'The Portable Door' Review: MGM+ fantasy adventure falls flat with average plot and half-baked execution

'The Portable Door' Review: MGM+ fantasy adventure falls flat with average plot and half-baked execution
Patrick Gibson and Sophie Wilde in 'The Portable Door' (The Jim Henson Company/ YouTube)

Spoilers for 'The Portable Door'

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: MGM+ just released their young adult fantasy adventure film titled 'The Portable Door' starring Christoph Waltz, Sam Neill, and Patrick Gibson. It is based on the book with the same title by Tom Holt.

The story surrounds a young man named Paul Carpenter (played by Patrick Gibson), who joins JW Wells & Co as a common intern and soon finds himself embroiled in a world of strange creatures, secret agendas, and magical mayhem.


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Average plot, terrible execution 

'The Portable Door', as the name mentions, is all about finding a magical door disguised as a towel which Humphrey lost, that can transport you to any place in the world (reminiscent of the children's favorite anywhere door in the popular manga series 'Doraemon'). The premise may seem interesting and builds up expectations of carrying viewers on an amazing adventure journey, but falls flat almost with the same intensity.

Coveted actors Christoph Waltz and Sam Neill had to pour out more than what was expected of them to carry out this project. Patrick Gibson tried his best to portray a nervous young guy in his 20s looking for a job, toiling to pay rent, amid other struggles. Christoph Waltz was in his usual villainous avatar incorporating humor into his cruel personality. Sam Neill is the middle manager during the day, and head of the Goblins after hours. But there is no depth which brings us to our next point. Something we noticed throughout the entire film is that none of the characters were given a proper back story nor were there any hints to their past lives other than Humphrey's tussle as a child with his father. Well, Patrick and Sophie's characters could have had more background as we couldn't relate to either of them because they had no past.


The employees of the extravagant establishment, JW Wells & Co, seem to bear no resemblance to anything that we experience in our lives. Misplaced jokes, dialogues that feel forced, unnecessarily long conversations that add little to no value to the plot, or the characters that dragged the film down to its knees. The first 70 odd minutes were very difficult to sit through as with each passing minute, expectations were slipping. Though the last 20-odd minutes were somewhat bearable, it still failed to compensate for the poor show it displayed throughout. What could have been a 15-minute climax was dragged to 30-plus minutes with unnecessary dialogue repetitions, tacky twists that don't make sense, and long conversations that again, have no value whatsoever (not a surprise). The music was underwhelming as well as parts of the score sounded like they have been lifted from 'Interstellar', especially the scene where Paul and Sophie are trapped in the Nether which again looks awfully similar to the Tesseract in 'Interstellar'. The only thing worth noting is that the scenes are pleasing as the color correction looks spot on. 


The plot falls flatter than a pancake on a Sunday morning

Overall, 'The Portable Door' is a forgettable project with an average plot coupled with subpar execution. The legendary status of Sam and Waltz couldn't save the film as it desperately tries to put itself forward but fails due to a collapsing story. There was a lot of potential in the project in terms of plot and acting prowess, but it falls flatter than a pancake on a Sunday morning.

'The Portable Door' is available to stream on MGM+

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.

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 'The Portable Door' Review: MGM+ fantasy adventure falls flat with average plot and tacky twists