This is very much a generic run of the mill kids camp movie. It just has a dash of magician based magic to it, and some light heartfelt moments. I specify that specifically to note that this isn’t a fantasy type of film. It follows a sad cab driver Andy (Adam Devine) that has nothing going on in his life, not even driving Uber as mentioned many times in the film. He looks onwards at the successful Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs) and wishes things were different. It’s at that point that a past presence comes into play, Preston (Jeffrey Tambor) from the Institute of Magic.
Preston has a spot open for a teacher over the summer and invites Andy as a late pick option to come on over. This creates a meeting between Andy and a group of quirky kids that all have their own problems. The rest from there is exactly as you might imagine it. Some awkward times, fun moments and other typical kid camp movie types of situations. It doesn’t really do anything new, or unique and just adds a slight splash of magic to it.
There are of course some dynamics with the kids, they’ve each got their own issues though nothing too heavy is shown when it comes to the emotional aspects. There’s also a deep and very lightly dark back story behind the connection of Andy and Darkwood that’s dove into. Just nothing really unique here, a somewhat boring time and very generic. The younger audience might find this as a fine watch, but they’ve likely seen better takes on this setup.
The acting was generally fine, decent I suppose. The kids were ok as well, for the most part. This was largely headed by Devine’s performance and he seemed excited to be around the young ones so that worked well. The magic that was showcased was fun to see, though I felt they could have went more elaborate with what was shown at times.
It makes sense to showcase the basics since the kids are learning, at the same time they were doing some rather wild things too. Some of the stuff seemed very mystical in terms of the setup, but it is largely grounded. I would have liked to see more of the other camp groups, or even some additional competitions or confrontations.
It was really centered around just Andy, and not even a whole lot of Darkwood. It would have been nice to have multiple perspectives included, and it really was just centered around the core group of kids and like two others from another group that at times mixed either in a friendly or negative way with the core quirky squad.
Magic Camp is a fairly generic camp type film that doesn’t really do anything new, and just adds a slight splash of magic in order to try and stand out. They really don’t do a whole lot with the characters. It’s about finding your thing, and it’s something I felt I had seen a dozen times prior. I think the main kid’s back story was handled well, that was a highlight of this.
At the same time, there weren’t many established characters aside from everything following the main character Andy, and then somehow that didn’t really matter towards the ending. It was sort of disjointed in that regard, and I felt they could have done better with this one. It’s definitely a fine watch for the younger audience out there, but it’s painfully generic and lacking any sort of unique edge to it.
I didn’t really find it too entertaining, and they could have pushed the magic more. It was just such a weird balance of basics, and then wildly random advanced magic. It just didn’t do much to establish the area, the groups at play or even what it was necessarily trying to say outside of kids with strange quirks finding their strengths.
Magic Camp Review at Home with Streamed Viewing