Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. Not everyone welcomes the new addition to the troupe as Jack Rabbit and Maggie Mouse plot to evict Thunder. The situation gets worse when the magician lands in hospital and his scheming nephew sees his chance to cash in by selling the mansion. Our young hero is determined to earn his place and so he enlists the help of some wacky magician's assistants to protect his magical new home. Written by
nWave Pictures Distribution
Most European animations intended for the mass market are often very disappointing either in a lame script or bland animation. Usually it is Hollywood that rules the roost here, but The House of Magic was a pleasantly surprising film released (in the UK) in a summer already overcrowded with family fare.
Admittedly this film is aimed at a much younger market than say, the Marvel Films but nonetheless it is still doing the rounds where other animation like The Nut Job, How to train your dragon 2 and Planes 2 are also on release. I am a little surprised the distributors put it out during the summer because it obviously won't have the same kind of publicity as those big American productions but nonetheless I am glad to see it has been reasonably well received because it is actually quite watchable and likable. Although I saw the film in 2D I could see the scenes designed for the 3D release and can quite understand those that think its is one of the better 3D releases.
The story is not terribly sophisticated, an abandoned little ginger kitten wanders into a spooky house and ends up fighting a greedy real estate agent who is trying to sell it behind his elderly magician uncle's back. After a sub plot involving the Rabbit and a mouse trying to get rid of the kitten the kitten ultimately ends up teaming up with the other inhabitants of the house (Rabbit, mouse, two lovebirds and various sentient inventions) plus two sick children to thwart him. The film does drag in a few places and is quite predictable but is extremely well animated, has fun with it's music cues (watch out for some classic British pop music from the 1980s) and will ultimately leave children and adults with a big grin on their face as the end credits roll. The script could have done with a few more laughs but anybody who has ever owned a cat will recognize how well translated the mannerisms of 'Thunder' the kitten have been done.
Ultimately I found this to be an undemanding, very well animated and perfectly serviceable little film that has no offensive elements (although I agree with a previous reviewer who found the callous way the kitten is abandoned by its original owner to be a little bit upsetting). Nonetheless the film moves on quickly from that start and the reasons why he was abandoned are briefly addressed in the story (economic recession).
I was going to give this film a 6 but 'Thunder' is such a cute creation and probably the most lovable cat in a film since Puss in Boots from Shrek that I gave it a 7.
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