Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Directed By: Rob Letterman
Written By: Darren Lemke
Story By: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Based On The GOOSEBUMPS book Series Written By: R.L. Stine
Cinematography By: Javier Agguiresarobe
Editor: Jim May
Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Jillian Bell, Amy Ryan, Ken Marino, Halston Sage, Amanda Lund
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
After moving to a new town Zach meets a girl named Hannah but her dad Mr. Shivers doesn't want Zach to get close to Hannah. However there is a reason her dad wants Zach to stay away, their house has a deadly secret that could destroy the whole town of Madison.
After a long time of almost being produced and made.
Was originally going to be a film by DreamWorks Pictures in the 90's when they were starting and had their interactive studio distribute two Goosebumps PC games. But lost the rights to Sony Pictures when production failed in 1998.
During the 1990s, George A. Romero was hired to adapt the book series into a single film and even finished a draft. Also Tim Burton was originally going to produce the film in 1998, and was attached to it. However, the project fell through.
R.L. Stine observed that one of the major hurdles in getting a Goosebumps movie made was having too many books to choose for adaptation, and that it was a masterstroke of this film to include all of the characters in an original story.
The film never feels like it catches the right spirit. It tries to be dark, but feels like a regular family film that just happens to have the Goosebumps series in it. There is nothing to really helps define the film as a truly macabre family horror film.
Instead it just grows in a bunch of monsters. The beauty of the goosebumps series was that while they were horror books. They were also intelligent. Terrifying yet captivating. Not dumbed down like this film seems to be.
Knowing a number of the books were turned into television episodes and movies themselves, realize the filmmakers were looking for something different and original. Instead they go generic. Only the film offers more of an overview of his work to represent the monsters rather then just taking on one story.
Including involving the character of the writer R.L. Stine in the actual film/story. Jack Black seems more like he is performing rather than Acting. He seems more interested in trying to create a comedic character that he plays broadly and for the cheap seats. As it seems his comedic stylings, appeal and humor are more aimed at kids these days which is fine.
As maybe one of the reasons I didn't quite like the film is as a kid who liked the books and the series. The film seems like a letdown a watered down version, that has the depth more of a spoof of the material. That is more aimed at children rather than teens.
Though going through a legacy of young adult novels and as they are quite popular and profitable at the box office these days. One can see why the film was made.
The CGI effects are more cartoonish
What the film lacks is not only those twists of the novels, but the central creepy mood and genuine suspense. Instead we get predictable antics and more comedic slapstick set-up's and actions
Though most like the novels where he seems to have writing about even legendary monster and ghoul probably even creating his own. If not familiar with them the film will feel cliche ridden and like they left no stone unturned in bringing monsters to haunt the tale.
I give Jack Black credit as he puts all of his energy into his performances and while broad they are fascinating performances to watch as he gives his all.
Which is maybe why it is noteworthy when he performs in more adult oriented comedies like THE D TRAIN. As the kids films are more done for fun and finance and the others more to challenge himself and fine tune his art plus probably work with old colleagues and friends.
Though this film is perfectly fine for kids, lacks that special ingredient and quality that gives certain films a memorable quality that helps it's memory last over time. Maybe originality, passion, care that mix as so many of these films today feel rushed, glossy inauthentic with no depth. Just made for appeal even while trying to offer ham-fisted lessons. Which they take as depth though not subtle understand. I'm not saying all but an increasing amount. I know kids don't look for quality, but I would hope to offer a more nourished product to them, then disposable fast food which is bad for them in the long run.
Then again maybe I am the only one taking this film so seriously, though it does have a twist to pull on the heart strings to make you feel Some emotion that is the only time the film showcases how a creation can affect us in ways we don't expect. How powerful other's creations of imagination can affect us. Out of nowhere and not various ways.
Slappy escapes from the manuscript of "Night of the Living Dummy" yet he is not the main villain of the book where in fact it was his brother Mr Wood who was the antagonist. Slappy himself only comes to life at the end of the story. He appears in the movie as it is his image printed on the book covers and is more recognized than Mr. Wood.
Even though Hannah is the Goosebumps character Hannah Fairchild from the book The Ghost Next Door. The plot revolved around Hannah suspecting her next door neighbor was a ghost when in reality, she and her family were ghosts. Now that she is real will she age or stay the same forever? In the movie R.L Stine can write his stories on a typewriter and they come true. At the end Zach must finish the story on the typewriter to come true. This is similar to one of R.L. Stine's real books "The Blob That Ate Everyone" where the main character Zackie has a typewriter that makes his horror stories come true.
It's an honest attempt at entertainment while offering up a greatest hits of the series.