BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

movie ...

Well, aside from going to the Newberry Library Book Fair yesterday, we also dragged ourselves out in the heat to go se Monster House, which was "pretty good". I don't know what, exactly, it was lacking for me to not be more enthused about it, but it just somehow didn't quite "hit the mark" for me at least. Again, I can't point to any particular thing that was bad about it, and would recommend it to somebody looking for a PG sort of film ... maybe it was just too "cartoony" for a 3-D animation film. First of all, the characters appeared "plastic", with hair that recalled most of the denizens of Lazy Town (none of that "every hair shifting in the breeze" wizardry here!), and some of the more "active" action (especially with the house) slipped from the "fully dimensional" into "classic" just by way of its frantic pace out-racing out ability to "see" the bits and pieces. As such, it was less entrancing than many of the recent computer animated films, which draw you in with their near-seamless "world vision" (see my Cars review, and the caveats thereto). Also, after looking at the IMDB cast listing (and photos), one of the characters is drawn almost identical to the voice talent, while all the rest aren't ... what's up with that?

One "plus", however, is that others must share my questions about using bland (but "name") voices for animation. Except for one or two second- or third-tier "stars", most of the voices are from "haven't heard of them" folks, which I think is a good thing, as this means the roles are cast for the voices not the hope that the name might sell a few extra hundred tickets (why use Kathleen Turner, for example, if the character she's voicing speaks maybe a half-dozen words???). Perhaps the exception here is the John Heder character ... I've never seen anything he's been in, but I guess he's used here a bit like how George Carlin and Cheech Marin were used to carry their "type" in Cars.

Despite the negative tone of the above, Monster House is reasonably engrossing and entertaining. Despite their rendering, one can care about the characters, and wonder about their thinking/development. Despite a few "cognitive gaps" here and there, the story has a certain congruency which is not undone by it's (amazingly, unexpected) happy ending. Maybe my opinion is tainted by what has become the "standard" run of in-jokes strewn across movies like the Shrek films, Cars, etc., which are generally credited with keeping the adults interested (and I sort of did miss that "level" in this one), but, to the filmmakers' credit, they kept their story to the story and didn't plaster the whole thing with pop culture references. As I noted above, if you're looking for something in the PG range, this is a good one ... if you want something "edgy" (although, frankly, there were some reasonably scary bits in this), you might want to take a pass.

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Tags: movie review
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