Once A House With A Clock In Its Walls was released, it came and went and no one talked about it. When I came about the trailer, I witnessed the magical and fun feeling it gave off. And when I saw Jack Black in the cast, I knew it would be funny.
The movie takes place in the 1950s where we see a little boy named Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro. His parents tragically died, so he’s now under the custody of his uncle Jonathan, played by Jack Black, who is a quirky, laid back, and strange man who lives in a big, dark house. He lives next door to an elegant woman named Mrs. Zimmerman, who is played by Cate Blanchett. Lewis has a hard time fitting into his new environment with friends, bullies, and the strange ticking sounds in his uncle’s house. However, his life gets turned around when he realizes the house once belonged to an evil warlock named Isaac Izzard and his partner in crime Selena—and signs say they’re coming back. So the race is on for Jonathan to teach Lewis magic while also finding a way to destroy a weapon that has great power.
Judging from my synopsis, that’s a lot to take in. But the film manages to keep everything balanced. What stood out is that it did have a very relaxed tone to it. What’s also is amazing is the relationships with the characters. Jonathan and Zimmerman are genuinely connected, as are Lewis and Jonathan. The interactions the kid actors have with each other is also really pure and admirable.
Lewis is a typical, nerdy introvert that everyone picks on and doesn’t like. Similar to Disney’s Pinocchio, the producers make him act rebellious and deceitful. That doesn’t mean he’s bad, in fact. It means he’s a regular little kid. Jonathan also has an amazing character dynamic. Sure, he’s laid back and silly, but he’s also intelligent in magic and very caring. He reminded me a lot of Hagrid from Harry Potter. In fact, the plot of the movie seemed eerily similar to Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.
What the film lacks is the promise of magic. They go on and on teaching about magic, but only a few times do we actually get to see the magic. When we do see it, it’s not for very long. Nevertheless, what the film lacks in magic, it makes up for in ominous qualities. The design of the villain is one of the scariest I’ve seen. There are also monsters we have seen before, such as living jack-o-lanterns, multiple armed reptilian monsters, and living, rusty dolls and string puppets scary enough to haunt dreams.
If you want to see magic spells and monsters, you will like this fine. If you don’t like scary imagery and want to see more, then you may think this is a bore. For what it is, I’m glad I saw it and thought it was an overall decent film.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com