Thunder and the House of Magic (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 5, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Thunder and the House of Magic” shows great promise of 3D animated films coming out of Europe but also a film that will most definitely entertain the young and the young at heart. An enjoyable family film, “Thunder and the House of Magic” is a film worth watching!
TITLE: Thunder and the House of Magic
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, French and English DTS HD-MA 5.1 and 2.0, Closed Captions
COMPANY: Shout! Factory/Student Canal
RATED: For all ages, contains some mild cartoon violence
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Directed by Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen
Screenplay by James Flynn, Dominic Paris, Ben Stassen
Story by Ben Stassen
Produced by Adrian Politowski, Ben Stassen, Caroline Van Iseghem, Gilles Waterkeyn
Executive Producer: Olivier courson, Eric Dillens
Line Producer: Vincent Philbert
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Casting by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris
Art Direction by Jeremy Degruson
Featuring the voices of:
Cinda Adams as Nurse Baxter
Murray Blue as Thunder/Dylan
George Babbit as Jack/Carlo/Zoltar
Grant George as Daniel
Joey Camen as Chihiuahua
Shanelle Gray as Maggie
Nina Grillo as Audrey
Danny Mann as Dimitri
Sage Sommer as Izzy
THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC is a whimsical animated family adventure, bringing to life a unique story with a great sense of humor, positive values and universal appeal. Brimming with spectacular animation and endearing characters, this internationally acclaimed motion picture delivers a fun and captivating movie experience for the entire family.
The film tells the story of Thunder, an abandoned young cat who stumbles into a magical old mansion operated by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. Owned by a retired magician, the house is occupied by an assortment of his wacky assistants who don’t all welcome the new houseguest. But when the magician lands in the hospital and his scheming nephew puts the mansion up for sale, our young hero and his new friends join forces to save their magical home.
Filled with laughter and adventure, THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC is a wonderful tale that you and your little ones will love.
From directors Ben Stassen and Jeremy Degruson (both directed “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventure” and “Fly Me to the Moon 3D”) comes the Belgian-French-American, 3D Animated film titled “Thunder and the House of Magic”.
Released around Christmas time in 2013, the film had a limited release in the United States in Sept. 2014.
And now, “Thunder and the House of Magic” was released in the United States on 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD and Digital Copy courtesy of Shout! Factory.
The film revolves around an abandoned kitten (voiced by Murray Blue) . Scared, alone and nearly ran over by cars, Thunder finds a home in an old scary mansion, home of the former magician Lawrence the Magician (portrayed by Doug Stone).
While the kitten tries to look for help because he is lost, he is kicked out by Jack Rabbit (voice by George Babbit) and Maggie Mouse (voiced by Shanelle Gray).
But the resilient kitten goes back into Lawrence’s home and watches the magician talking to his toys that have come alive.
Meanwhile, Lawrence’s nephew Daniel (portrayed by Grant George) warns his uncle that his bills are late and he wants nothing more than his uncle to sell the house. As Daniel is thinking about himself and wanting to sell his uncle’s house and make a profit.
As the kitten makes the noise and is discovered by Lawrence, he is welcomed into the home and named Thunder. But Jack and Maggie are not thrilled about Thunder joining the family.
But one day as Lawrence is going to a job, he gets into a biking accident and is taken to the hospital. With Lawrence injured, Daniel looks to take advantage of Lawrence and sell the house.
Knowing that Lawrence is in deep trouble, Thunder, Jack, Maggie and friends try to help Lawrence by doing whatever is possible to make sure Daniel doesn’t sell the house.
“Thunder and the House of Magic” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). It’s important to note that if you have a 3D enabled Blu-ray player and television, you will be able to take advantage of the 3D of this film or watch the film in 2D.
In 3D, the 3D is more about depth and there are times where you see Thunder coming straight at you. But if anything, the 3D is primarily depth-driven and while for adults, the 3D is pretty much standard, for children, I do know that my 11-year-old though the 3D was very cool!
Now for it’s 2D, the animation is well-rendered as there is great detail on the animal fur, the closeups on the threading of clothing, the surfaces of rock or vases are well-featured. If anything, the film looks great in HD and colors are vibrant and beautiful.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Thunder and the House of Magic” is presented in French and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or DTS-HD Master Audio. The 5.1 soundtrack is fantastic as action scenes show really good immersion and because the amount of action, there is good use of the surround channels. Dialogue, sound effects and Ramin Djawdi’s musical score are crystal clear.
“Thunder and the House of Magic” comes with the following special features:
- Origins – (4:07) The crew discusses how “Thunder and the House of Magic” became an animated film.
- Character Animation – (4:40) A featurette about the approach to design for “Thunder and the House of Magic”.
- Soundtrack – (3:43) A featurette about how Ramin Djawadi would come to create the music for “Thunder and the House of Magic”.
- Teaser – (1:26) The teaser trailer for “Thunder and the House of Magic”
- Trailer – (5:59) The theatrical trailer for “Thunder and the House of Magic”.
“Thunder and the House of Magic” comes with both the Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy version of the film. Also, a slipcover is included.
I always feel that any animated film on 3D is great for the family. The more the better, especially if you invested in the technology.
“Thunder and the House of Magic” is an entertaining and safe family film about an abandoned kitten that wants to find a home. Of course, when he finds a home, the other animals that live in the house are not too welcoming of another animal of joining the family.
The film manages to capture the “Toy Story” feel with its toys coming alive inside the magical house that the magician Lawrence lives in. And then you have the antagonist, Daniel, the nephew of Lawrence who wants nothing more but to sell the house and make a quick profit. Of course, the animals and the toys do whatever is necessary to prevent the house from being sold.
“Thunder and the House of Magic” is not a deep animated film for children but a fun, straightforward film that children can laugh and be entertained by its storyline.
The film is easy for children to follow and whether they watch the film in 2D or 3D, they should have a lot of fun watching it.
While the film doesn’t have the magic of the “Toy Story” films, the Belgian-French-American production features well-rendered character designs and animals and surrounds which are well-detailed. While the 2D features a colorful palette, the 3D does work quite nicely. While not the best 3D animated film, the 3D of the film features very good depth and use of 3D works well to entertain the young children.
The lossless soundtrack is crisp and clear and there are moments with good immersion, while there are a few special features included.Thunder and the House of Magic (
Overall, “Thunder and the House of Magic” shows great promise of 3D animated films coming out of Europe but also a film that will most definitely entertain the young and the young at heart. An enjoyable family film, “Thunder and the House of Magic” is a film worth watching!
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