Disclosure: I received a copy of Thunder and the House of Magic for review purposes.
Thunder and the House of Magic is a movie that is fortunate enough to have had enough worldwide success to be receiving a U.S. release on DVD and Blu-ray, available exclusively at Wal-Mart. For a Halloween family movie night, this film is a good choice, as long as parents consider the pros and cons of the movie below.
What it’s about: Thunder is an abandoned kitty who finds solace in the enchanted house of a retired magician Lawrence, a sweet and kindly man who immediately adopts the cat and names him Thunder after a raging storm outside. Yet when the magician winds up in the hospital, his greedy nephew threatens to sell the house and thus destroy everything Lawrence holds dear. Thunder must do everything in his power to help his new owner.
What I loved: Lawrence’s automatons and mechanical toys take on a magical life of their own, and of course the animals have just to much to say in Thunder and the House of Magic as humans. The animation is spectacular in many scenes, throwing the viewer right in the middle of the action. The details in the old Victorian mansion are glorious. This is especially impressive considering the film’s low budget. Thunder is a sweet and gentle central character that will appeal to younger children.
What I didn’t love: For some reason, many of the supporting human characters (and a chihuahua) are unfortunately stereotypes, i.e., the African-American church lady, the big lugs with the Boston accent. At times the actor’s reading of the lines seem canned, as if they didn’t discover the heart of the characters. This may be because the film was recorded in multiple languages, which can also explain some of the moments where it’s apparent the script wasn’t written by a native English speaker. Finally, the “D-word” is unnecessarily inserted four times, not something that parents of young children (this one included) are going to love. This again may be an issue of translation, as the “D-word” in French could have a milder connotation.
Have you seen Thunder and the House of Magic? Tell me what you think below in the comments section!