Cert: PG Runtime: 103 mins Director: Rob Letterman Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee and Amy Ryan
Every story ever told can be broken down into three parts. The beginning. The middle. And the twist
Goosebumps was an integral part of my reading life as a child, they inspired me to enjoy the horror genre and to be creative. They are very beloved books by me and I loved the television series back in the day. When I heard of a Jack Black Goosebumps film I wasn’t sold, but I had to give it a try (mainly for nostalgia reasons). We have waited quite a while for this film to come out in the UK and it has finally arrived. So what is Goosebumps about? When his widowed mum Gale (Amy Ryan) gets a new job in the small town of Madison, Delaware, teenager Zach (Dylan Minnette) is not exactly overjoyed at having to relocate from New York. But he perks up when he meets his attractive new neighbour, Hannah (Odeya Rush). Unfortunately, her father turns out to be wildly over-protective writer R.L. Stine (Jack Black), who lives in seclusion for fear that his spooky Goosebumps characters could be released from the manuscripts in which they’re trapped. When Zach unlocks one of the books while fooling around, all hell breaks loose. Soon hordes of monsters are on the loose, including an abominable snowman, a werewolf, and a band of evil garden gnomes!
Now if you’ve read Goosebumps or watched the series then you’d know that there’s a lot of monsters, ghouls, witches and all sorts of creeps in the books. You’re probably wondering if each of them is in the movie and if they’ve got their own screen-time. Sad part is they don’t. The movie mostly shows up the same monsters in every scene: a mantis, a dummy, a werewolf, and the abominable snowman. This is going to be very disappointing to you if you’ve read the books and wanted your favourite monster to show up.Jack Black is in his usual bumbling man role. He’s actually not bad as R.L. Stine but it’s not a performance you’ll remember.The movie is also very fast paced. The characters are running around from one set piece to the next with only short scenes in between where we expand on their characters. The movie slides by very fast without a moment of boredom for your kids.The amount of CGI in this movie is absolutely ludicrous. There’s good CGI out there and there’s unnecessary CGI.
This movie suffers from the overflow of CGI. I understand that CGI is necessary in certain scenes but there’s no reason at all that practical effects, makeup and animatronics couldn’t have been used in this movie. The monsters from the original show looked more believable than the ones in this movie. Also the camera work was very unfocused in a couple of scenes. I don’t know why this was but it stuck out to me in a scene in the beginning of the movie set in the woods.While the movie certainly isn’t bad and I’m very glad they mostly restrained pop-culture references it’s just not memorable. What would have worked better is if they made this movie in an anthology style. Have the movie be cut into 4 segments adapting old and new Goosebumps stories. It’s a wonderful wave of nostalgia through out but I will reiterate I didn’t dislike it. This is a lot of fun!