Friday, October 28, 2011

Monster House (Movie Review)

      Time for one last post to conclude Mr. Movies October marathon. When I was a kid around Halloween, my friends and I would turn of the lights in the house, have some scary music and sound effects playing which made it feel spooky and haunted. Some friends would dress up in monster costumes while others would go exploring with flash lights, it was like we were in a Halloween adventure of our own universe. By the end of my 3rd grade year we moved away and I was never able to have a Halloween with them again and I gradually began to lose that excitement of exploring a fictional haunted house with friends. But then toured the end of my High School years, I saw a movie that immediately took me back to that time when friends would go adventuring on Halloween, this is the 2006 animated masterpiece called “Monster House”.

     This is by far one of the greatest (if not the best) Horror movies for kids. If you thought monsters under the bead were scary, wait till you see an entire house come to life. The plot focuses on three children named DJ, Chowder and Jenny, basically the common formula that a small group of friends is made up of two boys and one girl, its classic. The lead character DJ is having suspicions about this angry old man who lives in a creepy looking house that’s just across from his. After an unfortunate accident, DJ feels responsible for the death of the old man who seemed to pass away in his front yard while DJ and his friend were playing outside. Then he begins to notice some strange things happening over at that creepy house. People are diapering and his two friends were almost eaten by the house itself. None of the adults believe them, so they have to take matters into their own hands, find a way to defeat the house and save the neighborhood. The rest of the movie is just these kids going on exciting, funny and sometimes scary adventures, exploring an old dark house and facing dangerous obstacles, it’s awesome! Then this all leads to a huge battle with the house as it rises up out of its place and attacks the kids, when this finally happens, hot Damn is it spectacular!  

     The child characters (while not the greatest) are still a lot of fun and manage to hold the film rather well. I love how the two boys have been friends for years but the girl character named Jenny had never met them and was just roped into the situation. She doesn’t even like them at first but there’s no one else who’ll believe her story about a killer house and she gradually begins to like them. It almost reflects what the audience goes through when watching a film like this, we don’t know the characters very well but as we fallow them on their adventure we begin to like them more. The supporting characters are really annoying and forgettable but I love these two cops who are a classic comedy duo like Abbott and Costello, “You have the right to shut up!”   

     It may sound like a very cliché haunted house film for kids but the writing is rather competent and the back story of how the house became haunted is surprisingly tragic and very smart. Film legend Steven Spielberg helped produce the film but I was really surprised to find out that Tim Burton was not evolved, he’s usually the best at making Halloween movies for kids. Instead this movie was put together by Robert Zemeckis, who’s done some of the greatest family movies of all time like “Back to the Future”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “The Polar Express”. The animation in this film ranges from bad to amazing and it’s really hard to decide if it’s one of the worst or best looking animated films I’ve ever seen. The animation portions that I can’t stand are with all the human characters, they look and move like puppets on strings and it almost makes you feel like it’s stop motion animation as opposed to CG animation. Except stop motion characters from movies like “Coraline” look better than this. Now the animated portions I loved came from all the creative imagery, like the nightmare sequence and the interiors of the house, there’s one moment where it’s like a theme park ride. All the different visuals that were used to bring this house to life are absolutely brilliant and some of the most thrilling animated sequences ever put into film.    

     Watching these kids go exploring through this visually amazing house and discovering clues and hidden secrets is so much fun and it really takes you back to that time when you where young and would go on imaginary adventures with your friends. It’s like getting all the tricks and treats you’d want around Halloween and it welcomes both kids and adults alike into an imaginative household full of smart, exciting, nostalgic and monstrous fun. I give “Monster House” 4 stars, it’s awesome!

     So ends my October Marathon, hope it was fun, regular posts will begin again next month and ...

                                                     Happy Halloween!  

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