26 July 2006

Monster House

A long time ago, Disney held the mantel when it came to animation. During the late 1970's and 1980's, it went to pieces, but there were not many studios producing the quality films. Disney, of course, regained it back in 1991. But those years are behind them again. Still, with the aide of Pixar, Disney has maintained a high profile. However, with out the CGI company, Disney continues to fall behind.

For the most part, the reason it has failed to get a hit is because they’ve lost the ability to tell a story. They’ve let the bottom line and investors run the company, parading out direct-to-DVD sequels to their most classic films like candy in a vending machine, failing to understand that what makes a movie -animation or live action - is the story.

That leads to Monster House, one of the best, funniest and well written story not to come from Disney. This animated film uses the same technology as Polar Express, but the motion capture and the other technology in the film is not as important as the story and believability of the kid actors. This solid story telling is what makes the film so entertaining.

The voice talent is excellent, led by Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke, with supporting rolls going to the excellent Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner and John Heder. Directed by Gil Kenan, the film never drags and will keep kids, and adults, entertained.

Executive Produced by Robert Zemekis and Steven Speilberg, I did pickup on at least three “in jokes” from previous Zemekis films (Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Castaway), but unlike, say the Shrek films which rely on many pop culture references, this film has little or none at all.


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