The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Released 09/21/2018                              Rated: PG

When I first saw the trailer I was like “What is this? This looks awesome!” A kid’s movie, but awesome nonetheless. I’d never heard of the book before, and didn’t even realize it was one until I saw it at the library. I’m mildly interested in reading the book, but only because I enjoyed the movie.

After losing his parents in a car accident, Lewis is sent to live with his Uncle Jonathan in Michigan. The house is huge and mysterious and full of clocks. But soon Uncle Jonathan reveals the truth: the house is alive and he and his best friend/neighbor Florence Zimmerman are a warlock and witch. They begin to instruct Lewis in the ways of magic, all the while an elusive clock hidden within the walls of the house seems to be counting down to something. An impending threat hanging over them all.

This movie was such a treat. It really is a great way to kick off the Halloween season. It was fantastical, funny, spooky, and all around fun. Obviously I’m not sure how it correlates with the book, but we liked it. I’m a little surprised at the PG rating, though. I would not suggest it for the younger kids. If they’re into “scary” stuff that’s one thing, but there’s some sinister-looking jack-o-lanterns and other things that are going to scare the much younger ones. I absolutely loved it, but I’m watching it going “this is a kids’ movie…” But for the most part the movie’s fine.

On a similar side note, because it’s a kids’ movie there unfortunately is some potty humor, or as the ratings band puts it “rude humor.” [sigh] Do we really need the poop jokes? Do we? I’m guessing that it’s a part of the book because they reuse the joke four times throughout the movie. However it feels like Hollywood going “We’re losing the kids’ interest during a serious moment. Throw in a poop joke.” If it’s the latter, literally anything else would have been better. There’s a plant-based Griffon that poops out dead leaves. The first time we physically see the leaves exit its butt in a spray, and let me tell you I’m extremely thankful that it was only dead leaves and wasn’t made to appear more realistic. But I absolutely did not need the imagery.  The chair chasing the plant Griffon with a chainsaw because of the poop joke was funny. But the cat pooping everywhere and Jack Black shouting “Bad kitty! Use the litter box!” [Shakes head.]

The movie truly is a great start to the Halloween season. A large old house that’s alive. A hidden clock that sounds like it’s the size of the house. Hidden passageways. Witches and wizards. Good magic. Evil magic. Pumpkins. Automatons. Sweets; so many cookies. And more that I don’t want to spoil. Whether you’ve read the book or not, I’d say go see this one. Overall it was a great movie about believing in yourself and being you, even if you’re the black sheep. Black and Blanchett had great chemistry as long-time friends, constantly ragging on one another. And it’s always a treat to see Kyle MacLachlan; the man can do it all. We had a ton of fun. and if there is a sequel down the road I hope it’s just as good.

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