Magic Tree House is a 2018 American computer-animated wuxia comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Wonder Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan, Kelly Asbury, and Vixi Anderson and written by David Gordon Green, the film is an adaptation/continuation of the books by Mary Pope Osborne. The film features the voices of Owen Laramore, Lulu Wilson, Danny DeVito, Dick Van Dyke, Sandra Oh, Masi Oka, BD Wong, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Dick, and Kathy Najimy.

Magic Tree House
Magic Tree House.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan
Kelly Asbury
Vixi Anderson
Produced by Gary Marsh
Gary Krisel
Mary Thorne
Christopher Chase
Jinko Gotoh
Screenplay by David Gordon Green
Story by Gary Marsh
Gary Krisel
Based on Magic Tree House
by Mary Pope Osborne
Starring Owen Laramore
Lulu Wilson
Dick Van Dyke
Danny DeVito
Sandra Oh
Masi Oka
BD Wong
Cedric the Entertainer
Andy Dick
Kathy Najimy
Music by Hans Zimmer
John Powell
Cinematography Isidore Mankofsky
Stephen Sandoval
Edited by H. Lee Peterson
Production company Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Wonder Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date July 15, 2018
(United States)
July 19, 2018
(China)
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175--200 million
Box office $744 million


The film went into theatrical release in the United States on July 15, 2018 with praise for its story, animation, humor, and the vocal performances of Laramore and Wilson. It has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the second Walt Disney Wonder Studios film to receive this rating on the site. It was also commercially successful, grossing $744 million against its $175--200 million budget. At the 91st Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Animated Feature. It was also the fourth fully animated film in history to receive such a nomination for Best Picture after Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3.

Plot

In Frog Creek Woods, Pennsylvania, Jack (Owen Laramore) surprises his younger sister Annie (Lulu Wilson) with a book for her ninth birthday. Later, they visit the Magic Tree House. Morgan la Fey (Kathy Najimy) assigns them to a mission to bring her three power orbs. Jack and Annie point at the China boo and wish to go there, making the tree house spin faster and faster until everything becomes absolutely still.They enter a cave, where they retrieve the first Orb and spot someone they learn is Overlord Zigness (Danny DeVito) after a pep talk with a squirrel (Kelly Asbury). Zigness kidnaps Annie.

Horrified at what happened to Annie, Jack arrives at Kretschmann (Dick Van Dyke)'s valley on Mount Lu, where he grabs the second orb and unintentionally ends up in the midst of a training regime that demonstrates the one destined to defeat Zigness. To the astonishment of everyone present, Jack most of all, Kretschmann's mentor and friend Nepcar (Cedric the Entertainer) proclaims Jack as the chosen warrior.

Unwilling to accept Nepcar's decision and believing it to be an accident, Kretschmann tries to dispose of Jack with a harsh training regime. Jack successfully overcomes the regime, which impresses Phillip (BD Wong) and Kyle (Masi Oka), though Asia (Sandra Oh) is rather as sour towards him as Kretschmann. That night, Asia berates Jack as a menace with no potential in martial arts. Distraught at losing his sister being his fault, Jack vows to find Annie and the orb by himself, but after receiving encouragement from Nepcar, he returns to the valley to make amends with Asia and Kretschmann.

Asia tells him that Zigness was found as an infant by Kretschmann, who trained him when he show talent in kung fu. When Nepcar denied Zigness his destiny, Zigness lost his temper, betrayed Kretschmann, attacked the townspeople, and tried to kill Kretschmann by force. Though Nepcar was able to stop him, Zigness' betrayal caused Kretschmann to become cold and distant. With help from their friend Bazahr the hawk (Andy Dick), who tells Jack that Annie escaped from Zigness, they find the final orb on a suspension bridge. Zigness fights them on the bridge, breaking it in the process, but Jack, Asia, Phillip, and Kyle manage to jump to safety. Jack sees Annie being carried away by balloons and flies after her with some balloons. Annie's balloons are inevitably popped by spikes, but Jack grabs her hand and carries her to safety.

Zigness, having survived the fight on the bridge, grows fed up and knocks out Kretschmann. Jack and Annie fight him off, to which Jack is knocked out by Zigness. Annie mourns for her apparently beat-up brother. Jack regains consciousness, and Jack and Annie use the Wuxi Finger Hold to vanquish Zigness. With Zigness defeated and the three orbs collected, Kretschmann, Nepcar, Asia, Phillip, and Kyle praise Jack and Annie as true masters. Jack and Annie back to the Magic Tree House. Back in Frog Creek Woods, Jack and Annie leave the three orbs out for Morgan. share a hug, ergo confirming Annie's love for Jack, and head home. The next morning, Jack and Annie meet up with Morgan at the Frog Creek Woods Library and become Master Librarians.

In a post-credits scene, Jack and Annie have a picnic under a peach tree.

Cast

  • Owen Laramore as Jack, a ten-and-a-half-year-old boy and Annie's older brother.
  • Lulu Wilson as Annie, a nine-year-old girl and Jack's younger sister
  • Danny DeVito as Overlord Zigness, Kretschmann's aggressive and zealous arch-nemesis and former student and adoptive son.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Sensei Kretschmann, the well-meaning but stubborn sensei of Asia, Phillip, and Kyle with a critical manner.
  • Sandra Oh as Asia, a ninja and the only female member of the trio.
  • Masi Oka as Kyle, a ninja and one of the two male members of the trio.
  • BD Wong as Phillip, a ninja and one of the two male members of the trio.
  • Cedric the Entertainer as Nepcar, Kretschmann's friend and mentor who chooses Jack as the warrior that was destined to stop Zigness.
  • Andy Dick as Bazahr, a giant hawk and a friend of the ninjas.
  • Kathy Najimy as Morgan la Fey, the owner of the Magic Tree House.
  • Kelly Asbury as a squirrel who tells them about the destruction of his oak tree by Zigness.

Box office

Magic Tree House opened theatrically on July 15, 2018, and was projected to gross $55 million in its opening weekend, finishing 3rd behind Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and Incredibles 2. It grossed $344 million in the United States and Canada, and $400 million in other territories. It ended its theatrical run on October 1, 2018, having to have grossed $419 million worldwide, and, produced on an $130 million budget, it was a commercial success at the box office.

Critical response

The film holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 200 reviews. The consensus reads, "With impressive animation and two winning performances by Owen Laramore and Lulu Wilson, this adapation lives up to the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne in its own way". It is Walt Disney Wonder Studios' second film after Disney In The House: Introduction to earn a 100% approval rating on the site. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 91 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.

Shawn Levy of The Oregonian gave the film five stars, saying, "Magic Tree House is a heartwarming adaption, with outstanding vocal performances, beautiful animation, and consistent humor". Kevin Carr of Film Threat praised the performances of Owen Laramore and Lulu Wilson, saying, "Owen Laramore and Lulu Wilson are such good friends. They are two good young actors. They should work together more". Anna Smith of Empire also gave the film five stars. Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun Times gave the film "Two Thumbs Up". Jess Hassenger of A.V. Club called the film "exciting and culturally enjoyable" and lauded out Hans Zimmer and John Powell's musical score.

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