For: strong promotion of New Age philosophy
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is venomous. Cute, but venomous. The problem is not the magic. The problem is that Mr. Magorium is a sweet old man with a twisted, pluralistic view of the afterlife, that the Wonder Emporium is an exercise in New Age mysticism, and that this poignant finding-herself journey results in a young woman who can manipulate reality with her mind. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is something like a bizarre, abhorrent mash of Winnie the Pooh and The Matrix, and its cute, kill-them-slowly worldview is not up for debate.
Strong Promotion of New Age Philosophy
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a story dedicated to the idea that each person is “stuck—like, as a person” until they look within themselves for something to believe in… and to the idea that all religions are equally valid… and the idea that goodness, magic and an inspirational screenplay are enough to get anyone into heaven.
Mr. Magorium is leaving his magical toy store to his assistant Mahoney. He is not, however, leaving the magic. In fact, the store rebels against Mr. Magorium’s anticipated departure by refusing to be magical any longer. Mahoney will have to find magic for herself.
To help her, Mr. Magorium gives Mahoney a big block of wood he calls the Congreve Cube. Mahoney has no idea what to do with it, and Mr. Magorium gives no instructions except to say, “There are a million things one might do with a block of wood, but, Mahoney, what do you think might happen if someone just once believed in it?”
Mahoney tries praying to the Cube, with no results.
As it turns out, like the store and all its inventory, the Congreve Cube is not magical, by itself. The store turns black and starts misbehaving, none of the toys will work, and the block of wood is still completely inanimate… until Mahoney believed in herself. Not just built up her self-esteem or decided to follow her dreams, but believed in herself, put her faith in herself, and realized that all this time she had been looking for an objective reality—something that existed outside of her—when the inspiration, magic and something-to-believe-in were only real when she believed they were real. They then became real to her. At that point, the magic comes back to the store, the Congreve Cube starts flying around the room, and Mahoney finds her lost “sparkle”.
Mid-movie, Mr. Magorium responds to Mahoney’s “Now we wait,” with “No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds, well used, is a lifetime.” This is also classic New Age philosophy (and vocabulary).
Mr. Magorium tells Mahoney and young friend Eric about his “departure”, and Eric clarifies, “I think he means he’s going to heaven. Right?” Mr. Magorium replies, “Heaven, Elysium, Shangri-la. I may return as a bumblebee.” His statement places Christianity, Greek mythology, Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu reincarnation on the same level, and insinuates that though he does not know (and does not care) which religion has the more accurate view of the afterlife, he is guaranteed a peaceful and pleasant existence after death, regardless of his own religious beliefs and practices.
Mr. Magorium dies.