The Magic Door

  • Review Date: November 13, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Mild scares in confusing U.K. fantasy movie.
  • Review Date: November 13, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As a fantasy movie, there isn't much in the way of positive messages.

Positive role models

Although the film does attempt to realistically portray the difficulties a family faces as two children get used to a new stepmother, the overarching fantasy story distracts from these attempts.

Violence

A father and stepmother are shown tied up and threatened to be burned to death by a nearby witch. Frequent mild scares in the form of elfen growls, witch shrieks, howling, and eyes that glow a demonic green.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"Hell," "oh, s--t."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Magic Door is a 2007 fantasy movie from the U.K. Throughout the movie, there are mild fantasy scares along the order of a young elf constantly hissing in a menacing manner, demonic growls and laughter, and eyes made to look green and demonic through special effects. There's also a scene in which the father and stepmother of the two lead children are tied to a tree and threatened to be burned alive by a witch. There's some profanity ("s--t"). Also of concern are the scenes in which the movie attempts to show the realistic arguments and problems a family faces as their two children attempt to adjust to a new stepmother, and those that show the worries and frustrations of the father and stepmother when the children go missing.

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What's the story?

Young Liam is constantly getting blamed for things that go wrong around his new house; he says it's actually the fault of a troll. His father (Anthony Head) is frustrated with Liam and his sister Sally's behavior, and he attributes it to adjusting to living with a new stepmother (Patsy Kensit). Liam leads Sally to find and meet the troll, who they realize is actually a nice, if misunderstood, troll named Raglin who simply wants to get back to his home but is prevented from doing so by a Black Witch (Jenny Agutter). As Liam and Sally get into trouble as they try to help Raglin, their father and stepmother fear the worst and send the fellow villagers and police on a search for their missing children. It's up to Liam and Sally -- with the assistance of an elf -- to help Raglin get back to his realm and rescue themselves from the Black Witch's evil plans.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's a needless complexity at work in THE MAGIC DOOR as a result of trying to do too much. The movie fluctuates between the realities of a father and new stepmother and their unruly children getting into trouble and the unrealities of these two kids trying to help a kind troll get back to his realm, with the assistance of a constantly hissing young elf. The result is confusion as to what this story is really trying to be about.

The jumbled story line isn't helped by the so-so acting and subpar special effects. Had the story been more engaging, it might justify the realistic scares of parents searching for their missing kids and the unrealistic scares of demonic growling, howling, and glowing green eyes. But, unfortunately, it doesn't. The ambitions of trying to make this more than a simple fantasy story lead to a confusing movie that careens between reality and fantasy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fantasy movies. What similarities and differences do you see between this and other fantasy movies?

  • How realistically do you think this movie conveys the realities of a family adjusting to a new stepmother?

  • How were special effects used in this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 4, 2007
DVD release date:January 1, 2009
Cast:Anthony Head, Jenny Agutter, Patsy Kensit
Director:Paul Matthews
Studio:Screen Media Films
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of The Magic Door was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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