January 30, 2012

Monster House

[Digital Gonzo 2012]

To celebrate Halloween I’m reviewing Monster House, one of the few movies ever put out by ImageMovers Digital.

It uses an identical performance capture technique to the Uncharted series, Heavenly Sword, Enslaved and The Last of Us. This is a technique that usually freaks people out because of the Uncanny Valley, less so in games because we’re used to seeing CG modeling but in the cinema people wonder why they’re not just looking at real people.

This is the most stylised of IMD’s catalog. They wisely make the character models more cartoonish and slightly claymation-looking which is easier to accept in the brainpan.

Joining me for this review are Neil Taylor of GameBurst and Jerome McIntosh of the Gonzo Planet community.

The plot runs thus: DJ, a young lad in an American suburb, watches the house across the street, the only occupant being a creepy, angry old man. There’s something funny going on inside and DJ is determined to find out what. 

It’s Halloween and his parents are going away, leaving him with a babysitter, which is embarrassing because he is on the cusp of growing up. His tubby, exuberant and scaredy-cat friend Chowder wants to go trick or treating one last time which DJ considers them now a bit too old for. And a smug, preppy swot of a girl named Jenny comes calling, selling cookies like a pro. All of them end up fixated on this house and what could be inside.
That Halloween night they find out. 

If you like The Goonies, Stand By Me or other 80′s adventures that don’t patronise the kids and have them talking like real people (Super 8 is another one even though it’s made in 2011 and set in 1979), you will love this. It’s a little bit too scary for young kids if you have them so watch it first. There are some great moments of comedy and a fantastic atmosphere of exploration. Also it’s got a solid emotional core. Ultimately it’s a story about growing up and what you have to leave behind.

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKiddDogg

Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst

 

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