www.whyville.net Aug 30, 2009 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Movie Review: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

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The Cast

Selena Gomez - Alex Russo
David Henrie - Justin Russo
Jake T. Austin - Max Russo
Maria Canals-Barrera - Theresa Russo
David DeLuise - Jerry Russo
Steve Valentine - Archie (the magician)
Jennifer Stone - Harper Finkle
Xavier Torres - Javier

The Plot

The movie opens with Alex searching Justin's bag for the Book of Forbidden Spells and the family wand. She feels it's unfair that Jerry allowed Justin to have them even though he said neither she, Justin nor Max is ready to handle them. Angry with Jerry, Alex decides to keep the Book of Forbidden Spells. When Theresa doesn't allow Alex to attend a party in Brooklyn with Harper, she uses a forbidden spell to take herself and Harper to a subway station in Brooklyn. Alex's inability to read maps correctly gets her and Harper lost underground until Justin rescues them. Due to Alex's improper use of magic, Theresa bans magic from the upcoming family vacation to the Caribbean.

When Theresa forbids Alex to attend a party on the beach, she uses a forbidden spell again to make Theresa agree with her. But the spell wears off quickly and Alex realizes that she must use the spell book and family wand together to make the spell more effective. She blackmails Justin into letting her use the wand, which he brought with him on vacation. With the wand and book in hand, Alex is about to wish for Theresa to agree with her and let her attend the party. Just as she is doing so, Theresa walks in on her and grounds her for using magic. Upset that her parents are constantly telling her what to do; she wishes that Jerry and Theresa never met.

Justin figures out that since Jerry and Theresa have never met, Jerry must have wizard powers. He enlists Jerry's help to reverse Alex's spell. Jerry tells Justin to find the Stone of Dreams, a magical stone that can undo any spell and grant any wish. The Russo children have just 48 hours to do so before they lose their memories and disappear forever. Thus, Justin and Alex embark on a mission to find the stone. They are accompanied by Archie, a magician whose girlfriend was turned into a parrot. Archie provides Justin and Alex with a special map to the Stone of Dreams so that he too can use the stone to undo the spell cast on his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Max tries to make Jerry and Theresa fall in love again.

The Criticism

- Although the series is a comedy, the movie wasn't very funny.

- Critics say the plot was copied from an episode of "Hannah Montana" in which Miley and Jackson have to make their parents fall in love again. This plot has been done several times in TV shows and movies that came out before "Hannah Montana".

- Justin and Alex levitate rocks and jump over them to cross the canyon. When they are done, the rocks crumble, leaving Archie stranded on the other side. Justin and Alex could have levitated him across the canyon.

- When Justin and Alex are looking for a cave, Alex asks a group of natives for help. But she can't communicate with them because they speak Spanish and she doesn't. So she creates subtitles to understand them. Alex could have made herself speak Spanish so she could communicate with them.

- After speaking a few words to each other, Jerry and Theresa say they are falling for each other. This is unrealistic because all they talked about was spilling drinks on each other and hunting for the Stone of Dreams.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie because it didn't have the usual Disney stereotypes and it was different from other DCOMS. The movie wasn't overly cheesy as other DCOMS are. Though Justin and Alex have brother/sister heart-to-heart moments, they are touching more than annoying. Also, the acting was fantastic. I especially enjoyed Selena Gomez's performance because it was very natural and she was able to cry on cue. In addition, in the TV series I find Harper's character slightly annoying. But in the movie, I thought her performance was realistic. Furthermore, the audience finally sees Alex let her guard down. Alex is a tough girl with a sarcastic attitude but in the movie, she was vulnerable and showed fear of being unable to reunite her parents, and a desire to be perfect like Justin. Moreover, there was a small tribute to Harry Potter. In Harry Potter, buses travel at high-speed and don't collide with other buses - they squeeze beside them. In the scene where Alex and Harper are traveling in a subway cart underground, the subway cart moves the same way. In conclusion, you'll enjoy the movie whether or not you're a fan of the series.



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