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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2003
I found this movie very enjoyable with a nice combination of comedy and suspenseful "horror." This is not a bloody movie, but does have a lot of shocking starts. Within the first five minutes the movie shows: 1. A tarot card with a naked man and woman (on the level of the statue David). 2. It also shows a man hanging by the neck dead. (Not an animation, but an actual person.) 3. It has a startling beginning that would bother *anybody* that doesn't like it when things jump out of nowhere without warning.
I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, but my 10-year old daughter probably wouldn't have been able to stomach all of the "surprises." The special effects were excellent, and the comedy is vintage Eddie Murphy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2005
As a long time fan of the ride, I was looking forward to this film. However, this movie is not done in the spirit of the ride, but rather in boring and typical family films.

There are two competing stories in this: The story of Eddie Murphy's family, in which he and his wife are real estate agents and he has trouble stopping work long enough to spend time with his family. The second has to do with the history of New Orleans, tragedy, romance, and the supernatural. Which sounds more interesting?

The story that Disney chose to work with for this was very bland and could have been used for another venue. They had a fantastic set up and wasted the opportunity to do yet another story that few can relate to. (Unless you happen to know a lot of people in high paying jobs whose only problems are forcing themselves to spend more time with their loved ones.)

I can say that the man who played Lord Gracy is a very fine actor, very talented and handsome (His voice is to die for.) and that you will have a treat with what little they do for his story.

All in all, I would recommend that you borrow the movie from a friend, unless you are looking for the cookie cutter type of family film that is far too prevalent these days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2003
I really don't see why this movie recieves so much slack. I thought it was excellent. Yes, Murphy isn't all that good, but Stamp and Tilly shine. Wallace Shawn is probably the highlight in the fact that he doesn't act like anyone but Wallace Shawn. He's hilarious. The really good thing is the singing busts, I laughed my head off. (Perhaps they want a fifth?) Good job.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2004
From the beginnig credits to the very end this was defiantely one of the best movies to come along in the last twenty years. The special effects were awesome! This movie was way better than I expected it to be. If you have been to through the "Haunted Mansion" rides at any of the Magic Kingdoms, then you should see this movie! The scenery is so accarrate (from the movie) in the movie, that you actually feel as if you are standing in the Mansion with Eddie Murphie and his family! We couldn't believe it! Go Disney Imgaineers! Those of you like me who have been to both will realize that this movie is made up of a combination of both rides in the states. This is a wonderful family movie with those who have kids about nine and up. Much like the ride, this movie is very intense and was scary to kids under 9 in theater. ( So much so that one family ended up leaving.) Eddie Murphie and his wife are real estate agents who are looking to sell this myesterious "Old Mansion". The family ends up learning a lot about family and love. This is destined to be a family classic! Why didn't Disney make this movie sooner?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2004
It seemed a clever idea for Disney to turn its non-film-based attractions into movies. While the Country Bear Jamboree was a dud, Pirates of the Caribbean was a delight. Like the film that materialized from the former, The Haunted Mansion is a meagre fantasy that will undoubtedly be forgotten and turn to dust.
Eddie Murphy plays real estate agent Jim Evers, who neglects his familial duties to close deals. During a family outing with his wife Sara (Marsha Thomason), timid son, and no-nonsense daughter, Evers stops to have a look at a "historical sprawling manor with spacious grounds" that he hopes to represent. When it begins to rain, they are invited to spend the night by its owner Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) and manservant Ramsley (Terence Stamp). It comes as no surprise that the occupants turn out to be ghosts, and even a headless corpse can figure out that Sara was lured to the mansion because she resembles Gracey's lost love.
In keeping with the ride at Disneyland/world, The Haunted Mansion is not intended to be scary but more like a fun-house, and includes familiar images from the attraction such as singing busts, waltzing apparitions, and the crystal ball-encapsulated gypsy seer (Meg Tilly). Directed by Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little), the story is slow to evolve and lacks tension or surprise. Most of this is due to a predictable script that doesn't offer a single original plot development. And the film can hardly be considered a comedy because there's nothing funny; even the line "I see dead people" falls flat, when delivered matter-of-factly by the smug son.
Although the art direction is superb, the audience barely gets to see the eerie Louisiana bayou, elaborate interiors, and shimmering ghosts. Instead, we are treated to the stares of bug-eyed Murphy and expressionless Stamp. Being in purgatory would be far more entertaining. Rating: 4 out of 10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
To say this movie is bad for the numerous reasons reviewers list here so generously isn't 100% fair. This all depends on your expectations. I mean really, how good can you expect this film to actually be? A family/horror/comedy based on a ride at Disneyworld with Eddie Murphy? C'mon, what expectations did you really have? I never would have rented this film on my own free will, I can tell you that right now. I rented this film coz it was a fun night with just my daughter(she's 5) and I, and I had her pick out the movie. She could have done much, much worse. I can't stand the "family" films that come out anymore, but I didn't mind this one bit. Is it a good movie in the horror sense? No frickin' way! Is it good as a sidesplitting comedy? No. Is it a good film to watch with a small child when your other options are Olsen twins, Spy Kids 26 and Barbie-Swan Lake? You bet your butt it is! Basically, that's how I'm judging this film. In terms of the family viewing crud out there anymore, this is on par with Citizen Kane. If you wanna put it up against something like Kill Bill, well of course it's lame. This movie has enough to entertain the kiddies as well as keep the adults from nodding off to sleep. Some reviewers have complained that this may be a tad too scary for some children. That may be true, but honestly.....who cares? Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen(that's the first time I've ever said that). Personally, I liked some of these "too scary for kids" moments. One in particular has Eddie Murphy and his daughter in a mausoleum where all the dead people come crawling out of their graves. This was actually pretty cool, quite Romero-ish. Good make-up by Rick Baker too. Terence Stamp is cool, as always. Though Eddie Murphy has really softened up over the last decade, he can still pull a few laughs out of you. This film would make perfect viewing on Halloween night if you've got kids who aren't old enough to watch Last House On The Left yet(but make sure they see that one at some point in their lives). So, if you have your kid(s) pick out a movie to rent and watch with you, consider yourself very lucky if they grab The Haunted Mansion. Just tell yourself that you could have been one of the unlucky parents who ended up watching Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2004
"The Haunted Mansion" is a great mystery movie. It tries to be funny, and it is sometimes, but there is never anything hilarious in the film. However, what it lacks in comedy, it makes up for in the drawn out storyline. The storyline is not only great, but easy for most families to relate to. Workaholic Jim Evers(Eddie Murphy) misses his anniversary, so to make up for it, he is taking the whole family for a weekend getaway. However, when he gets the opportunity to sell a mansion, he forces the family to make a pit stop. A flash flood strands them overnight, causing the Evers to get tangled up in the huge mystery hidden within the old, spooky, haunted mansion.
Anyone why has ever been to a Disney theme park and ridden the ride will get a big kick out of this movie because there are a lot of references to the ride made throughout the film. The special features are greatly disapointing. The is a behind the scenes featurette which is very short and uninformative. There is only one deleted scene, and to make this fact worse, the commentaries are filled with references to other deleted scenes. The Haunted Mansion virtual tour is boring and won't be able to hold a child's attention for the whole 23 minutes it takes to tour. There is some good in the extras section, though. The anatomy of a scene feature is very informative about how the digital effects where used to make the ghosts, and on the DVD-ROM portion of the disc, there is a history of the attraction.
This film takes place at night in a dark mansion filled with ghosts and zombies, so it will definatley scare small children. Other things parents may object to is the use of the "C" word mostly by adults, but once by a 10 year old. Another thing parents should watch out for is the fact that somebody is sucked into hell. That person was bad, but I can see where parents would object to this. All things aside, "The Haunted Mansion" is a very good movie that your family will be able to enjoy for years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I know this movie is not Oscar material by any means and was panned by the critics, but I personally love this movie. The Haunted Mansion tells the story of Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) who has become a workaholic. Jim just can't say "no" to a customer interested in buying their dream home. But his commitment to the customer is beginning to cause him to lose sight of what he loves the most: his wife, and business partner Sara,(British-born Marsha Thomason) and children Megan and Michael. Jim lands in hot water when he misses taking Sara out to dinner for their anniversary. To make it up to his family he promises to take them to the lake for a much-needed family vacation. But as always, work gets in the way. Jim and his family soon find themselves at the Gracey Mansion for a night of adventure they'll never forget.

Now, here's what I think of the movie. I think the movie is entertaining and fun. The actors all do a good job especially Marsha Thomason and Nathaniel Parker who plays Master Gracey. Marsha Thomason is stunningly beautiful and brings sophistication and charm to the role. And the ruggedly-handsome Nathaniel Parker has such a presence on screen and brings a brooding quality to the role. The role of Jim Evers is nice change from what Eddie Murphy usually does. Although I have to admit many of his lines seemed kind of cheesy and predictable. With that said, don't be mislead by all the negative reviews you have read, or will read; because Disney's The Haunted Mansion is an engaging movie the whole family will enjoy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 2, 2003
THE HAUNTED MANSION is the latest film I've seen where ordinary folks see dead people. The last was GOTHIKA. The original was, of course, SIXTH SENSE. It's evidently an inconvenient talent. (A very clever knock-off of the theme was THE OTHERS of a couple years ago starring Nicole Kidman. Its subtitle could have been, "I see live people.")
Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason are Jim and Sara Evers, a high-powered husband and wife realtor team. Sara is invited by Mr. Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) to visit his home for the purpose of listing the property. On the way out of town for the weekend, the entire Evers family, which includes son Michael (Marc Jefferies) and daughter Megan (Aree Davis), stop by the Gracey place, which proves to be a gothic, ante-bellum mansion back in the Louisiana bayous. There's a creepy cemetery stretching to the horizon out back. They're greeted by the sinister butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp). A convenient downpour closes the road, and the Evers must stay the weekend. Serious bummer for them as Master Gracey covets Sara's bod (in a G-rated sort of way).
Is this a scary movie? It provided a couple of frissons. Children may find it more frightening.
Is it amusing? Reasonably so. Eddie Murphy's humor is the constant which holds it all together. And there are a couple more chuckles coming from un-dead housemaid Emma (Dina Waters), who makes cookies, and the disembodied head of gypsy fortune-teller Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly), who inhabits a large crystal ball.
The special effects are more or less up to the current standard, which makes them at least good overall. I particularly liked the household spirits, which morph in and out of a swirling ectoplasmic smoke that was quite well done.
The acting is, for the most part, adequate. Young Davis as the unflappable Megan occasionally steals the show and was my favorite player. Stamp tries so hard to make Ramsley ominous that he just comes across as wooden. Thomason is wholesomely pretty, but not much else.
Is this a great film? Not by a long shot. Is it even memorable? Nah. The plot is contrived and silly. But you won't feel cheated if you see it even at today's extortionate prices. And the kids will probably enjoy the hell out of it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2004
Comparing the Haunted Mansion to Pirates of the Caribbean is pointless, Pirates was easily the superior film. Coming out of the theatre at a screening the week before it's release, I knew that Haunted Mansion wouldn't reach the large numbers that Pirates pulled in. In know that Eddie Murphey's fan base isn't necessarily spilling over, but I don't really believe that this is the reason for this.
I really enjoyed the Haunted Mansion, and I will definately be buying this movie on DVD, but that's because the movie literally was tailored to people like me: a huge fan of the ride.
Pirates was successful because the movie stands alone as a film. While the movie was based on the ride, the film only made nods to the ride here and there. The film had it's own story, it's own characters, and didn't try to make a story out of an attraction with no real story. In know several people who have never been on the ride, and they absolutely loved this movie (yeah, Johnny Depp helped out a little.)
The Haunted Mansion did the opposite. The movie is literally a translation of the ride to the big screen. While this is good for fans of the ride, it isn't so good for those who have never been on the ride. While I really enjoyed watching for the nods to the ride, I also recognize that someone who didn't see the novelty of the film would merely think it was a mediocre rip-off of the 1999 version of The Haunting.
I guess what I'm saying is that unlike Pirates, if you haven't been on the ride before, you may not enjoy the movie as much as someone who knows the ride.
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