The House with a Clock in Its Walls Blu-ray + DVD + Digital
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Meet the magical characters
Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black)
Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett)
Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro)
Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan)
In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls. The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town's sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches. Based on the beloved children's classic book.
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Truly though, the bottom line is just that quick glimpse of a crucifix upside down. That was completely unnecessary and it ruined the movie for me. In our time, most people don't even know what blasphemy is. But even now, blasphemy is blasphemy. And it ruined what might have been a fun movie.
Obviously Hollywood thinks demons from hell (they use that terminology) and satanic symbolism is suitable for children. Unbelievable. Then again, what else should we expect in a nation that threw God out decades ago.
Jack Black and Cate Blanchett have excellent chemistry together. They're both quite humorous, but they also nail the characters' more serious moments. It's weird that a trifecta of children's/family films has produced some of Jack Black's best roles. Although, you feel a bit more of the Jack Black personality here than in his other two roles, he does manifest the character of Uncle Jonathan, the fun uncle who also has a secret undertaken. Overall, all the characters are really well-fleshed out here.
Visually the film looks great from the 50s' setting to the entire look of the lavish house from the title, especially the scary visuals. Really, they rank with the likes of Tim Burton or Krampus.
The film knows when to have fun, but it knows when to bring on the scares. As a child I preferred the original book and the other works of John Bellairs over Goosebumps, because the horror was played more directly and seriously, and this movie understands that. Cautious parents be aware that this is as scary as a PG movie can get. Well, maybe not as much as The Witches, but what is. This is definitely Coraline level.
The only downside is that at a running time of one hour and forty-four minutes, the second act, which is heavy on the character bits, drags a bit. Most of the action doesn't happen till the third act.
Roth surpassed my expectations here, and I hope he gets a chance at adapting the second book in the series.
Top international reviews
bring smile or two along the way.
10 year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) after losing his parents in a car-crash goes to live with his rather
strange yet magical uncle Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black) a Warlock in his big house, he'll meet also his uncle's
best friend Florence Zimmerman ( Cate Blanchett) a witch with even greater powers than his uncle.
During his first night in the big house he see's a light beneath his bedroom door and decides to investigate,
it's his uncle who unbeknown to Lewis is trying to find the clock which makes a loud ticking noise and seems
to be hidden behind the walls of the house, when Lewis see's his uncle smash a hole in the wall with an axe he
becomes frightened and try's to leave, however in doing so furniture comes to life and prevents him leaving..
seems the house likes Lewis being there.
At his new school Lewis doesn't really fit in, he's seen as a strange boy by his fellow pupils, however he does
befriend one boy who he takes back to the big house.....well, there is a cupboard Lewis has been forbidden by his
uncle to try and open, however rules like that don't apply to all ?
In the cupboard a book of spells is found by Lewis and his so-called friend, Lewis who had been learning from
books lent to him by his uncle and guidance on magic will try to impress Tarby on Halloween night by using the
books spell in the graveyard....however what he awakes should have been left to lie.
Jonathan's uncle who knows the power of the elusive clock Isaac Izard is about to wreak havoc unless Jonathan,
Florence and indeed Lewis can stop him.
This is in the main a fun-ride that most will enjoy, especially if a fan of Jack Black, with good special-effects along
the way definitively a good family watch....though a word of caution, it is sometimes quite dark and is not in my
opinion one for the younger viewers.
Look out too for the topiary Lion, ridiculously childish base humour but oh so funny, i had to re-watch that part several times!
was very helpful with returning it and sent a replacement quite quickly.
Only downside was that the first disc I rec'd was faulty and had to return it - been doing this a lot with Amazon lately.
I love Jack Black, and this film suits his 'over the top' personality.
You will never see a pumpkin, or a piece of topiary in the same light again.