By BOB PALMER,
The pivotal clue came in the dialogue. Mrs. Zimmerman is explaining to Lewis how the man who once lived in their house became an evil warlock.
It was World War II and the man became lost in the Black Forest. “Where the Brothers Grimm wrote their fairy tales?” Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) asked.
“You mean histories,” Zimmerman (Kate Blanchett) replied.
If you look at “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” as another Grimm short story, you have a chance of surviving.
The plot has all the usual twists. Florence Zimmerman bakes unlimited quantities of chocolate chip cookies. Inanimate objects move, reason and speak. The world is in danger of being destroyed by this hidden clock and Lewis has a weird Uncle Johnathan, played by Jack Black.
Some of the period elements of this story set in 1955 are not bad. Lewis’ parents have been killed in a car wreck and the 10-year-old is sent to live with Uncle Johnathan in a creepy house.
Lewis’ fears, loneliness, desire to make friends and being a stranger in a strange land will resonate with your elementary and early middle-school children. That Lewis almost
destroys the world by not obeying his uncle is one act of the morality play.
There is nothing wrong with the acting, directing or special effects. Director Eli Roth knows what he is doing, but someone needed to be more firm in the cutting room. The show does drag. Perhaps Roth enjoyed watching Blanchett shoot pumpkins, but the excitement waned after a dozen or so.
The movie is based on the 1973 book of the same name by John Belairs.
If you want to take the kids to a show and you can recapture your Grimm Fairy Tale spirit, you can do worse than “Clock in its Walls.”
Somehow Rotten Tomatoes gave “Clock” a 68 percent freshness rating. Audiences after seeing the show had only 53 percent approval.
“The House with a Clock in its Walls.” Rated PG. Runs 104 minutes. For show times see ad on this page or go to http://www.Jimplecute1848.com.
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