Friday, February 5, 2016

Goosebumps

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Emerged!  Goosebumps!




Goosebumps – 4 out of 5

I’ll confess that my knowledge of the Goosebumps book series is extremely limited.  If memory serves me correctly, I’ve only read one book.  The series came out at a time where I was too old to find them scary and wasn’t young enough to find them amusing.  This caused the series to sorta pass me by and I really only knew about them because of how popular they were and the lasting impact they’ve had on pop culture—Heck, the line I saw for R.L. Stine at C2E2 a few years back was flippin’ impressive!  Despite the fact that I’ve only read one book in my life (and can’t even remember which one it was), I really wanted to see Goosebumps in the theater because I love Jack Black and thought the trailer made the film look very entertaining and a whole hell of a lot of fun.  However, when the time came for my gf and I to see a movie on our anniversary (our anniversary is on Halloween--I know, that's awesome), see vetoed my idea of seeing this one and we ended up seeing Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.  Sure, SGttZA was a lot of fun and really cool but I was pretty glad when I finally got a chance to rent this one…and it was totally worth it!

Always bet on Black.

Yep, that was a terrible joke.

What a beautiful location.  It's doubtful this will ever
come into play again during the film.
Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mother (Amy Ryan) find themselves moving to a small town in the middle of Delaware.  While unpacking, Zach meets his neighbor; Hannah (Odeya Rush), and he seems intrigued with her but gets a foreboding warning from her father (Jack Black) to stay away.  After fearing that Hannah may be in some trouble, Zach and his new friend from school; Champ (Ryan Lee), sneak into the home to help her and discover that her father has all of the Goosebumps novels locked away.  Accidentally they open one and find that magic exists on the pages and the creature within comes to life.  Hannah’s father reveals himself to be the author R.L. Stine and that every story he ever wrote came to life and the only way to stop an escaping monster is to use the power of the pages to pull it back in but before they can do that, Stine’s worst creation, the ventriloquist dummy Slappy, has unleashed all the monsters from all the books and seeks to destroy the whole town and the author that created them.  Now Stine and the kids must work together to stop the monsters from unleashing all kinds of torment on the city and the world.

When are we going to learn that all ventriloquist dummies are evil?!?

A werewolf chasing a kid pushing a shopping cart
filled with an actor/musician...what a cliche.
Like I said, I was really excited to watch this film and it did not disappoint.  The story is incredibly fun and really fits in with the tone of Stine’s famous books.  The whole film feels like it belongs to one of his creations and the META element of having it center around the actual books, their creatures and Stine himself just added another fun element that made the film extremely entertaining.  The whole product really captured that perfect balance of being just dark enough to be spooky to the young adults that the series appeals to but light enough with its comedy to make it something that won’t make older audience members feel like they are watching an extremely watered-down horror film.  It really made for a great dark comedy that might not be as dark as other films in this genre get but was, without a doubt, extremely amusing to me.

Anyone else bothered by the fact the Yeti isn't wearing pants?
I get that he's a Yeti and doesn't have to wear them but it's still strange...

Some of the special effects on the creatures might not be photorealistic and have a tendency to come off a bit cartoony but, overall, really worked for the overall product.  This isn’t to say that the special effects were disappointing because it’s actually quite the contrary.  Elements like the gigantic praying mantis looked absolutely incredible and other elements like the Yeti and the wolf-man looked a little on the silly side but, in the end, really highlighted the tone the film was going for.  Goosebumps’ stories, like I stated, ride that line of being just spooky enough and just light enough for the young adult readers and the less-than-realistic look to many of the monsters in the story showcased that balance.

Dat mantis was on point though--as the kids say.
Right?  The kids say that?
 

Seriously, every scene with this kid was gold!
Finally, the film has some really great and incredibly fun performances from the entire cast.  Jack Black is absolutely hysterical as Stine and the kids are all doing fantastically in their roles.  Special mention has to be made to Ryan Lee because that kid killed me as he nailed each and every funny moment perfectly.  I was a little disappointed to see that Ken Marino was in the film and only had two or three scenes.  I’m a big fan of the guy and find him hilarious beyond words and seeing him not utilized in a fashion that is not complimentary to his skills hurts a little bit but the rest of the cast really hits all their funny notes excellently and this disappointment I felt was only passing.

I LOVE YOU, KEN!!!!  WHEN WILL YOU START RETURNING MY PHONE
CALLS?

The trailer to Goosebumps made the film look to be a fun ride full of nostalgia and hilarity and it delivered that extremely well.  Admittedly, some of the jokes early on in the film were kinda weak and it took some time for the film to find its footing and really take off but when it starts moving, it never stops.  Not long after the first monster is unleashed, the film hits its stride and ended up becoming a non-stop ride of laughs and fun.  This is definitely a feature I am going to purchase and, almost definitely, break out every Halloween for some fun.  As my girlfriend described the film when it was over, it was like Hocus Pocus for a new generation…and that’s not a bad way to put it.

Hey, it's the real R.L. Stine!  It's like a George R.R. Martin cameo only you know
Stine actually got some writing done at various points in his life.

 

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