2014 Certificate: u

Synopsis

Thunder the cat (voiced by Murray Blue) plays fast and loose with his nine lives when he attempts to keep the enchanted mansion owned by kindly magician The Illustrious Lorenzo out of the clutches of his greedy estate agent nephew. Recruiting the wacky talents of Lorenzo's animated props - including mischievous automatons and gung-ho gizmos - the rag-tag gang repel all trespassers including snooty would-be buyers and muscle-bound removal men. Colourful animated fun for younger audiences.

Directors

  • Jeremy Degruson

  • Ben Stassen

Cast

  • Murray Blue

  • Emily Blunt

  • Cinda Adams

  • Edward Asner

  • George Babbit

Review

The team behind the Sammy the turtle movies head back to dry land for this engagingly imaginative yarn based on the exploits of Thunder the cat.

After being dumped in the street by his callous owners, the plucky young tabby seeks shelter from a storm in what he assumes is an abandoned old house.

However, it's the dusty home of retired magician Lawrence (aka The Illustrious Lorenzo), who lives there with a small menagerie, including grumpy rabbit Jack and his mean sidekick mouse Maggie, and a whirring, clanking army of automatons, ranging from a mechanical chef to a break-dancing light-bulb.

Treated suspiciously as a usurper by Jack and Maggie, Thunder soon proves his worth when left to protect the house after Lawrence winds up in hospital and his rapacious nephew Daniel sneakily seeks to sell the old pile behind his back.

The vividly-realised contraptions are the principal draw here as the splendid animation brings them clanking to life.

Highlights include an unpleasant prospective buyer despatched after being doused with the contents of the kitchen cupboards and two house clearance lugs - one bearing a close resemblance to Sly Stallone - fleeing the gaff after being convinced it's haunted.

The script and characterisation aren't quite so cute but it's a visual banquet the ankle-biters will be happy to feast on.

Tim Evans