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HOUSE OF MAGIC 3D, THE

SYNOPSIS:
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.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's the whimsy and mix of lovable characters that make this animated family film from Belgium a winner, especially for the youngsters, who will giggle and warm to the colourful visuals. An abandoned cat finds a new family with an eccentric magician who lives in a ramshackle home, along with a resentful rabbit, a long-lashed mouse and a magic trunk full of animated toys. It's a bit of a mish-mash of various films, but that doesn't detract from its enjoyment.

In the opening sequence, we are there as Thunder the cute, ginger cat with the saucer eyes is flung out of a removal van, has a couple of near misses with oncoming traffic and ends up in the attic of a mysterious old house filled with dusty books, giant spiders, toys, ladders and clutter owned by Lawrence the magician. There's a toy monkey that beats a drum, a wooden doll that dances, a bubble machine that blows, a toy telephone that rings, a mobile light globe called Edison and two resident lovebirds, Carlo and Carla, who make a habit of targeted their deposits on unwanted visitors. There's also a Chihuahua who calls himself the Marlon Brando of Chihuahuas.

There's a push pull effect as Thunder is welcomed into the fray by its elderly magician owner but not by the animals that pull the strings: Jack, the 68th rabbit in a litter of 80 and his little white mouse sidekick Maggie. The plot involves Lawrence's money-grubbing real-estate nephew Daniel, who wants to push his uncle into a retirement home and sell his property. The way Thunder, Jack, Maggie and team group together to detract prospective purchasers followed by the burly removalists is amusing although it is the execution rather than the script, that gives the film its bite. The animation (in 2D and 3D) is charming and it's easy to embrace the diverse mix of characters that are voiced by a strong voice cast.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

THE HOUSE OF MAGIC 3D (G)
(US, 2013)

VOICES: Cinda Adams, Edward Asner, George Babbit, Murray Blue, Kathleen Browers, Joey Camen, Grant George

DIRECTOR: Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen

SCRIPT: James Flynn, Dominic Paris, Ben Stassen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeremy Degruson (Art Direction)

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: StudioCanal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: NSW, Qld, Vic: September 18; SA, WA, ACT, NT, Tas: September 25, 2014







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