It was late last night when I finally sat down and popped on the new Goosebumps movie.
After seeing trailers, I figured I should lower my standards, but I decided that I needed to keep an open mind.
This movie wasn’t targeted toward my generation anymore; in fact, it’s meant to bring in a whole new generation of young readers.
So after an hour and 45 minutes, I can safely say…that I actually enjoyed my time.
As a hardcore fan of the original book and television series, I was expecting to hate this flick. It’s a family horror-comedy. Jack Black as R.L. Stine? Such a strange choice. But for a fictionalized version of my favorite children’s author, he did a pretty good job. It wasn’t perfect, but he wasn’t trying to mimic R.L. Stine from his brief opening appearances in many of my favorite book-to-television adaptations.
In fact, I didn’t have a problem with the cast. Albeit every character in the movie was one-dimensional, most of R.L. Stine’s characters were one-dimensional.
The story of Zach Cooper is similar to the story of many of R.L. Stine’s protagonists: young teenager moves across the country to a new and unknown city, and he is not very excited about the move. His father died, and that’s touched upon a little bit but not so much, and his mother is just trying to make ends meet in order to provide a suitable home for her only child.
Supporting characters, including R.L. Stine’s daughter Hannah, and Zach’s new friend Champ (short for Champion), are great characters in that they are simplistic and, in the case of the latter, downright humorous.
I really liked that in keeping with the old age style of filming, a number of shots and scenes in the movie were strikingly familiar in terms of general tone and angle of shooting to that of classic TV episodes, including the camera hiding behind the fence watching the protagonist walk toward their house, and the hand appearing in the frame, sneaking up on the protagonist’s shoulder to provide a moment of shock horror that only a young viewer could handle.
And let’s not forget about the monsters, because there was a ton, and they took up more than half of the film. The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, Slappy the Dummy, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, the gnomes from ‘Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes’, the blob from ‘The Blob that Ate Everyone’, and much, much more.
The visual effects was very well done, albeit rough to start, it really got going once the action kicked in to high gear.
And it wouldn’t be an R.L. Stine flick without a twist ending, which the movie did end with.
All-in-all, it was fun and light-hearted and an innocent representation of a classic series I hold near and dear to my heart, and it also gets my stamp of approval.