The House With a Clock in its Walls (3/10) Movie Review and Video – CWEB.com
Runtime 104 minutes.
As a general rule of thumb, I loathe fantasy movies about sorcery and such. I’m probably the only person in the world, only critic anyway, who walked out of two, count ‘em, two Harry Potter movies (no, I did not write reviews of them).
I try not to know much about films when I see them because I want to be like an ordinary viewer. This was a mistake here because had I known what it was I would have stayed away.
Directed by Eli Roth from a script by Eric Kripke adapted from a novel by John Bellairs, Louis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a little boy who loses his parents and is sent to live with his uncle, Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black), in what is an enchanted house full of furniture that moves and has a life of its own. Hidden within its walls is a clock that is counting down to doomsday. Jonathan is a warlock whose partner Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan, in the only memorable performance in the movie, although he’s helped because it is a bizarre character) made and hid the clock because he wanted the world to count backwards before creation to see what would happen.
Also present in the house is Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), a witch, whose presence in the movie presented the only mystery to ponder. There is no earthly reason for her character and it is only there to provide a vehicle for a big star to draw people into a movie that is not worth seeing. She adds nothing (but, then, there’s not much to add to) because the repartee between her and Louis is more cringeworthily silly than funny. The plot is that the good wizards must find the clock and stop it from running before it completes its countdown and the world as we know it ends.
Roth apparently wanted to make this film to entice children into the horror genre, so this is much more light-hearted than scary. In fact, it’s not scary. Problem is that it is not funny, either.
It’s really hard to sit through the first hour which drags incessantly, but when Izard is raised from the dead and enters the film it picks up somewhat, but not enough.