Starring: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Steve Buscemi
Director: Gil Kenan
Running Time: 91 mins
Monster House is an American film about a group of friends who discover that the house across the street is a real monster.
This is a really poor film. Its subpar visuals are one thing to complain about, but we’ve seen films with similar-quality animation excel when it comes to writing, yet Monster House really fails to deliver on that front, with a very simplistic and predictable screenplay complete with underwhelming humour and a total lack of character depth, all of which makes for a film that may enjoy kids under the age of 8, but few other people.
There’s a lot that just doesn’t work about Monster House, but if there’s one thing about it that really sticks in my mind, then it’s the animation. The fact that the film was made in 2006 is no excuse, as Pixar had already mastered computer animation 11 years earlier with the release of Toy Story, so the only reason that the animation in this film is so poor can be budgetary.
The whole thing looks like a cutscene from a computer game made in the late nineties, and doesn’t stand up to the quality you’d expect for something being shown on the silver screen. From beginning to end, looking at Monster House and its averagely-animated characters’ robotic movements is really rather unpleasant, and something that puts a bit of a damper on the prospect of any entertainment right from the beginning.
However, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and we’ve seen from the example of Hoodwinked! that a film with awful animation can still be very entertaining, so long as the writing is good.
Unfortunately, the screenplay here isn’t all that great either. It’s not particularly awful, but there’s nothing in any way inspiring or hugely entertaining about it, and as a result there’s very little to really enjoy with this film.
Its premise is dodgy from the outset, and the age-old idea of kids trying to figure out the mystery of the creepy house across the street has a little of its magic taken away by a story that tries to lay out everything for you, leaving very little to the imagination with a series of preposterous and rather underwhelming plot twists and surprises throughout.
As a result, the film’s story runs to the end in rather uninspiring fashion, and combined with a general lack of good humour (there’s some simple stuff for the kids, but not much else), there really isn’t anything to love about Monster House, leaving you with little else to do than marvel at how bad the animation is.
Again, for its target audience of young kids, this film can surely be enjoyable given how simple it is, however I still feel that it’s a film that’s poorly made above all else, failing to bring any good humour or intrigue to the table to mask its awful production quality, all of which is why I’m giving it a 6.0 overall.