The House of Magic – Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen
Starring the voices of: Murray Blue, Emily Blunt, Ed Asner, Eugene Levy, Ewan McGreagor, William Shatner
In cinemas July 25th
The latest animation to hit summer screens is this Belgian crossover offering about a cute little Kitty called Thunder who is abandoned by his owners. Lost and alone he is taken in by a kindly magician Lawrence whose home is full of wondrous marvels – and a jealous mouse and rabbit who think he is stealing their place in their masters affections. When Lawrence is hospitalised following an accident his money grabbing estate agent nephew Danny plans to sell up his vast property and thunder and his array of housemates are forced to work together to prevent the sale and ensure they all keep a roof over their heads.
It’s a simple premise that shamelessly steals elements from Toy Story, Home Alone, Beauty and the Beast and many other classics. However in doing so it lacks a feeling of originality. It looks pretty and peppy with colourful animation and plenty of slapstick comedy and thunder is cuteness personified. Unfortunately it is also sorely lacking any “in” jokes to keep parents and guardians amused while the little ones are being mesmerised.
There are some lovely scenes when Lawrence is showing Thunder the wonders of his new home and the magic shows are very cleverly done. The voice cast on the whole do a good job with the material (although there is one character that might be a little too close to a racial stereotype) and it is chirpy enough to keep the children amused for the duration. It is unlikely to be more than a one-time watch for many of them though as the formulaic story and overall lack of razzle dazzle won’t inspire on the whole.
Cute and cheerful this will definitely engage younger children although adults will find themselves counting the minutes to the end.