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Thunder And The House Of Magic (Blu-ray Review)

Thunder-And-The-House-Of-MagicShout! Factory is distributing the animated film Thunder And The House Of Magic this fall exclusively to Walmart stores starting September 30.  So exclusive to Walmart that you can’t even purchase it via the Shout! Factory website.  This animated tale featured a limited theatrical run in the US a few weeks ago and was released wide in Belgium last year around Christmas time.  The film has a lot of notable music included in the feature including songs by The Cure and Selena Gomez.

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Film 

A young cat his abandoned roadside by his family in front of a large house.  He enters to find it full of haunts and tricks.  Its owned by an old aging magician who redubbs the cat “Thunder”.  Thunder is not welcomed however by two of the inhabitants Jack Rabbit and Maggie Mouse.  The magicians falls ill and is rushed to the hospital.  While relegated to a bed, his devious nephew tries to cash in on the old man’s property.  Thunder takes it upon himself to earn his place and save the day and the house.

What we have here is one of those movies that skews plenty toward the kids’ angle in terms of entertainment and enjoyment.  It features a paper-thin plot and devices to progress to a conclusion that you only see in these type of movies.  The film isn’t some unmitigated disaster of any sort, but its very “ho-hum” if you’re not a kid.  Which, speaking of kids, my two and a half year old did find it pretty satisfactory.

Thunder has some really cool visuals in depicting its house as haunted and also decorating it with vintage magician tools and sets.  For the discovery portion of the movie I really wasn’t caring too much about the plot or what was going on, I was moreso marveling at the film’s visuals.  The character of Jack Rabbit has some absolutely outstanding work done for him.  The detail on his movement and hair is pretty wowing.  However, once you’ve got it down it, that brush with awe is over and you have to settle into the stereotypical “save the house from being torn down/sold” plot.

One thing I was also surprised by, was hearing The Cure early on in the film.  Not many kids movies can boast that kind of cool street cred.  I was expecting the music to be second rate Disney-esque songs due to the box promoting the fact that Selena Gomez has a song featured in the film.  Not the case.  The score of the film is also pretty impressive for something of this nature.

For an adult this is sort of a bystander/passerby kind of film, but its not without its merits.  The makers of this film really tried to make something big and special.  And for kids, this might be just that.  I was definitely enjoying the animation for a good portion of it (the POV stuff is really cool), and liking the vintage haunted house and magician attire.  Your kids will definitely like the movie and you’ll find some thing to enjoy early on, but it will start to drag at a point before you get to the end.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Crisp clean animation featuring details down to the hair of Thunder himself.  While the image is sharp and well manufactured, there is a sense of it seeming reserved.  The image feels like its almost to the point of being pretty vibrant.  That’s just a personal observation.  The picture is pretty grand though, and displays the animation as I’m sure it was intended.

Depth:  This is a 3D film, so of course the depth is well above average.  There are many POV scenes that follow things like a rail or rope that are the big highlights of this transfer.  There’s also plenty of good depth revolving around the staircase in the foyer of the old house.

Black Levels: Blacks are solid and do a real good job of shading.  Not much detail is hidden by the black levels on the transfer.

Color Reproduction:  Colors stick out plenty good.  They seem to be based on a more simplified palette, making it pretty easy to put all the focus into this simplified color scheme.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts:  None

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French SDH

Dynamics:  This is a pretty solid track.  It doesn’t do anything outstanding, but it more than gets the job done.  Effects and the like

Low Frequency Extension:  Crashing sounds, a wrecking ball machine and thunder are some of the things in the film enhanced by the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Light usage in the rear speakers, mainly ambient noise and muted score.  There is some solid left and right interplay though.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear, clean and front heavy.

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Extras 

Thunder And The House Of Magic comes with a DVD copy and Digital Copy of the film.  The Blu-ray is both capable of 2D and 3D viewing.  All bonus material is in French with English subtitles.

Featurettes

  • Origins (HD, 4:07) – The creators talk about the how they came up with the idea and put it through to becoming the feature length film.
  • Character Animation (HD, 4:40) – Discussion of the animation process and how each character they wanted to resemble a certain classic actor.
  • Soundtrack (HD, 3:45) – Focuses on scoring the film with the composer and creators.

Teaser (HD, 1:26) Trailer (HD, 2:05)

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Summary 

No matter what your format preference, Shout! Factory has you absolutely covered with their release of Thunder And The House Of Magic.  You’ve got Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy.  There is also a small but solid amount of bonus features to go with a very above average presentation.  This is more one for the kids than a general all audiences affair, but hey they get to have theirs too.  And I really think they’ll enjoy Thunder And The House Of Magic, and you might find some things to enjoy as well!  Remember, this is a Walmart exclusive and can be purchased at their stores nationwide on September 30.

Thunder-And-The-House-Of-Magic-Blu-ray

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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