The House With a Clock In Its Walls, rated PG
The House With a Clock In Its Walls is a PG rated dark, mysterious, creative and a bit wacky fantasy film, with some content concerns for Christian parents. The film is directed by Eli Roth (Hostel) in his first film not rated “R”. The screenplay is written by Eric Kripke based on the 1973 young adult novel by John Bellairs.
The film is set in 1955 in the small town of New Zebedee, Michigan. Ten-year-old Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro (Daddy’s Home, Daddy’s Home 2), is orphaned, his parents having died in a car accident. He is then sent to live in a mysterious Victorian mansion filled with clocks with his eccentric uncle Jonathan, played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Jack Black (Bernie, The School of Rock) who was excellent in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Lewis eventually finds out that his uncle he has never known is a warlock and his uncle’s best friend and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman, played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Aviator), is a witch. Lewis asks his uncle to teach him magic, which he reluctantly agrees to.
The mansion’s former owner was Jonathan’s ex-partner and former best friend, the evil warlock Isaac Izard, played by Golden Globe winner Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), who died when a spell went wrong. Isaac had come back from World War II a changed man, bitter and wanting to rewind the world to the beginning. To do this, he built a magical clock that rolls back to the beginning of time, which will happen on the night of an upcoming lunar eclipse. But Isaac has hidden the clock somewhere in the house, which is where Jonathan and Lewis now live.
In order to impress a boy to be his friend, Lewis uses a forbidden magic book to raise Isaac from the dead. Lewis must then work with Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman to stop Isaac’s plan, and find the clock before Isaac and his wife Selena, played by Emmy nominee Renée Elise Goldsberry (One Life to Live) get to it.
The film has some excellent visual effects, and recreates the 1950’s time period well, including some music from the period. Certainly, one of the stars of the film is the Victorian house and its grounds, which includes a reclining chair that behaves like a family pet. Blanchett tends to play the “straight man” to Black’s character and they have good chemistry together on film, comedically bantering back and forth.
Content concerns in the film include sorcery (witches, warlocks, demons, and magic), people being raised from the dead, scary images and some light adult language.
Themes in the film include family, fitting in at school, that it’s good to be different, and there’s nothing wrong with being weird.
The House With a Clock In Its Walls is an entertaining PG rated fantasy film with some content concerns for parents who are considering the film for their young children. Some aspects of the film will be too frightening for small children under the age of 10.
A new 3D video of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was shown before the film. Unfortunately, at our theatre, the staff was unaware and thus no 3D glasses were distributed.