Monday, July 24, 2006

My Take - Monster House

My Take on the Movies
A Mini-Review of
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

At the request of my grandson, Rashad, I spent a very hot Saturday afternoon viewing Monster House (2006), the latest beautifully animated project of executive producers Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. Honestly, though, I had wanted to see this film ever since I saw the first previews, months ago. It represents Gil Kenan’s debut as a director, and the screenplay is co-written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab.

The film begins with sunlight and happiness and singing, which quickly turn to frowns and tears and hurt feelings, under the watchful eye of the boy living across the street. In the past, he has reported other strange events at the wicked-looking house, and his accounts have been entirely discounted as products of an overactive imagination. When he reports this sorrowful incident, the outcome is the same.

The nonchalant parents of D.J. (voice of Mitchell Musso of Avatar: The Last Airbender) leave him and his best friend Chowder (voice of Sam Lerner of Malcolm in the Middle) alone on the day before Hallowe’en, to await the arrival of the babysitter Elizabeth/Zee (voice of Maggie Gyllenhaal of Mona Lisa Smile - 2003). All of the scary things that never transpire when grownups are around naturally begin to happen with much more frequency now that Mom and Dad are away. After a freaky “accident” following which Nebbercracker (the house’s owner) is taken away in an ambulance, the house develops an unpleasant face and personality of its own, and begins to seem almost human.

The two boys take on the task of saving the neighborhood from the predatory monster house, and they, along with the brilliant Jenny (Spencer Locke of Phil of the Future), are left to solve its mystery. The town’s only two police officers are of no help, of course, and being the next best thing to children themselves, they are attacked by the house as well. The children learn several lessons in humanity in their quest for the perfect solution, and the audience will also.

Here is where I would normally list the names that go along with the voices of the remainder of the main characters, but I decline to do so this time. Some of the characters’ voices are of well-known actors, and if I give those names away, it might spoil the fun of trying to figure out the voices for yourself.

I highly recommend this film, for children and for those who are still children at heart. The animation and the performances are all superb, as is the writing. The film is utterly satisfying in every respect, even providing a measure of good natured chills for those of us who still like a good Hallowe’en story. [1:31]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

[© 07/24/2006]


Post a Comment

<< Home