The Junk Food of Writing

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The most pleasant surprise of the summer? I think so.

After plans to see Little Miss Sunshine (a film I'm a bit wary of because I believe it may fall victim to indie-hipster niche-marketing, but I shall see if my instincts are off tomorrow) with a friend collapsed, my visiting cousins and I opted to take in a late show at the multiplex.

DJ: "I really, really hope hallucination is just a side-effect of puberty."

Monster House is probably the best film I've seen this summer, and it includes a statement on childhood and play more potent and less cloying than Finding Neverland's. Its ludicrous plot --an anthropomorphised house gobbles up basketballs, kites and tricycles (all symbols of youth and adolescent recreation) while snapping its tongue-like carpet at the protagonists if they step on the very green lawn-- doesn't exactly sound appealing to the reality-inclined viewer. The filmmakers, however, refreshingly cram much truth into such an absurd premise to produce a highly enjoyable, yet sinister and abstract production. As the thirteen year-old protagonists wave bye-bye to adolescence, their imaginations begin to run as wild as their burgeoning hormones (enter: Jenny, a sassy, young-teen neighbor).

Within five minutes of the film, DJ --the main "soon-to-be-a-man" kid-- accidently cracks his voice when addressing his parents; Monster House should be appreciated most as a film with rich subtext and a pitch-perfect representation of the confounding and physically/psychologically evolving period of a young adults life. It's not a film without some flaws -- and the second, more action-packed and narrative-driven, half is not nearly as intriguing or sharp as the angsty, deep first act, which captures the essence of puberty (giggle, giggle). Its depiction is spookily accurate.

It's a shockingly uncompromising, ominous and sophisticated film --despite the incongruous vulgar humor, which pops up on occasion-- about maturation, mortality and temptation. The films ideas and themes may be presented in a bit of a clunky manner at times (even though they are legitimate, honest and sincere) but the animation is always meticulous and the casting is particularly inspired.

In other news, Clerks II and World Trade Center contribute to the mediocre cinematic summer of 2006 (even if the Clerks sequel is much, much too vile to be considered 'mediocre').


  • It's a telling moment about this summer when you're raving about a film you gave only a "B" to. I'd really like to check this out since you liked it, because I saw the trailer and thought "Please God, not another cookie-cutter computer animation flick."

    By Blogger Ali, at 4:43 PM  

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