The House with a Clock in its Walls is the new children’s spooky comedy by Eli Roth. Yes, the same Eli Roth that’s mostly known for the Hostel movies. This film, starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, is a PG children’s movie, but it still has moments of thrills that Roth is known for. The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Lewis that goes to live with his Uncle Jonathan, who he soon realizes is a Warlock, or boy witch as the characters call themselves. Immediately, there are a lot of parallels to Harry Potter. Lewis is taught magic in a similar way, he’s an outcast in the real world in a similar way, he has to overcome the death of his parents in a similar way. Unlike the Harry Potter books and movies, this one doesn’t feel as cohesive and well thought out. It’s as if the filmmakers were copying Harry Potter, but they forgot some of the most important scenes.
There are some differences to the Harry Potter films, but they all end up feeling devoid of emotion. They have an interesting villain, but Kyle MacLachlan phones in his performance making it fall flat. They build up the mystery of the clock, but the reveal of its location feels empty.
Eli Roth should be given some credit for branching out beyond the torture porn genre, but he still needs to work on getting better performances from his actors. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett carry their own, but that’s just how good they are as actors.
Whose Review gives The House with a Clock in its Walls the overall rating of Hardly Potter. There were some cute moments throughout that should entertain the young audience its intended for, however even the youngest audience member will be able to see the similarities to Harry Potter and know this is not as good.
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