic inside themselves, leading to a predictable, slightly touching, and, of course, magical ending.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a film about finding yourself, your place in the world, and discovering the magic inside. Magorium's already figured it all out. His store is alive with magic. Its toys have come to life, it's lively and full of energy, and there is always a mass of customers inside. As "normal people," we can most easily identify with the "mutant," Henry. It's no surprise he's been given that monicker. In Magorium's world, normal, bland, and boring are not the norm. Lively color, living toys, sulking walls, and incessant cheer rule the day. This pencil pusher is definitely the outsider, as we are, peering in through the store windows, trying to figure out what the big deal is (how could Magorium possibly have an I.O.U. from Thomas Edison, as a means of thanking him for the idea of the light bulb?). Of course, the answer is magic, of which both Magorium and the audience (as the film would have us believe) have enough of inside themselves to do marvelous things. Sometimes it just takes a nudge, a hint, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a little wooden box to pull it out of us and let it shine.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in 1080p high definition and framed at 2.35:1, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium offers viewers a striking, robust image that is just one or two very minor flaws away from sheer perfection. Right from the opening credits of the film, the viewer is presented with a rich, vibrant color palette with just about every color under the rainbow on display somewhere over the fun, imaginative, and original title sequence. It definitely sets the tone for the remainder of the film. Although the image looks a bit dark, no doubt intentionally so, there is no question that this is a fine, no great, blu-ray presentation. Until the very end of the movie (you'll have to watch to discover why), the viewer cannot help but be awestruck by the smorgasbord of hues, every single one deep and vibrant in appearance. Flesh tones are excellent if not a tad bit on the reddish side of the scale. This image is hard to describe, as it is simply wonderful to behold. It's definitely the most colorful movie I've seen yet on Blu-ray, and perhaps ever. Black levels are fantastic, and the image appears grainy only every so often. The smallest of details are amazing, such as Mahoney's denim jacket as seen when she rides the bus home from work. We see every stitch, wrinkle, and faded spot with amazing clarity. A few shots, especially in the hospital, look a bit soft, but perhaps that's because of the lack of color (except for yellow) as compared to the toy store. Except for a bit of softness in select scenes, this one is a winner and one of the most breathtaking, elaborate, and detailed images yet seen on the Blu-ray format.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray, Audio Quality
You guessed it. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium sets up shop on Blu-ray with an excellent lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. It may have been my imagination, but the 20th Century Fox fanfare music at the beginning of the movie struck me as just a bit louder, clearer, and deeper than ever before. Regardless, it sounds great, as usual, and it's my favorite opening logo and music (followed by Universal). Like the video quality on display during the film's opening credits, the audio is equally astounding. The music played over the entirety of the film is some of the most natural and realistic I've heard, lossless or otherwise, reproduced in my home theater. I was in awe of how good it sounded. Music blends into the surround channels to create a completely engrossing listening environment and experience. Bass is fantastic, deep, powerful, loud, and majestic, and when the percussion section of the orchestra kicks in during the film's score, get ready for a treat. Surrounds are lively throughout as the sounds of the toy store, from the mundane to the vivacious, engulf us in its magic and wonder. Dialogue is crystal clear and perfect in intensity and volume. As I've said before, DTS lossless is my favorite audio format, hands down, and the one found on Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is yet another in a long line of brilliant mixes on a Fox Blu-ray disc.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
One thing I really like about our new 720p screenshot reviews is that if no supplements are included on a disc, I don't have to write an entire paragraph telling you that there are no supplements included in order to keep the formatting of the old layout correct. Here I can just say it in a line or two and be done with, not having to worry about writing too little. So, without further ado:
Fox has foregone any and all supplemental features for the Blu-ray edition of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Only 1080p trailers for several other films, namely Eragon, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Night at the Museum, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer are included, so if you need your fix of MMWE extras, look elsewhere.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is definitely aimed at children, though I am not sure just how much the little ones will get out of this experience. There are a few "tear-jerker" type moments near the end, along with some dark imagery that starkly contrasts the bright, colorful, play land atmosphere of the first 3/4 of the film. It also offers some good life lessons about the importance of friendship, chasing your dreams, and finding the magic we all have inside of us, but all that will probably be overshadowed by the wide array of color and fun the kids see at the toy store. They'll probably want to pay a visit to Toys 'R' Us afterwards, as well as no doubt desire to own one of the many toys shown throughout the film that caught their eye (no product placement that I was aware of). There is a good lesson for adults as well, namely that its alright to let your inner child out every now and then, but I think most adults will find themselves bored by the predictable story, pleased with the good-yet-odd acting by Hoffman, and in shock by the subpar performance by Portman (though I must admit to being very impressed by the work of young Zach Mills). Technically, I was as equally impressed by the audio mix as I was the video. Anyone with a good to great system and with a love for this movie is going to spend ninety minutes in an awestruck stupor as to how marvelous this one looks and sounds. Unfortunately, for those of you who loved the movie and want to learn more about it, this disc completely fails to provide you with any supplements. If your kids loved this movie, it's worth a purchase, but anyone with a curious and open mind will want to give it a rental first.
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• Fox Announces Mr Magorium for Blu-ray - January 28, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment has announced that they will release 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium' for Blu-ray on March 4th, day-and-date with the DVD release. The BD-50 disc will be authored in BD-Java, and feature AVC video and an DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Extras ...
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