(2006) dir. Gil Kenan
viewed: 08/14/06 at Odeon Derby, Derby, UK
Second film that I watched in England on this holiday (annoyed again by the nearly half hour of garbage advertising that preceded even the trailers) was again straight out of Hollywood, and like the Pirates film, it was actually a very good example of what Hollywood can do when it manages to get it right.
Monster House is produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis and it channels their kid fare of the 1980’s with significant success. It’s a more mature kids film, meaning that it’s actually on the scary side and that it has no annoying cutesy sidekicks or bad musical numbers throughout.
The design is strong, slick and polished. The animation was made with motion capture, in which actors’ movements, bodily and facial are recorded through wires attached to their body. So the movement and to an extent, the characters’ expressions are literally that of the actor. I have never cared for most implementations of this technique and though it works well in this film, better than I’ve ever seen, it still stuck in my craw at times.
But the film itself, the narrative, the characters, the action, everything is pretty fun and solid. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s far better than anything that Hollywood has output in some years. My understanding is the Gil Kenan, the director, is a true protege of Spielberg and Zemeckis. Maybe he’ll continue to blossom as a director. Who knows? This film is certainly fun and worth seeing even if it is straight out of modern classic Hollywood style and direction.