The Magician’s Elephant
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After losing his family in a war, 10-year-old Peter is being raised by a sergeant who is training him to be a good soldier. One day he encounters a fortune teller who tells him that his sister, Adel, is still alive, and he can find her by “following the elephant,” launching Peter on a wild quest.
Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) voices Peter, and Sandy Patinkin (Homeland) the sergeant raising him. Benefict Wong plays the magician, Aasif Mandvi (Evil, Madame Secretary) voices the king, and Peter’s kindly neighbor is voiced by Brian Tyree Henry (Oscar nominated for Causeway). Produced by Julia Pistor (Dora and the Lost City of Gold, The Spiderwick Chronicles), the film marks the directorial debut of renowned visual effects veteran Wendy Rogers (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Puss in Boots).
It’s rare to find a film that the grown-ups will want to watch with the kids, one with a truly original story that’s richly cinematic and all new to everyone.
Or all new to everyone as a film, that is. An adaptation of the 2009 Kate DiCamillo novel of the same name, The Magician’s Elephant tells the stirring story of a boy in search of family, belonging, and hope. It’s also an adventure tale, told with vivid animation, magical realism and whimsy.
Most of all, it’s a film that will leave all ages with some much needed optimism.
As the magician says to the Peter, “Extraordinary things are possible… If you believe.”
Our pick for Family Bonding night, The Magician’s Elephant is a refreshing departure from the sequels and remakes of recent kid-friendly films, a transporting story that shows us how to resist cynicism and despair.
This one is for the whole family, 8 and up. (Younger kids might find some of the more harrowing action too frightening.)
Where to find it: In theaters and Streaming on Netflix starting March 17th, 2023.
The cast and production team is as diverse as the worlds created in the film. “The film has such a unique visual style that transports the audience away to another world, one that [director] Wendy Rogers and I wanted to ensure reflects the world as it really is — full of different cultures and beliefs,” producer Julia Pistor shared with Animation Magazine.