Sunday, May 15, 2016

Goosebumps - Basement Matinee

Hello and Welcome To Basement Matinee…

Back in the 1990s, Goosebumps was all the rage, with the books, some of which I still happen to own, including Night of The Living Dummy, and a rather fun TV show which aired as part of the FOX Kids block on well… Fox, and to say R.L. Stein got a lot of kids in middle (or junior) high reading is an understatement. The franchise has been on and off over the years, with different series being created, including a graphic novel run I’ll have to track down at some point… with eventually everything come to ahead with the 2015 motion picture starring Jack Black.

So if the movie came out last year, why am I just talking about it now? Because I finally got around to watching it on Netflix earlier today.  According to R.L. Stein himself, the concept of a Goosebumps movie was around for nearly 20 years, but there was a question over which book should be adapted for the big screen, until it was decided instead to do something that involved as many different monsters from the series early days. So we got homages to ‘Night of The Living Dummy’, ‘The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena’ , Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, The Haunted Car, A Shocker on Shock Street, My Best Friend is Invisible… without question this was the best way to go for the film, because again, as someone who read the books and watched the Fox Kids show, it gave me something to pop for.

Now four those you who may not know, the plot of the film is actually a bit basic, a teenager boy and his mom move to a new town, he becomes infatuated with the girl next door who has an over protective father and through a series of hijinks, it turns out the father is R.L Stein, played by Jack Black, a reclusive writer who basically went into obscurity, and it turns out all of his stories are ‘real’, he them to terrorize those who bullied him, but the monsters became real and uncontrollable. He managed to lock them away, but they are freed accidentally, leading to a mad dash to try and capture the creatures who are being lead by Slappy The Dummy (from Night of the Living Dummy) who are out to get and kill Stein...

Okay maybe not so basic… but the execution is done very well, and despite the over the top concept, everything is played straight, which helped stressed the urgency of the story. The special effects were solid, nothing to spectacular so they didn’t take away from what was being displayed… if I had to find a problem with the movie is that… there were a couple of elements out of the Disney / Nickelodeon formula of ‘High School Stereotypes’ , namely with the ‘comic relief’ in the form Champ, who I just wanted to see on the wrong end of the jaws of the Werewolf of Fever Swamp…

And don’t tell me characters weren’t killed in the movie, cause it’s quite clear that that the Praying Mantis ate one teen.

But I digress… outside of Champ, played by Ryan Lee, I think everyone was decently cast and perform their roles well with the material they were given, in fact I would say this would be the first Jack Black movie with the words Kung Fu and Panda in the title that I actually liked.

So the verdict is this: for an hour and forty-three minutes, Goosebumps is fun little flick that plays perfectly as tribute to the source material while also kicking starting a possible film-franchise, as the ending certainly left things open for a sequel.

Basically: I am recommending to check it out, if you have not already seen it.

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Chilling Out On A Sunday