Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 16-Apr-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-4
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 90:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Zach Helm
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ted Ludzik
Natalie Portman
Zach Mills
Dustin Hoffman
Madalena Brancatella
Paula Boudreau
Mike Realba
Steve Whitmire
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Alexandre Desplat
Aaron Zigman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, prominent toy brands
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

"I fell so completely in love with these shoes, I bought enough pairs to last my whole lifetime. This is my last pair."

    In May last year I reviewed an excellent film called  Stranger Than Fiction which was the feature film writing debut of a young screenwriter called Zach Helm. Now, I have the great pleasure of reviewing the DVD release of his follow-up project, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium which was both written and directed by Mr Helm.

    This film falls into a very small group of films these days, those with a G rating which are not animated. Even a lot of animated films these days are PG. Also, there are very few films which will appeal to adults that have a G rating. There is sweetness in Zach Helm's approach to writing films which leaves you with a smile on your face. His scripts avoid mawkishness and have drama, romance & an otherworldly feel to add to the sweetness. Personally, I am very interested to see his next project.

    The plot of this film involves Mr Edward Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), the 243 year old owner of a magical toy store and avid shoe wearer. The toy store is managed on a day to day basis by child piano prodigy and now frustrated composer, Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). Mr Magorium has decided that it his time to depart this world and plans to bequeath the toy store to Molly. The store is powered by Mr Magorium's incredible imagination and the store quickly becomes annoyed when it realises he is leaving. Molly needs to decide to believe in herself in order to keep the toy store up and running. The two other major characters are a young boy, Eric (Zach Mills), the hat collector and Henry Weston (Jason Bateman), an accountant brought in by Mr Magorium to value the store. Eric hangs around the store all day as he has no real friends other than Molly & Mr Magorium. Henry is referred to as The Mutant by the other characters as Mr Magorium said that an accountant was a combination of a counter and a mutant. He is very straight laced and the magical store is very hard for him to understand as evidenced by the following exchange between him and Molly.

"When you say magical, do you mean special?"
"Magical."
"Unique?"
"Magical."
"What about... really really cool?"
"MAGICAL!"

 

    This film is whimsical without being twee and features some wonderful sets and production design. The story is heartfelt, touching and life affirming. The dialogue is smart and amusing. The casting is excellent especially Hoffmann, Portman and young Zach Mills. The music is wonderful, jointly composed by Alexandre Desplat & Aaron Zigman both fine composers in their own right, having composed scores for films such as Syriana, The Notebook & Casanova. I enjoyed the final credits as they set out to do something a little more interesting than most credits. There is only one section of the film right towards the end which doesn't quite work which involves Natalie Portman conducting. It is unfortunately not in time with the music and therefore looks rather dorky. My only overall concern with the film is that its core audience is not clear and I actually think that it will be more suitable for adults who enjoy whimsical films rather than children. Watch out for a cameo from someone small, famous & green!

    A wonderful, imaginative, sweet and whimsical film from a filmmaker with a great future. Highly Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent except for the aspect ratio.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which has been cropped from the original 2.35:1.Someone, somewhere has obviously decided that we cannot cope with black bars at the top and bottom. Interestingly, the Region 1 release is in the correct aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description.The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 63:23 and is not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Alexandre Desplat & Aaron Zigman is excellent and makes great use of the surround sound field and front stereo separation.

    The surround speakers were in constant use with lots of surround effects showing the hive of activity that the toy store is, some great effects during spinning and turning sequences and making the soundtrack immersive especially the great music.

     The subwoofer is well used but this is hardly a film which will really stretch your woofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras consist of only a collection of featurettes which really could have been joined together. In fact, a play all option is provided. All extras are 16x9 enhanced but do not include subtitles. Be warned that someonline retailers are advertising a DVD-ROM extra about paper aeroplanes, however, I could not find this on the disc I have.

Menu

    The menu design quite good without being spectacular including an intro, music and some action from the film.

An Eccentric Boss & An Awkward Apprentice (6:36)

    Short promo style featurette focussing on Hoffman & Portman's characters and their casting.

To meet Eric Applebaum, Start by saying Hi (6:57)

    Featurette about the character of Eric and the young actor who plays him.

The Magical Toy Store (7:58)

    Featurette about the sets, production design & construction plus how they chose which toys to use.

Fun on the Set (1:55)

    Short set of tedious outtakes.

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

Strangely Weird & Weirdly Strange : The Magical World of a Wonder Emporium (6:58)

    Other seemingly random bits of featurette slung together. It covers the director, the sock monkey, the zebra & how they made the model of Lincoln.

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis Region 1 wins due to the correct aspect ratio.This movie is also available on Blu-ray in the US.

Summary

    A wonderfully warm, amusing and touching G rated film.

    The video quality is excellent except for being in the wrong aspect ratio.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are promo style featurettes only.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Odd - A.N.U (read my bio)
Re: Odd - SJ2571