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House of Magic, The (3D)

8/10

Stars: Voices: Murray Blue, Doug Stone, Grant George, George Babbit, Shanelle Gray, Joey Camen, Cinda Adams, Nina Grillo, Kendra Leif, Joey Lotsko, Millie Mup, Kathleen Browers, Sage Summer, Kyle Herbert

Director: Ben Stassen, Jeremie Degruson

With the European Union anchored in Brussels and enabling its apparatchiks to live high off the Common Market hog, itís hard to think of many good things (apart from their many beers) that currently spring from Belgium.

Which makes this blithely barmy Belgian animated adventure all the more enjoyable and, better still, possibly an unexpected treat for adults who have to accompany youngsters to the movies.

For a start, the 3D cinematography is truly splendid: the opening sequence which follows abandoned young cat Thunder when he takes refuge in a mysterious mansion owned by a retired magician grabs you visually and draws you into the delightfully comic tale of a evil estate agent (is there any other kind?) who attempts to trick his magician uncle into selling the home only to be firmly and forcefully foiled by an army of animals and magical toys determined to save the old man who is now a patient in the same hospital whose kid patients he regularly entertainsÖ

The animated cast is splendid with Thunder near stealing the thunder from his new arch enemies, an evil rabbit and his mouse pal to say nothing of a daffy collection of all-singing, all-dancing magicianís thingamabobs and a pair of pigeons who do sterling service to scare off potential buyers by bombing them with Ė well, Iím sure a description of their self-made Ďbombsí is not necessary.

Itís all good, clean (forgive the pigeons!) fun, splendidly animated with a worthy villain in the cat-allergic estate agent. The only problem accompanying adults might have is with the phrase ď one night standí although experience tells me most kids will be able to explain exactly what that means.

Alan Frank

Belgium 2013. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Jul 2014