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3D Blu-ray Review Thunder and the House of Magic 3D Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    XenForo Template Thunder and the House of Magic 3D Blu-ray Review

    An animated comic adventure for the whole family in beautifully creative 3D sounds almost too good to be true, but for those who have already experienced the work of these wonderful Belgian artists with their two feature film adventures featuring Sammy the sea turtle, Thunder and the House of Magic will be a movie that should jump to the top of 3D must-see lists. While the tale itself is entertaining but not exceptional, the 3D has been so intrinsically woven into the fabric of the storytelling that all the forward projections and incredible depth seems of a piece and is the kind of movie that could easily bring 3D skeptics into the three-dimensional wheelhouse.

    Posted Image


    Studio: Shout! Factory

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 1080P/MVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Rating: Not Rated

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 27 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy

    keep case in a slipcover

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 09/30/2014

    MSRP: $24.97




    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    An abandoned cat (Murray Blue) finds refuge from the rain inside an enormous old mansion with a checkered, spooky history. Inside he finds that the master is elderly magician Lawrence (Doug Stone) who heartily welcomes the young feline, but the magician’s rabbit Jack (George Babbit) and mouse Maggie (Shanelle Gray) are wary of the interloper and try to convince the animatronic toys the magician surrounds himself with to eject the stranger. Lawrence names the cat “Thunder,” and his presence happens to be a good thing when Lawrence’s snake-like realtor/nephew Daniel (Grant George), eager to put his uncle in a rest home so he can sell the property for big bucks, makes his appearance. He’s fiercely allergic to cats, so Thunder’s presence will at least for the moment keep Daniel at bay. But when Lawrence has an accident and lands in the hospital after a charity gig, Daniel tries every trick in the book to gain control of the property and get it sold to one on his list of eager buyers. It’s up to the toys and the living pets to see to it that Daniel doesn’t succeed.If the narrative seems like an amalgamation of Toy Story and Home Alone, that’s not far from the truth, but the screenplay by Dominic Paris, James Flynn, and co-director Ben Stassen still finds plenty of charm and humor in the combination of the toys and animals and, like Toy Story, teaches that only when they work together on a common goal and forget their differences can they effectively manage to thwart their enemies. The film’s primary reason for being, of course, rests with the marvelous 3D set pieces implemented into the movie: fast-paced, slapstick-filled encounters where the house’s inhabitants try everything they can think of to scare off potential buyers or foil Daniel’s schemes to eliminate them. There’s an amazing and hilarious kitchen-set attack on a husband and wife. A pair of burly movers finds more than a few obstacles in their paths as they attempt to clear out the house, and the climactic demolition of the mansion by Daniel operating a ball and crane is a veritable sea of 3D opportunities. There are lots of point of view moments where the camera operates as Thunder’s eyes as he roughs and tumbles his way through various floors of the house, and individual jokes like Maggie using a mousetrap bar for power lifting keeps things light and airy even with the disagreeable Jack jealousy insisting on guarding their territory from a usurper.The non-star voice cast offers more than serviceable performances with the bullying Jack of George Babbit and a firm minded chihuahua voiced by Joey Camen really standing out. Doug Stone makes a kindly and affectionate elderly Lawrence, and Grant George is a steady polar opposite as the scheming Daniel. Murray Blue’s Thunder is a rather generic hero, but that just gives the others more room to shine. Danny Mann and Sage Sommer are funny as the movers who get more than they bargaining for in accepting the job.


    Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: 5/5

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this video presentation with 1080p resolution using the AVC/MVC codec. Colors are gorgeous throughout with bright, shimmering hues that never get out of control, and black levels are really impressive during the stormy night sequences or in the creepy attic when Thunder first enters the house. There is no banding or other distracting artifacts: just a sharp, pristine picture that’s always a pleasure to view. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.The 3D is exceptional from the get-go. From the moment a pair of lovebirds whoosh through the frame and out into the room at the beginning of the film, the viewer knows he’s in the hands of people who understand how to work with 3D to achieve everything it was truly invented for. There are uncountable forward projections: everything from a snapping dog’s muzzle to a spider who lowers itself into the viewer’s face. And when one gets to those slapstick 3D-crammed scenes, the effects come so fast and furiously that one just surrenders to them in a state of giddy helplessness. Depth is also quite impressive throughout with the mansion’s dusty attic and basement areas seemingly doubled in size with the added dimension and the always thoughtfully considered placements of objects within the frame to make for interesting and involving viewing. In short, this is the kind of active, immersive 3D you want to experience in any kind of CGI animated work.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix achieves a marvelous balance of split surround activity and quiet interludes where the speakers are rightfully at peace. There is some welcome directionalized dialogue spread through the movie though naturally most of the dialogue has been placed in the center channel and is always easy to understand. Ramin Djawadi’s busy background score (along with some pop tunes and some classical pieces worked into the mix) get nice spread through the fronts and rears. One terrific effect with a fiery paper dragon gets some neat panning effects across the soundfield, but one wishes more opportunities had been found for that kind of sweeping sound effect.


    Special Features Rating: 3/5

    Origins (4:07, 3D/HD): directors Jeremie Degruson and Ben Stassen tell the basics of the story’s set-up and explain how it was adapted from a short film they had worked on earlier that ran only 12 or 13 minutes.Character Animation (4:40, 3D/HD): Jeremie Degruson explains the four stages the work goes through to reach a finished product, the initial stages of which they spend a long time on since they don’t have the Hollywood budgets to scrap already animated sequences and start over. They are storyboards-layouts-computer animation-final compositing. A segment of the madcap kitchen sequence is shown in four windows showing the different stages of work.Soundtrack (3:45, 3D/HD): Ben Stassen speaks fondly of composer Ramin Djawadi whom he has used on all of his films while we’re shown the composer conducting the orchestra recording the soundtrack music.Trailers (1:26, 2:05, 3D/HD): the teaser trailer and the theatrical trailer are each offered separately.DVD/Digital Copy: the disc and code sheet are enclosed in the case.


    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    This film was released theatrically as The House of Magic and has been retitled Thunder and the House of Magic on the cover of this Walmart exclusive 3D release (the film still carries the original title). While it may not be the most innovative story and the quality of the animation is still a bit behind the glorious (and much more expensive) Hollywood CGI productions, it’s the 3D that makes this a can’t-miss home video experience. So, don’t miss it!


    Reviewed By: Matt Hough


    Support HTF when you buy this title:

     
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  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Thank you for the review, Mike.

    Hate these damn Walmart exclusives.

    Been trying to order this for the past week. Out of stock online. I refuse
    to even step inside a Walmart if I don't really need to.

    So....I am going to have to wait on this title for awhile.

    Hear the 3D is really spectacular so it will be worth the wait.
     
  3. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    One small thing, it's 1.85:1 aspect ratio and not 2.40:1 but other than that a great review.
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Actually here it's 1.78:1. I must have been asleep at the wheel when I was typing. It's fixed now.
     
  5. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Let's not split hairs, most 1.85:1 films tend to be shown 1.78:1 on blu ray. :) :3dglasses:
     
  6. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Ron,
    Give $20 to someone you know who will step into a Walmart and get it for you. You'll even get change after taxes!
    It's well worth it.
     
  7. Adam Gregorich

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    I'd step into a Walmart for this, but all my local ones are out of stock. I've even looked at Shout Factory's store
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Firstly, I need to thank PhillyRobot for sending me a copy of this Blu-ray.
    Awfully generous thing to do, and I want him to know how thankful I am
    for his generosity. If not for him, it would have been weeks before I had
    this copy in hand. THANK YOU.

    Watched the Blu-ray this afternoon.

    Really enjoyed this film. A considerably well done animated effort.

    The 3D is pretty spectacular, though not exactly as spectacular as I had hoped.

    There's lots of forward projection. Just wish it was even more pronounced than
    it already was. Still short of the kind of pop-out in Sammy's Adventures.

    That being said, this still ranks as one of the best animated 3D features available
    thanks in great part to its outstanding levels of depth and attempts at pop-out
    gimmickry.

    Really, this is a fun film.

    I am going to place it very high on my Top 3D list when I update it in the next
    few days. May even do a complete review.
     
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  9. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Roland,


    Thanks for spotting and posting this.


    What a really terrific price for a really great 3D movie with nice pop-out effects.


    One of the better 3D titles out there. Grab it!
     
  11. moovtune

    moovtune Stunt Coordinator

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    Watched this last night. Have to agree with the comments about very good 3D effects. More "in-your-face" animation than most 3D titles. Lots of colorful fun. I watched it on my 70" Sharp but will be checking it out again on my 110" projection this weekend.
     
  12. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Anyone have problems playing the 3D disc? I put it in the 3D Blu-ray player but for some reason it's not recognizing the 3D and only plays in 2D.
     
  13. phillyrobt

    phillyrobt Second Unit

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    Any luck? Haven't tried mine yet
     
  14. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Someone said try powering up Blu-ray player, then receiver, then projector, etc.
     
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