Monday, October 31, 2011

Movie of the Week – Monster House

This week’s movie is Monster House (2006).

The Halloween movie is about three teens that discover their neighbor’s house is alive. Thus, they set out to release the spirit haunting the house to protect their neighborhood. The film marks the directorial debut of Gil Kenan (who has since also directed City of Ember). He decided to do the film with all the character performances being 3D motion-captured, which (while the animation already is a bit dated compared to recent stuff) gives the character performances on the screen a lot of life, especially in their facial expressions. The whole film was shot with the actors and then the animation was laid over their performances. It was also the second film to feature the Real-D digital 3D format. It was executively produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, which is probably why it has such a great nostalgic feeling to it. It reminds me of the great movies I loved (and still love) as a kid (things like The Goonies). Douglas Pipes also provides a festive score and the visual aesthetic of the film is fantastic as well, thanks to Kenan, production designer Ed Verreaux and cinematographers Paul Babin and Xavier Perez Grobet. The cast is great as well. It stars newcomers Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke. Steve Buscemi is also wonderful in support. Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jon Heder, Ryan Newman, and Kathleen Turner are featured as well, many with fun bit parts. Monster House is a great Halloween family movie – it is both scary enough and funny enough to thrill, while having good characters to engage. Though it was made in 2006, it feels like one of the movies of my childhood from the 80s. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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