31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
More Endearing Than Any Individual Episode,
This review is from: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (Extended Edition) (DVD)
Though each individual episode of the hit Disney Channel TV show "Wizards of Waverly Place" is fun and quirky in its own right, all the material (acting, plot, witty one-liners) seems to fly by so fast that the viewer isn't left with much real emotion. It's almost as if the show gets so caught up in the formula (Alex does bad but prevails, Justin does good but never gets rewarded, etc.) that it doesn't take enough time to slow down and really examine the relationships between any of the characters. Luckily, the "Wizards of Waverly Place" movie solves that problem.
For a basic plot summary, the magical Russo family begins the film with Mom and Dad dragging the kids off on a vacation to recreate their honeymoon. The usual eye-rolling and complaints begin, but Alex (played by the always-entertaining Selena Gomez) takes things one step too far by metaphorically wishing (while holding the family's magic wand) that her parents had never even met, thus they wouldn't be on this "stupid vacation" in the first place. Of course, thanks to the wand, that wish is granted, and suddenly the Russo siblings are no longer part of a family, as Mom and Dad don't even recognize each other. The rest of the film, then, centers on the kids' quest to find the "Stone of Dreams", a magical, enchanted item that can grant any wish or reverse any spell.
With the expanded feature-length runtime, the plot and character development of the film are able to be realized much more deeply than in any previous episode. We get to learn more about both parents and why they are like they are, as well as how the Russo children (namely Justin and Alex) view each other and what can be done to better those relations. In a touching scene that just might make you start to see through some mist, both Alex and Justin come to terms with each other involving the sometimes-bitter sibling rivalry that has existed between them from the very beginning. This plot line is also a great message for younger children, promoting the values of family and working together.
As usual, the acting is also spot-on. Dad (David DeLuise) and Mom (Maria Canals-Barrera) are at their over-the-top best, while Alex (Gomez) and Justin (David Henrie) are constantly involved in a brilliant give-and-take that will have you both laughing and misting over at different occasions. Even youngest brother Max (Jake T. Austin) hits all the right buttons as the somewhat dumb-founded, yet very innocent bringer of the more physical comic relief.
So, considering this film's ability to delve deeper into the relationships between each character, I consider it to be a rousing success and look forward to great things from the show going forward. Plus, the climax of the final results in the long-awaited "Wizard Challenge", which will determine the Russo child who will come away with the magical powers into adulthood and thus set the stage for Season Three on the Disney Channel.