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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Dustin Hoffman runs Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Fox-Walden)

In The Right Stuff , Thomas Wolfe wrote about pilots who had that indefinable it quality. One of the key things about having the right stuff is that you never, ever talk about it. Well the same thing could be said about magic. If you talk about magic, if you try to explain why it works, the spell is immediately broken. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (opening November 16 throughout San Diego) talks a lot about magic and tries with painfully earnest desperation to be the most magical film you'll ever see.

Magic is a very tricky thing. To pull it off successfully you have to both distract your audience (so they dont figure out the trick) and surprise them (so you fill them with awe). One of my favorite magicians when I was a kid was Doug Henning because he was so unassuming. You never expected that this quiet man in a skintight shirt and overalls could pull off a magic trick. It was always more satisfying to see his intimate tricks rather than the flashy work of David Copperfield, where you knew you were going to be fooled by all the pyrotechnics. Mr. Magorium is like David Copperfield and he should have been like Doug Henning. The scope and scale of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium works against it in terms of creating a true sense of wonder. When a film is this big and showy, it sets high expectations for what it can deliver.