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Monster House is a 2006 American 3D computer-animated family[3] horror comedy film[4] directed by Gil Kenan, produced by ImageMovers and Amblin Entertainment,[5] and distributed by Columbia Pictures about a neighborhood that's being terrorized by a demonic house. The film stars Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O'Hara, Kathleen Turner, and Fred Willard.

Cast

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Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, and Mitchel Musso at the 34th Annie Awards red carpet at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.

  • Mitchel Musso as Dustin J. "DJ" Walters, a 12-year-old boy[6] who is known for spying on Nebbercracker through a telescope. He is treated like a child and is often thought to be crazy.
  • Sam Lerner as Charles "Chowder", DJ's best friend. He has a habit of acting slightly strange and immature.
  • Spencer Locke as Jenny Bennett, an intelligent girl who attends a prestigious all-girls school called Westbrook Prep. DJ and Chowder both have crushes on her, but she only returns DJ's affections.
  • Steve Buscemi as Mr. Horace Nebbercracker, a 72-year-old former US Army "demolition squad" expert who lives across the street from DJ. He is known for stealing anything that lands on his lawn. It is later revealed he is a good person, protecting others from his possessed house by his late wife Constance's ghost.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elizabeth "Zee", DJ's punk babysitter who was kicked out of Westbrook Prep. She is sardonic and, like his parents, treats DJ in a patronizing manner. She is paranoid that Sherry Klausen will steal her boyfriend Bones.
  • Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard as Mr. and Mrs. Walters, DJ's overprotective parents who treat their son in babyish ways.
  • Jason Lee as Bones, Zee's punk rocker boyfriend. He takes great pleasure in bullying DJ.
  • Jon Heder as Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, a videogame-crazed comic geek and expert on the supernatural who once played an arcade game for 4 days straight on one quarter, a gallon of chocolate milk, and an adult diaper. He becomes Zee's boyfriend at the end of the movie.
  • Kevin James as Officer Landers, a police officer and Officer Lester's partner. Landers is an experienced cop with a laid-back, sardonic, and deadpan personality.
  • Nick Cannon as Officer Lester, a police officer who is Officer Landers' partner. Lester is a rookie on his first week.
  • Kathleen Turner as Constance "The Giantess" Nebbercracker, a 675-pound woman who was featured against her will in a circus' freak show in the mid 1940s. Horace Nebbercracker, having fallen in love with her, freed and married her. People (especially children) constantly disliked Constance because of her size, driving her to the point of fits of anger, which eventually led to her death and her spirit to be trapped within the house, causing it to come alive.

Production

Performance capture

The film was shot using performance capture, in which the actors performed the characters' movement while linked to sensors. This process was pioneered by Robert Zemeckis on his film The Polar Express, also produced by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Reception

Monster House grossed $73,661,010 in the United States and Canada, and $66,513,996 overseas, for a worldwide total of $140,175,006.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. Based on 158 reviews collected by review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored a 74% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Monster House welcomes kids and adults alike into a household full of smart, monstrous fun."

Ian Freer, writing for Empire, gave the film 4 out of 5 stars with the verdict, "A kind of Goonies for the Noughties, Monster House is a visually dazzling thrill ride that scales greater heights through its winning characters and poignantly etched emotions. A scary, sharp, funny movie, this is the best kids’ flick of the year so far." Jane Boursaw of Common Sense Media also gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "This is one of those movies where all the planets align: a top-notch crew (director Gil Kenan; executive producers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis), memorable voices that fit the characters perfectly; and a great story, ingenious backstory, and twisty-turny ending." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel wrote, "This Monster House is a real fun house. It's a 3-D animated kids' film built on classic gothic horror lines, a jokey, spooky Goonies for the new millennium." He also gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Scott Bowles of USA Today observed, "The movie treats children with respect. Monster's pre-teens are sarcastic, think they're smarter than their parents and are going crazy over the opposite sex. Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle wrote, "It's engineered to scare your pants off, split your sides and squeeze your tear ducts into submission." Michael Medved called it "ingenious" and "slick, clever [and] funny" while also cautioning parents about letting small children see it due to its scary and intense nature, adding that a "PG-13 rating" would have been more appropriate than its "PG rating." A. O. Scott of the New York Times commented, "One of the spooky archetypes of childhood imagination — the dark, mysterious house across the street — is literally brought to life in “Monster House,” a marvelously creepy animated feature directed by Gil Kenan."

Dissenting critics included Frank Lovece of Film Journal International, who praised director Gil Kenan as "a talent to watch" but berated the "internal logic [that] keeps changing.... DJ's parents are away, and the house doesn't turn monstrous in front of his teenage babysitter, Zee. But it does turn monstrous in front of her boyfriend, Bones. It doesn't turn monstrous in front of the town's two cops until, in another scene, it does." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote, "Alert "Harry Potter" fans will notice the script shamelessly lifts the prime personality traits of J.K. Rowling's three most important young characters for its lead trio: Tall, dark-haired, serious-minded DJ is Harry, semi-dufus Chowder is Ron and their new cohort, smarty-pants prep school redhead Jenny (Spencer Locke), is Hermione.... [I]t is a theme-park ride, with shocks and jolts provided with reliable regularity. Across 90 minutes, however, the experience is desensitizing and dispiriting and far too insistent."

In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Animation Films list.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Recipient Result
Academy Award Best Animated Feature Nominated
Annie Award Best Animated Feature Nominated
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Gil Kenan Nominated
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Maggie Gyllenhaal Nominated
Sam Lerner Nominated
Spencer Locke Nominated
Writing in an Animated Feature Production Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab & Pamela Pettler Nominated
Golden Globe Awards] Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Saturn Award Best Animated Film Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Mitchel Musso Nominated
Best Score Douglas Pipes Nominated

Video game

Monster House (video game) A video game based on the film, titled Monster House, was released by THQ on July 18, 2006 for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. Players can choose one of the three main characters from the film (voiced by the same actors), and explore new sections of the house, battling creatures with water blasters and other unique weapons.

See also

References

  1. Monster House. British Board of Film Classification (June 16, 2006). Retrieved on October 28, 2012.
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  6. Monster House. iTunes. Retrieved on September 20, 2012.