Long gone are the days when no big stars did voice work for animated features. Now anybody who is anybody has done a voice for an animated feature or two. Monster House is another that uses the voices of some big players in Hollywood. Almost refreshingly, there are also some virtual 'unknowns' who work on the film.
Besides the voices the animation under director Gil Kenan (first film) is quite cool. He has chosen to use the popular motion capture type animation like from Polar Express. The characters in the film do not look exactly like humans but they are interesting to look at. Each facial expression the characters make is cool to see and emotion really registers on their faces. The animation is also very cool when it comes to the scary stuff. It makes the house and all the other scary things look really scary. It is so effective that I think the film is too scary for young kids. During the screening I went to a young girl had to be taken from the theatre crying because the film had frightened her. Older kids will think the story is neat and the visuals are cool to look at. There is enough to the story and visuals to keep adults interested as well.
Even though what we mostly talk about when it comes to animated films are the voices and the animation what really is most important, like any other movie, is the story and this film is based on a cool story. It will keep you invested until the end. While the film is good and the animation is quite cool, I would not recommend the film for anyone much younger than 10.
DJ (Mitchel Musso – Secondhand Lions) has been watching the neighbourhood meanie Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi – Armageddon, The Big Lebowski) through his telescope and is convinced that something is going on in his house (Kathleen Turner – Romancing the Stone, Body Heat). Each time a toy from any neighbourhood child goes on his lawn it inexplicably disappears. There are rumours around town that Mr. Nebbercracker killed his wife. Anytime DJ tries to tell his mom and dad anything about his suspicions they just laugh him off.
Mom (Catherine O'Hara – Home Alone, Over the Hedge) and dad (Fred Willard – Chicken Little, American Wedding) are going away for a couple of days and so they call Elizabeth or Zee (Maggie Gyllenhaal – Mona Lisa Smile, Adaptation) to babysit DJ. As soon as she arrives she tells DJ to stay out of her way and invites her boyfriend Bones (Jason Lee – Clerks II, The Incredibles) over.
DJ goes outside to play basketball with his best friend Chowder (Sam Lerner – appeared on episodes of The King of Queens and Malcolm in the Middle). Unfortunately for them their basketball goes on Mr. Nebbercracker's lawn. DJ tries to get the ball back but Nebbercracker stops him but during the struggle Nebbercracker freezes and falls to the ground. The ambulance comes and takes Nebbercracker away. DJ believes that he has killed Nebbercracker.
Soon DJ and Chowder begin to see strange behaviour from the house and they believe that it is alive. Their fears are confirmed when, as they are watching the house from the safety of DJ's bedroom, they see the house attacking a young girl selling candy named Jenny (Spencer Locke – Spanglish). Chowder and DJ save her. No adults, including Officers Landers (Kevin James – from television's King of Queens) and Lister (Nick Cannon – Shall We Dance, Garfield), believe the three kids when they tell them that the house is alive. More than ever DJ is determined to get to the bottom of what is happening over at Nebbercracker's house.
-The Best of Friends
-Lots of Dots
-Black Box Theater
– Making it Real
-Did You Hear That
-Evolution of a Scene: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker