Saturday 15 August 2020

Magic Camp (Movie Review)

It's never a good sign when a movie gets pushed or completely pulled from its scheduled release date. I mean, just look at what has been going on with The New Mutants, a film that finally looks like it would be making its way to theaters in two weeks time, after being originally scheduled to release more than 2 years ago. The same thing had happened with Magic Camp, before it was eventually announced that it would be making its debut exclusively on Disney+.

So, yes, I was going into the film with several helpings of skepticism, and with my expectations severely lowered. But then again, Disney had pretty much already hit rock bottom earlier this year with Artemis Fowl, so it goes to reason that things could only be looking up from that point onward. Well, I am pleased to report that I was pleasantly surprised by how wholesome Magic Camp turned out.

The film centers upon Theo (Nathaniel McIntyre), a young boy that recently lost his father and now performs card tricks in private as a coping mechanism. He is enrolled in the Institute of Magic by his mother, a summer camp for kids seeking to learn how to perform magic tricks. There he must not only learn how to perfect his skills, but also overcome his stage fright as he would be competing against other aspiring magicians for the camp's coveted golden wand and top hat honors.

Helping him and the other kids designated to his cabin is a man named Andy Tuckerman (Adam DeVine), a has-been magician struggling to make a living as a Las Vegas taxi driver. Andy was a former student of the camp and a three-times winner of the golden wand, but had since turned his back on magic tricks after failing to find success as a performing magician. But after he is confronted by his old and more successful rival, Kristina Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs), he begins to approach the competition as a last-ditch effort to prove his superiority. 

Magic Camp might not be particularly fresh or original, but none of that takes away from its undeniable charm. The film was fun and full of laughs, which is of course what you would hope for from a film geared towards kids. It never gets too sweet or cloying either, even though it does veer dangerously close sometimes. I was especially taken aback by its heartfelt message about believing in yourself, and with the way the movie addressed heavier themes such as dealing with grief and a death in the family. 

A part of me is indeed curious to know how the film would've fared in theaters, in a pre-COVID environment of course. It would have most likely gone the way of Pete's Dragon, garnering some positive reviews but ultimately getting lost in the late summer slate of blockbuster films vying for attention from moviegoers. So in a way, I am glad that Magic Camp would get a better chance to stand out and reach its intended audience on Disney+.


  1. People are desperate for any new movies and if it's a least decent, it should get a lot of views on Disney+.

    1. Yeah. The pickings are pretty slim, but things are definitely looking up with TENET and The New Mutants releasing next week.

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