Thursday, November 02, 2006

Monster House

Picture from

***Read no more if you dislike spoilers!***

First of all, I would like to say


In fact, I'm not even sure it's a movie for chicken-hearted adults like myself. Some of the scenes were quite frightening, especially the end where the house morphs into some horrible mutated skull on legs. There were four of us watching the movie, aged from 25 to 30, and for the first twenty minutes we kept exclaiming: "I can't believe this is a children's movie!" PG-13 is the rating, apparently, but I don't understand how boobies being flashed could possibly be worse than kids growing up into traumatised adults who can't sleep with the light off. Stop looking at me!

Groo knows how younger children would perceive the scarier scenes in the movie - hopefully by starting to wet the bed again and creeping into Mum and Dad's bed while their parents are being distracted by "fixing" Dad's outdoor plumbing.

I can't help feeling that the whole 3-D animation thing is causing writers and directors to be lazy. The characters in Monster House are undeveloped and the dialogue is, well, lame. It's the sort of movie that makes you keep shifting position, looking at your neighbours, and checking on how many M&Ms there are left in the bag.

If Monster House were set in real life, the spoken lines would stand out as being woodenly bad, even child-actor bad. But with so many credible actors doing the voice acting (including my favourite Steve Buscemi), I can only blame the scriptwriters! Damn you, Hollywood scriptwriters - may boils erupt on your rear ends until you start writing some decent scripts!

I found it very hard to like the characters, and although I was plumping (teehee) for the chubby kid to get eaten, it never happened.

A brief synopsis: DJ, a nice, geeky boy approaching puberty, notices that things that go into the house across the road never come out again. The house is owned by your stereotypical grumpy old man, Mr Nebbercracker, who is obviously hiding a deep dark secret. DJ has an annoying friend, Chowder, who helps him investigate by being obfuscating, getting in the way, and providing bad sidekick one-liners. A school girl, Jenny, also joins the hunt after they save her from being eaten by the house when she goes there to sell candy. She's so smart you're tempted to set her pigtails on fire, but she becomes nicely bland and heroic later on.

The movie is pretty "meh" but it was still kind of nice to watch it on Halloween night*.

In contrast, last night I saw Over The Hedge, and in terms of dialogue, humour and originality, it peed all over Monster House. In fact, I could say it did an enormous number two on Monster House but that would be a little gross, and I am a lady, after all (ha!). I really want to buy the Over The Hedge DVD, rub it in the faces of the Monster House people and go "SEE! THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE, NIMRODS!"

* Unfortunately, no kids came begging for lollies, which is too bad because I had a huge bag of lemons waiting for them by the front door. What - you want me to tax our frail medical system even further? Lemons are full of Vitamin C and make delicious healthy iced tea (when sweetened with xylitol, not sugar). Also, I wanted to see the looks on their faces when I put lemons into their sacks. Teehee!

A little side-anecdote: a couple of years ago, when I was living at my parents' place, I had some chocolate ready and two groups of polite little kids came to the door. I was feeling quite benevolent when two burly teenagers in casual clothes suddenly turned up and held out their hands for a handout. It was a little intimidating, and I let them have some chocolate bars because I didn't want to get mugged. Hmph, if only I'd let my beefy ex answer the door. That would've frightened those big bullies!