The film “Magic Camp,” directed by Mark Waters, was released on Disney+ on Aug. 14. The film features an Institute of Magic—better referred to as a magic camp—where kids spend the summer learning magic tricks. Andy Tuckerman (Adam Devine) is a magician who is in a rut and works as a taxi driver. He gets invited back to the Institute of Magic by his old mentor, Roy Preston (Jeffrey Tambor), to help teach some of the kids. This decision is partially motivated by the chance to beat Andy’s rival, Kris Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs), at the competition that occurs between cabins. Though his motivation is childish, it pushes him to give magic a try again.
Despite a rough start, Andy gradually rediscovers his own love for magic as he helps his cabin of newbies figure out their acts for the big magic show. He bonds the most with a young boy named Theo Moses (Nathaniel McIntyre). Theo is still mourning his father, who introduced him to magic. With encouragement and training from Andy and the rest of his cabin, Theo eventually finds the confidence to perform at the magic show. The competition at the end shows how the student-and-mentor relationships between Andy and his cabin pushed them all to grow.
Overall, “Magic Camp” is a simple, lighthearted film. The characters are pretty simple, many of them defined by their one specialty for the magic show. A lot of the characters’ relationships are explained to the audience through dialogue rather than shown through interactions. This is what makes the film very simple.
One example is the relationship between Andy and Kris. The film hints that there is conflict between them, but the reason is revealed through Andy confiding in Theo. A more complex way would have been to showcase more moments of rivalry. The exception to this method of explanation was Theo’s relationship with his father, which is portrayed through flashbacks throughout the film. Generally, the use of “telling” rather than “showing” makes the film straightforward and easily understood. It was interesting to see how the kids learned magic tricks, although there were fewer scenes of this than I expected. The film comes across as cheesy and plays into some clichés, but it is still a decently enjoyable movie.