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Magic Tree House is a 2018 American computer-animated wuxia comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Wonder Studios in partnership with Scholastic Entertainment and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan and written by David Gordon Green, Gary Marsh, and Gary Krisel, 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. Hans Zimmer and John Powell composed the music for the film.

Magic Tree House
Magic Tree House

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan
Produced by Gary Marsh
Gary Krisel
Mary Thorne
Christopher Chase
Jinko Gotoh
Deborah Forte
Written by David Gordon Green
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
Scholastic Entertainment
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date July 15, 2018
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $95 million
Box office $419 million


Following the release of Disney In The House: Introduction in 2017, Walt Disney Wonder Studios acquired the rights for an animated film based on the Magic Tree House works, with Laramore and Wilson as the voices of Jack and Annie. Despite having a plot that is mostly different from Osborne's works, it has some relatively faithful elements.

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 $419 million against its $95 million budget. At the 91st Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Song, 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 a guy named Overlord Zingess (Danny DeVito). Suddenly, he secretly makes his giant hawk, Bazahr (Andy Dick), kidnap Annie.

Horrified at what happened to Annie, Jack arrives at Kretschmann (Dick Van Dyke)'s valley on Mount Lu. A chase by security guard Nepcar (Cedric the Entertainer) causes him to lose control, and he inadvertently damages most of the valley. Take in court, the next morning, Jack confesses to Kretschmann ans his ninjas Asia (Sandra Oh), Phillip (BD Wong), and Kyle (Masi Oka) that Annie was taken away, and the damage was an accident and Kretschmann feels his confidence return. When he finds the second orb, Kretschmann, Asia, Phillip, Kyle, and Nepcar deem Jack a master ninja after he successfully overcomes his training.

They tell him that Zigness was Asia's friend until a boy laughed at him. He lost his temper and expelled himself from China, resulting in his hatred of children. Kretschmann makes Asia, Phillip, and Kyle suit him up as a dragon ninja to help him learn to fly. He succeeds in doing so. They find the final orb, but Bazahr chases him. Jack retrieves the orb. Bazahr bumps into a bridge and is killed, 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. Annie's balloons are inevitably popped by spikes, but Jack grabs her hand and carries her to the ninjas.

Zigness grows fed up and takes Annie to his elevator. Jack fights Zigness, who threatens to push him off the edge, but Annie intervenes. At the top of Zigness' tower, Jack and Annie overpower Zigness, and, with help from Kretschmann, they run to his flying boat. Zigness tries to catch them, but fails, and he falls to his death. With the three orbs collected, Kretschmann, Nepcar, Asia, Phillip, and Kyle bring Jack and Annie back to the Magic Tree House. Back in Frog Creek Woods, they leave the three orbs out for Morgan. Jack and Annie walk home and share a hug. The next morning, Jack and Annie meet up with Morgan at the Frog Creek Woods Library and become Master Librarians.

Cast

  • Owen Laramore as Jack, a ten-and-a-half-year-old boy and Annie's older brother. He is the film's protagonist.
  • Lulu Wilson as Annie, a nine-year-old girl and Jack's younger sister. She is the film's deuteragonist.
  • Danny DeVito as Overlord Zigness, Kretschmann's arch-nemesis who despises children. He is the film's antagonist.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Sensei Kretschmann, the sensei of Asia, Phillip, and Kyle who was a hero, but quit due to being flung from the sky when fought Zigness one day. He is the film's tetartagonist.
  • Sandra Oh as Asia, a ninja and the only female member of the trio. She is the film's tritagonist.
  • 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 the valley's sheriff and guardian.
  • Andy Dick as Bazahr, a giant hawk and Zigness' companion. He is the film's secondary antagonist.
  • Kathy Najimy as Morgan la Fey, the owner of the Magic Tree House.

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 $200 million in the United States and Canada, and $219 million in other territories. It ended its theatrical run on October 1, 2018, having to have grossed $419 million worldwide, and, produced on an $95 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 great performances by Owen Laramore and Lulu Wilson, this Magic Tree House adaption lives up to Mary Pope Osborne's works 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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