The School of Magical Animals 2 (2024)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Director
Sven Unterwaldt
Run Time
1 hour and 44 minutes
Rating
PG

VP Content Ratings

Violence
1/10
Language
0/10
Sex & Nudity
1/10
Star Rating
★★★★4 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Students at puberty are assigned a magical animal that hide from adult eyes. (c) Blue Fox Entertainment

German director/co-writer Sven Unterwaldt gives us a colorful sequel to the 2021 film based on the popular German children’s book series by Margit Auer. Like the first, this is a blend of CGI animation and live action, with even more delightful magical animals paired up with a child.

At the very beginning we see Mortimer Morrison (Milan Peschel), traveling to a distant world looking for “magical animals.” The subsequent plot involves the political mechanizations of the Winterstein school’s Queen Bee, the bossy Helene (Emilia Pieske), always accompanied by two girls serving as her acolytes, as the students mount a play celebrating the 250th anniversary of the school.  The heroine of the original film Ida Kronenberg (Emilia Maier) is back, this time stepping up to direct the play she has written. However, the school’s director Heribert Siegmann ( Justus von Dohnányi ) insists that his own play shall be produced, and so the students  will have to be prepared during their rehearsal of Ida’s play to switch back to the stodgy play when he appears. Also, the students’ magical animals disappear whenever adults are around—excepting of course, teacher Miss Cornfield (Nadja Uhl), who introduced the students to their magical animals in the original film. Tis time the teacher is more in the background, though Nadja Uhl’s delightful over-the-top performance contributes greatly to our enjoyment of the show.

There is a love triangle involving Ida, star singer Benni Schubert (Leonard Conrads) and the nasty Helene. Plus a mystery in which the  tiles in the school’s courtyard are dug up each night. The disturbed director assigns groundskeeper Heiko Wondraschek (Heiko Pinkowski) to discover “who dunnit.” And I should not leave out shy Anna-Lena (Lilith Johna) whose newly discovered singing voice leads her to become the rival for the play’s heroine, despite the opposition of Helene who had assumed she would be the lead.

It seems at times as if chaos rather than a finished production will be the result of all the students’ efforts, with both Helene and director  Siegmann being the villains. Our “good guys” are aided by their assigned magical animals during the ensuing conflict—Ida by the cunning fox Rabbat; Anna-Lena by a chameleon named Caspar;  Jo’s penguin, representing his conscience; and so on.  I love it hat when an adult draws near, the magical animal transforms itself into a stuffed toy.

How all this works out at times stretches one’s credulity, but this is a minor concern, with the humor and the “let’s put on a show” enchanting young and old. The music is not great, but serviceable. The visuals certainly are—the CGI animals spunky and witty, and the village and Grafeneck Castle in Lower Austria, , converted into the school, are spectacular. Families looking for entertaining will delight in the antics of humans and magical animals, and adults can unobtrusively talk with children about teamwork and the good that comes from encouraging each other. It is not necessary to have seen the first film to enjoy the sequel, but I suspect those who have not seen it, will be motivated to catch up on what they have missed.

This review will be in the July issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.

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