As I sat in the theater patiently waiting for the movie to begin, I noticed two things right away. Number 1: stragglers loudly trying to find good seats in complete darkness and number 2: countless trailers to Hollywood's newest payday: kiddie movies.
Digesting this, my life as a writer horribly flashed before my eyes and I wondered... "What would make this movie, Monster House, so different than the dozens of movies before it and soon after?" My answer came almost immediately and 86 minutes later I was sure of it. This movie, unlike some of the animated films of today, contained an actual story and at times surprisingly enthralled me with its thrilling plot.
With animation along the lines of "The Polar Express," co-executive producer Robert Zemeckis once again creates a virtual world that at times looks startlingly real. As the movie begins we meet 12-year-old D.J. (voiced by Michel Musso) who's made it his mission to solve the mystery of his neighbor, a crotchety old man named Nebbercracker (voiced by Steve Buscemi) who lives across the street in a sinister-looking house that comes alive and snatches any kid, man or toy that dare comes near its shabby door.
While off to a somewhat slow start, the movie gears up as Nebbercracker presumably drops dead while threatening D.J. to stay off his lawn or else. With no adults to believe the tale of the possessed house and after narrowly escaping its clutches, D.J., along with his chubby friend Chowder (voiced by Sam Lerner) and a candy-pushing prep school girl named Jenny (Spencer Locke), decide to take matters into their own hands and stop the house for good-hours before Halloween night and the approach of the house's biggest meal yet: the neighborhood trick or treaters.
The story, while made for kids, is not without its witty humor and subtle undertones for the more mature adult audience. In fact, at times the movie pushes the envelope of its PG rating with its uvula jokes, alcohol-induced rants, death scenes and explosions. While certainly not the best kid flick I've ever seen and almost assuredly not the last, this movie is full of strong voices and a supporting cast that kids and adults alike can enjoy.