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Cast: Asher Angel, Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou,
Jack Grazer, Ethan Pugiotto
Directed by: David Sandberg
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: April 15, 2019

What would you do if an ancient wizard suddenly named you his successor and gifted you with unknown powers? If you’re like Billy and his best friend Freddy, you’ll start experimenting, meaning falling flat on your face a lot as you try to leap tall buildings in a single bound (you can’t.) And you’ll puzzle over why you were chosen.

This is a lighthearted movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet has some profound things to say about who is worthy to hold power and what makes a family. It is also the warmest, most loving portrayal of a good foster family I’ve ever seen.

The movie doesn’t actually start with Billy but with another boy who years ago met the wizard and desperately wanted to be chosen. He was rejected and as a result grows up to be the villain, Dr. Sivana. He has turned into an evil genius and a threat to the world.

Billy is a teenager who has been in foster homes for years ever since he got separated from his mother at a carnival. He runs away from every home. All he wants is to find his mother. Now, in a new and loving home, he tries to ignore it but becomes friends with Freddy, his foster brother. He defends him against school bullies and that’s when the wizard chooses him. The wizard had been getting desperate to find a successor and decides Billy is it.

Of course, the villain is soon involved, determined to seize the power for himself by destroying Billy. There are monsters to be fought and meantime, Billy is learning to trust his new family.

The fate of the world is at stake.

Does it end happily? Is the whole movie an origin story so there can be many more?

It’s not original but it doesn’t pretend to be. It is simply good fun.

Reviewed by Marian Powell

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