The House Of Magic
Director: Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen
Starring: Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig
91 mins; Class PG; KRS Releasing Ltd
The House of Magic is a simple, yet entertaining enough, animated feature from Belgian film-makers Ben Stassen and Jeremy Degruson.
Having been abandoned by his family, a cute-as-a-button ginger kitten seeks shelter in an imposing mansion which is owned by the elderly magician Lawrence, also known as The Illustrious Lorenzo.
Lawrence shares his house with pet rabbit Jack, mouse Maggie, doves Carlo and Carla and an astonishing array of tiny robots and other gizmos that do housework as well as performing all sorts of tricks.
In its simplicity lies a sweet story that will appeal
Naming the kitten Thunder, Lawrence welcomes him into his home, to the chagrin of Jack and Maggie.
But they soon realise Thunder’s usefulness when Lawrence ends up in hospital and his scheming nephew Daniel plans to sell the mansion.
The animals and gizmos soon put any animosities aside to band together to obstruct Daniel’s plans.
The House of Magic is based on a short film created by the film-makers a few years ago and expanded into a full-length feature.
The story, by James Flynn, Dominic Paris and Stassen, moves along at a brisk pace and the film boasts enough colourful visual flair to command the children’s attention, while the adults will enjoy a laugh or two.
In Thunder (voiced by Murray Blue) the film has a cute-enough lead character, a lovable old man in Lawrence (Doug Stone), the sort-of bad guys you like despite yourself in Jack and Maggie (George Babbit and Shanelle Grey) and a villain you will love to hate in Daniel (Grant George), with his smarmy attitude, immaculate suits, flashy car and his allergy to cats.
The various gadgets and gizmos that are on offer are an eclectic mix of characters brought to life in bright and very colourful animation.
Discerning film fans used to the sophistication we almost always get from major animation studios like Pixar and DreamWorks may turn their nose up at the simple design and animation on offer here.
But that belies the film’s many charms, for within its simplicity lies a sweet story that will certainly appeal to the younger members of the audience at whom it is firmly aimed.