Magical Munchkins

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Magical Munchkins

Screens both silver and small are awash with magic these days. From Gandalf to Dumbledore and with every shade, flavour and variety of magic on show, there’s never been a better time for fans of all things mystical – something that’s especially true if you’re, shall we say, a more junior appreciator of all things magic. Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism, based on the popular book series by Georgia Byng, hits cinemas from December 2 and, in so doing, introduces kids to the latest magical hero. In honour of that, why not sit back and familiarise yourself with Molly whilst also looking back at some of her magical contemporaries:


An orphan forced into care by tragic circumstances? Sure – but any similarities with a certain bespectacled wizard stop there as Molly Moon is leading the charge for the independently minded as she uses her powers (gained from the titular book of hypnotism, by the way) to make life in the orphanage all the nicer for all concerned. She manages to foil a jewel heist, become a pop star and rescue her best friend in a film that features a veritable who’s who of British entertainment, including Joan Collins, Celia Imrie, Lesley Manville and Anne-Marie Duff. Essential viewing (and reading) for all would-be junior magic makers!


A titan in the world of junior magicians, Harry Potter is still conjuring up a storm thanks to repeat generations introducing their kids to the Boy Who Lived in literary and screen form. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child hasn’t hurt the franchise’s legs, either, but at its heart, JK Rowling’s world-beating series is nevertheless a simple story about facing and conquering adversity in all its forms so it’s hardly surprising that kids and their parents continue to endorse the world as much as they do. And as Molly Moon also keenly understands, a sprinkling of marvellous magic doesn’t go amiss, either.


Raven Simone started life as part of the Cosby Show’s ever-expanding roster of child stars before she went on to conquer the world in her own series. That’s So Raven saw our hero faced with a magical premonition at the start of each episode, something she then had the remaining half hour to sort out in her own inimitable way. The world recently went mad for the news that the series is getting a reboot – but can anything top the charm of the original?


Matilda was always one of Roald Dahl’s most popular stories and the film version (starring Pam Ferris as the iconic Miss Trunchbull and Mara Wilson as the eponymous hero) cemented that. The tale (again, we’re looking at an innocent girl who must face down life at a terrifying school) took on a whole new life, though, when Australian comedian Tim Minchin penned a stage musical version that took the world by storm. Mind you, which child wouldn’t want to have the power of telekinesis? Especially when you think about the teachers you used to hate and how you’d like to level the playing field…


Another series facing the reboot treatment, The Worst Witch precedes Harry Potter by a considerable margin but, across seven books (and one much-loved TV series) tells the now familiar tale of a child struggling to fit in at a school for witchcraft. Plans have been announced for a new series but, with the original series being one of those iconic shows that still lives in the memory to this day, one has to ask what the new version will pull from its sleeve to grab the attention of a new audience


Another US import, Sabrina starred Melissa Joan Hart as the latest in a long line of witches who, along with her kooky aunts and a talking cat, must navigate the perils of American high school whilst trying to ensure her powers go unnoticed, especially by her long time love, Harvey. Given how badly the actor who plays Harvey has aged, it seems there are some things that even magic can’t help with…

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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