Curiosity almost kills the cat in The House Of Magic.
Set largely within the confines of an ageing conjurer’s home, Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen’s undemanding computer-animated fantasy centres on a discarded feline, whose pluck and determination overcome adversity.
The film doesn’t overstay its welcome at a brisk 85 minutes and boasts flashes of visual brio. That inventiveness is shoe-horned into lively opening sequences, which cut back and forth between a traditional third-person perspective and the four-legged hero’s point of view as he clambers up a tree or cowers beneath oncoming traffic.
There’s a quickening of the pulse, especially in 3D, as the camera replicates the tentative scamper of the cat along a branch as the animal prepares to leap the divide to an open window.
Sadly, Degruson and Stassen lose the will to push visual boundaries as the story unfolds and the grand finale, involving a snivelling villain and a wrecking ball, is an anti-climax.
Older children will have to amuse themselves because the animation lacks the sophistication of Pixar, while the script operates on a single unchallenging level.
Solid vocal performances complement the characters, with fleeting comic relief from Carmen’s pooch, who boldly claims to be “the Marlon Brando of Chihuahuas”.