THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS REVIEWED
“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is a little more Lemony Snicket than Harry Potter. That’s a good thing, but it’s also very indicative of where Eli Roth goes to pad out his first foray into kiddie cinema. It’s less about the magic and more about building a friendly dark world. Does it matter that the film is set in the mid 1950s? Only in the sense that it gives the childlike imaginative jaunts a reason for existing.
Eli Roth has what it takes to make a PG Amblin style movie. He does that by mining what worked in the past and trying to frame it within his horror roots. Whether it’s Kyle MacLachlan in make-up evoking John Forsythe in “Scrooged” or the Gothic fascination of a house powered by arcane gears. The right elements are there, but they are offset by magic adult-headed baby Jack Black or forced scenes in 1950s school.
Jack Black and Cate Blanchett do their best as the adult parental figures. However, Cate Blanchett seems to be blown off the screen by Jack Black being a slightly subdued Jack Black. He looks the part of a 1950s weirdo magician uncle. However, I keep expecting him to break out a few bars of Explosivo during slower scenes. Still, the adults play second fiddle as they do in most Young Adult/Kid novels. This is a magically tinged kid power fantasy that does its job. Naturally, I expect that most adult fans of Eli Roth will miss the point.
- 1 hr and 44 mins