A nWave Pictures, Studio Canal International, Anton Capital Entertainment, Umedia Film
Animated, Adventure, Family
Doug Stone as Lawrence
George Babbit as Zoltar / Jack / Carlo
Murray Blue as Thunder / Dylan
Kathleen Browers as Carla
Shanelle Gray as Maggie
Grant George as Daniel
Sage Sommer as Izzy
Danny Mann as Dimitri
Joey Camen as Chihiuahua
Nina Grillo as Audrey
2013 (USA) 2014 (UK)
Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos.
When I saw the trailer for this one, the first thing that struck me was that it felt a little bit like a Neil Gaiman story but a bit softer, which intrigued me so I took my little lad to see it.
Now that I have seen this one I have to admit that I have completely fell in love with it. It's true that the story itself doesn't exactly break new ground but it's handled with such a grace and gentle nature that it's nigh on impossible to not fall head over heels with it.
This co-production with France really has a nice flair to it that you don't seem to get in movies from the guys at Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks and the others. That flair is the most present in the set design and the scenery. There really is a nice style to the movies various settings that really wouldn't be out of place in a Neil Gaiman story.
At the heart of the story is not only the emotional heart involving the cat Thunder being abandoned and just wanting to find somewhere to live and be loved but also the emotion around the character of Lawrence. His story is one of kindness yet also sadness at the same time. His hurt at also being abandoned by his nephew Daniel, who wants to sell the house from under him is really well written and performed by Doug Stone.
The gadgets and characters in the movie are utterly charming and beautifully animated. I would have liked to have seen a little more back story to the rabbit character Jack so that I could see more of why he was so closed off to new additions to the family or why he had such a grouchy personality. Yet near the action packed ending of the movie, he felt a little bit forgotten.
As I took my son to the movie itself, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention what he thought about it. He was hooked through the entire run time of the movie and absolutely loved the characters. In fact, he was talking about it all the way home and asked if he could go see it again. You can't ask for more than that from a family movie can you?
All in all, while it's not a groundbreaking movie, it is a beautiful one. It's entertaining, charming and exciting enough to keep the little ones attentions. There are a couple of moments that might scare the smaller children, such as Daniel chasing Thunder with a shotgun that I felt was a bit off considering the rest of the movie, but it's well worth taking them to just to see the wonderful sense of wonder and magic.