THE NYC MOVIE GURU
March 24, 2023
"Ida (Emilia Maier) moves to a new town with her mom, Elvira (Marleen Lohse), and gets bullied at her new school where a mysterious thief lurks. It's up to Ida and her classmates, Benni (Leonard Conrads) and Jo (Loris Sichrovsky), among others to find the thief. They each receive a magical animal belonging to Mortimer Morrison (Milan Peschel), a collector of magical animals. Ida receives a fox while Benni receives a turtle.
Based on the novel by Margit Auer, screenplay by co-writers Viola Schmidt and John Chambers keep the plot simple, sweet and light-hearted without anything too dark, scary or complicated. Blending supernatural elements with mystery elements and musical numbers, The School of Magical Animals will keep children entertained and captivated. There's some action, but not too much, and animals are lively and amusing. Adults, on the other hand, probably won't have much to be engaged by, but at least the film avoids infantilizing the audience like The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure does. There's nothing cringe-inducing or awkward. However, to be fair, the English-language dubbing takes a while to get used to, but that's forgivable.
The CGi animation of the magical animals is pretty impressive, so there's some visual style to keep your eyes entertained. The pace moves brisky enough, and you'll even find some enchanting musical numbers every now and then. At an ideal running time of 1 hour and 33 minutes, The School of Magical Animals is a harmless, pleasant and kid-friendly film. It's refreshing to see a live action family film which is something very rare these days."