Most helpful positive review
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2004
Eddie Murphy stars as Jim Evers, one half of Evers and Evers Real Estate. At Evers and Evers, they want to keep you happy for evers and evers. But Jim's addiction to his work is starting to affect his relationships at home. Even his wife and business partner, Sara Evers, is losing patience with him. When a couple of new customers cause Jim to miss an anniversary date with his wife, that's the last straw. He has to promise a full, family weekend at the lake to make up for it. So Jim, Sara, and their preteen kids, Megan and Michael, are all set for a fun little vacation when the phone rings at the last minute.
It's just a quick little stop off at the Gracey Manor in New Orleans, what's the worst that could happen? The owners want to sell. Too many...bad memories. But in no time, the family finds they must stay the night as a sudden rainstorm has flooded the road. The wife and kids aren't thrilled, the creepy butler Ramsley and the suspicious staff were enough to put them off, but Jim is overwhelmed at the idea of selling the huge place. And Mr. Gracey is thrilled to have them, especially Sara, who reminds him so much of someone he loved long ago. It doesn't take long before we realize that a plot is underfoot. It also doesn't take long before we discover that the inhabitants of Gracey Manor aren't what they seem to be. In no time, the movie gets kicked into high gear, as the Evers family members find themselves on a quest to save their beloved Sara from a houseful of restless spirits!
"The Haunted Mansion" is far better than most people might lead you to believe. Had it come out after Disney's "The Country Bears," it might have been hailed as a fantastic achievement (unless people just avoided it), but on the heels of "Pirates of the Caribbean," well, how can a cute little family comedy compete with one of the greatest action/adventure films ever made? Still, when judged on its own merit, Haunted Mansion is a fine film, well worth purchasing and repeat viewing. With the fantastic skills of effects master Rick Baker and the comedic talent of Eddie Murphy, along with another of Disney's best rides as a basis and several nods to it throughout, the fact that the film could probably have been better isn't enough to detract from the fact that it IS quite good. I mean, most movies could be "better." If you judge everything like that, you probably only actually like about 4 or 5 movies. Now, I'm not saying this movie doesn't have some obvious flaws. Marsha Thomason may be beautiful, but her acting is pretty bad. Perhaps she was focusing too much on hiding her accent. And sure, the film could have been funnier, and it could have had more scary moments, though that Zombie sequence was pretty darn good. Overall, "The Haunted Mansion" is a highly satisfying night of entertainment. If you're a fan of the ride, it should be all the more fun, and the rewatchability level is pretty high on this one. Definitely not the total disappointment it was made out to be. I purchased this one not sure what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. The extras on the disc are pretty good too, though I would have loved to have seen more, including some of the old Disney TV programs about the ride. I'm surprised the cartoon "Lonesome Ghosts" wasn't included on this one, since it seems to be on every spooky Disney release. The behind the scenes stuff was pretty neat though. At any rate, I'm happy to give this film a thumbs up! Loved the singing busts and hitchhiking ghosts, and Madame Leota was pretty cool too! Props to Jennifer Tilly for pulling off a role that I had originally wanted Phyllis Diller to play. The only thing missing was Don Knotts as the Groundskeeper!