The House with a Clock in its Walls - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

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The House with a Clock in its Walls - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews
Not exactly the best title, but I guess they have to honour the book. I would have gone with, "Jack Black Finds Work Again."


You know, I don't know which was less likely: that I'd be bringing my 7-yr old girl to an Eli Roth movie, or that I'd willingly walk into a Jack Black vehicle again. Here I've gone and done both. I might be the bravest man you know.

This is another movie that starts off absolutely terrible, and then gets better as it goes. I was surprised it was rated PG instead of PG-13 as there are pretty spooky elements in this. This was the first movie I've seen with Emily where she asked me to put my arm around her as she shut her eyes. Somehow she knew when all the scary parts were going to be.

I don't think anyone is cast correctly in this except for Kyle MacLachlan (who I'm not even a fan of). Jack Black to way too Jack Black for the first half, but I guess that's the point. It's hard not to watch Cate Blanchett doing magic and not wishing you were watching Galadriel the entire time instead. Where's her spin-off movie anyway?! Also, the kid I found to be super annoying with how often he just starts weeping. I get it, you lost your parents and stuff, but you are capable of doing magic that makes your bed for you. Let's get some perspective here.

The whole approach to magic in this isn't great either given how much exposure audiences have to Harry Potter at this point. You should either be having fun with magic, or taking it super seriously. If you're going to skirt in between those things, then the whole backdrop needs to be pretty dramatic to support that. In this, there's nothing particularly interesting going on.

Like I said, the movie does get better so it does become barely passable, but I think the side-stories of the high school bullies with trying to impress that kid with the perfect hair... I think all of that should have been cut. When Peter Parker discovers his powers in the first Spiderman, we get the joy of him kicking the tires a bit with his new powers. That entire element is missing here. When you learn magic and you're a kid, you should be making some sundaes and stuff. I don't think you would be raising the dead.

So surprise-surprise, I found a movie about magic to be a little implausible. Emily preferred it to Smallfoot though so I can't throw it under the bus too much. That pet chair that acts like a dog was pretty cute after all.
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Movie Title
The House with a Clock in its Walls
Not exactly the best title, but I guess they have to honour the book. I would have gone with, "Jack Black Finds Work Again."
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Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #282641 03 Oct 2018 10:12
I haven't seen this movie, or read the book. But I read another book by the same author (John Bellairs), because it was on the recommended reading list from Appendix N in the original Dungeon Master's Guide. That book, The Face in the Frost, is the only book that Bellairs ever wrote for adults. It is a baroque fantasy with a sinister edge to the setting, though the story itself is more suspenseful than horrific. I highly recommend it.
Gregarius's Avatar
Gregarius replied the topic: #282645 03 Oct 2018 10:35

Black Barney wrote: Also, the kid I found to be super annoying with how often he just starts weeping. I get it, you lost your parents and stuff, but you are capable of doing magic that makes your bed for you. Let's get some perspective here.

True. Having a tidy room is far superior to a lifetime of nurturing, guidance, and love from a couple of blood relatives who chose to bring you into this world. What a tool.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #282662 03 Oct 2018 15:21
ack, my sarcasm didn't come through :(
Hex Sinister's Avatar
Hex Sinister replied the topic: #282663 03 Oct 2018 16:03
There's a Frank Herbert novel where they genetically mutate dogs into actual chairs for comfort. That is all I have to add.
KingPut's Avatar
KingPut replied the topic: #282673 03 Oct 2018 18:41
I took my youngest spawn to the house with a clock in the wall and I totally agree with you. It was such a Lukewarm movie on every level that it’s instantly forgettable. However, we saw it in 3D and got to see the full length Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the big screen which I was blown away by. I was never too impressed by Thriller watching it on my TV at home but in a theater it was pretty impressive 35 years later.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #282684 04 Oct 2018 08:32
Yep, totally right, except that I rather liked Cate Blanchette's turn. Even she can't save it from being mediocre in every way, though, except for the ending sequence which was at least exciting.

Teach me to see a film on the strength of the trailer without checking the reviews. Also, why isn't it called The House With A Clock Under The Boiler?
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #282685 04 Oct 2018 08:34
Lol, yeah it’s a little misleading

That whole ending sequence reminded me a little of Thirteen Ghosts. I don’t know if this book precedes that movie, but it feels like someone inspired someone
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #282689 04 Oct 2018 09:20

MattDP wrote: Yep, totally right, except that I rather liked Cate Blanchette's turn. Even she can't save it from being mediocre in every way, though, except for the ending sequence which was at least exciting.

Teach me to see a film on the strength of the trailer without checking the reviews. Also, why isn't it called The House With A Clock Under The Boiler?


BOILER ALERT