The House of Magic is the animated world's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, without the chocolate. And yes, it's fun, charming, cute, colourful, and magical.
In the beginning of the film we see a cat which has fallen from a car packed to the rafters with a family's possessions. It looks like the family is moving away, and unfortunately for the cat, after falling out of the car he's left alone.
He encounters a Mexican Chihuahua, who's a bit stuck up and won't help him find a new home. So the cat is left to roam around the neighborhood until he stumbles into an old large house. He enters and encounters Maggie the mouse and Jack the rabbit. They aren't too keen with a cat taking over their territory as they know their owner, Lawrence the magician, loves cats. So they tell him to go away and don't come back. But what does the cat do?
He needs a home badly, so he goes back to the house later in the day, climbs up a tree, and see Lawrence in a room surrounded by all of his gizmos and gadgets. The cat jumps into the room, and immediately Lawrence loves what he sees, and names the cat Thunder. But Maggie and Jack don't want Thunder to stay, so they devise ways to get him out of the house. Meanwhile, Lawrence's scheming nephew Daniel wants uncle Lawrence out of his house so that he can sell it to make a lot of money. Unfortunately, Lawrence ends up in the hospital after a mishap, and this gives Daniel the chance to start showing the house to potential buyers. But Jack, Maggie and Thunder are having none of that. They will do anything to deter anyone from entering the house, including Daniel, who is highly allergic to cats.
So all the gizmos, gadgets and other pets of house band together to save their home. This includes the lovebirds Carla and Carlo, lightbulb Edison, ballerina doll Clara, and mustached toy Gunther. And then there are Chef, Bubble Tom, and the Gizmos, who are all sorts of gadgets, along with a load of other characters that magician Lawrence has created, which come to life.
While Lawrence is in the hospital recuperating and entertaining the sick kids with his magic, Daniel shows the house to potential buyers, including a very rich couple. But before they can walk in the house, the lovebirds poop all over them. Other buyers show up, including a rich artsy fartsy couple, and the gang do their best to deter them, trapping the wife in the kitchen while subjecting her to a cooking frenzy she will never forget. Will the inhabitants of the house keep Daniel from selling their home? And what about magician Lawrence? Will he ever come back home from the hospital or will Daniel succeed in putting him in an old folks home? And what about the pets, gizmos and gadgets of the house? What will happen to them?
There are actually 50 characters in The House of Magic, all very unique and entertaining. And they are what makes this Belgian animated movie stand out from other animated movies. Sure, this is not the creation of Pixar or Disney, but Director and Producer Ben Stassen, who also co-wrote the screenplay with James Flynn and Dominic Paris, has created a unique film experience, not just for children but for adults as well. Who would have thought of a dancing camera (Cronien), or a Handy hand, or a water bottle called Sprinkly who waters the plants in the house and gets up to no good?
At 85 minutes, The House of Magic is a bit short, but believe me you will get your money's worth with a great movie that may be the best animated film of the year.
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