• Loren Javier

REVIEW: Magic Camp (2020)


Photo: Disney

After three years of waiting to be released in theaters and very little marketing, Magic Camp finally made it to Disney+.


Magic Camp follows a young, aspiring magician named Theo (Nathaniel Logan McIntyre) who goes to magic camp...er...the Institute of Magic. His father was the one who encouraged him to be a magician, but, as his dad passed away, so did Theo's confidence. While at camp, he is placed with the loser newbies - the Hearts. Now, enter Andy (Adam DeVine), a washed up magician taxiing people around the Vegas strip. His old mentor and Institute of Magic director Preston (Jeffrey Tambor) asks him to come teach the kids at magic camp.


Andy, who is very cocky, makes a deal with his old partner and girlfriend Christina Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs) as to who will have a better group of kids. He is disappointed when he is made the counselor for the newbie Hearts and almost quits when he sees a glimmer of hope in Theo. He realizes that what he needs to do is find the kids' strengths to play to.


Suddenly, the group has turned around and making magic. And, even through some trials and tribulations, they still manage to stay strong. During the final show, Andy gets a gig in Vegas and it doesn't seem like he'll be able to make it. Theo was depending on him to be his surrogate father - the one who believes in his magic. But, he comes to realize that there is somebody else out there that believes in him as well.


Photo: Disney

I don't know if I had such low expectations of this film, but I didn't dislike the film. I mean, this is not high art. It's as predictable as predictable can be. I would say that this was a step up from a Disney Channel film and a step down for a Disney wide release. It was wise of Disney to release this on Disney+ where there's no harm, no foul.


I thought it was fun seeing these kids overcome the odds and gain confidence in themselves. McIntyre who plays Theo did a great job in conveying his character of a young magician who has stage fright. Actually, all the kids did a good job. DeVine was fine, although he was quite tampered down being in a Disney film. I felt that the direction to do this was a disservice to both the movie and DeVine who looked like he was struggling for things to do. I enjoyed Tambor as the kindly wannabe Dumbaldore of the magic camp.


Again, if you are looking to this film to somehow change your life, you will be sadly disappointed. But, if you are looking for a pleasant family film, I think you'll be fine. Magic Camp may not be the best film you see, but it's definitely not the worst.

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