The Magician’s Elephant

There’s something sweet about a family-friendly animated movie that takes its time with storytelling. Most of them – even the biggest Disney and Pixar films – rely on slapstick comedy, talking animals, or wild action sequences born from the most imaginative corners of their creators’ minds in order to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. That approach has its charms, but it also makes small movies like Netflix’s The Magician’s Elephant feel refreshing.

The Magician’s Elephant is based on Kate DiCamillo’s book of the same name and tells the story of what happens when the belief that “anything is possible” is crushed by reality. It takes place in a town where war has left people either paralyzed by fear or hopeful but still too cautious to attempt anything outside of their comfort zones. This creates an interesting dynamic between the main characters, whose exchanges while dealing with an impossible situation involving a sudden elephant appearance nod toward different ways people handle grief. These weighty specifics are given some compression and never presented in a manner that overwhelms; accordingly, the gentle message about following one’s dreams comes across clearly.

Much of The Magician’s Elephant’s hour-and-40-minute runtime is spent getting there, sometimes at the expense of fleshing out more entertaining aspects of its plot. There doesn’t seem to be much room for humor or standout characters or tense situations that would align with bigger-picture themes — though there are a few notable flashbacks — and part of this owes to how straightforward the story is: Not a moment is wasted, which makes for smooth transitions start to finish but also renders its outcome inevitable well before it arrives.

That isn’t to say it isn’t engaging along the way. On the contrary, its single-mindedness feels novel among recent animated movies. But such freshness doesn’t fully insulate The Magician’s Elephant from seeming blander than it actually is — especially not for young viewers who may have grown accustomed to more flashiness.

The Magician’s Elephant

Other things work in its favor, such as the animation, where a mostly-muted color palette and characters that look almost clay-like give off an appropriately whimsical vibe. The same goes for the cast, first shown through the contrasting personalities of orphan Peter (Noah Jupe) and his guardian Vilna (Mandy Patinkin). Jupe does a fine job conveying Peter’s wide-eyedness; his can-do spirit and willingness to try anything new clash with Vilna’s extreme pessimism brought on by his military past filled with trauma, which drives him to absurd lengths. But Patinkin sells it; the pain in his voice suggests he just wants to shield Peter from any perceived harm.

Benedict Wong does a great job of playing The Magician who is confused by how cynical everyone has become. Frequently, he seems defeated and annoyed with the state of the town. On the other hand, Brian Tyree Henry’s Leo is more optimistic than most characters in this story. As captain of the palace guards you would think that person must be very strict but Brian’s portrayal comes across like an encouraging uncle which is interesting to watch even if sometimes his lines may sound cheesy they are always delivered warmly so we believe those aspects exist within him.

At first glance it might seem odd for Aasif Mandvi’s energetic musings as The King were balanced out against Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s submissive almost silent performance as The Countess but really what happens here is that either people remind themselves constantly about particular coping skills or else keep striving towards creating better environment around them-selves because in life everything should reflect on one`s needs and you can see this from their reactions towards events. This movie teaches us that grief shouldn’t prevent one from moving forward while also suggesting different ways of looking at things. Even though mourning is necessary there still have to be moments when individuals let go off such Verdicts.

Netflix’s The Magician’s Elephant may not be as flashy or wild compared to other animated films made recently for families, therefore some parts may not appeal widely enough especially where there weren`t any comedy relief alongside adventure ingredients being suppressed by predictable whimsicality within a plot line which could cause children lose interest quickly during early stages. However, it remains interesting throughout due its relatability portrayed through cast members who represent different walks life plus how they convey positive messages easily understandable form.

Watch The Magician’s Elephant on Kisscartoon

Read Also,

Scroll to Top