‘The House With a Clock in its Walls’ boasts good performances but juvenile humor, lackadaisical storytelling

By Garrett Wheeler, Movie Critic

“The House with a Clock in its Walls” follows a boy named Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro.

After Lewis’ parents pass away, he takes residence in his uncle’s house. His uncle is Jonathan Barnavelt, played by Jack Black, a man with magical powers, living in a magical house.

However, when its revealed that a bitter rival had left a ticking clock in the walls of his house before he died, Jonathan and his neighbor Florence Zimmerman, played by Cate Blanchett, must bring Lewis along with them to figure out where the clock is hidden before the destruction of the world begins.

The trailers for this film were not promising. They made the film look like an even cheesier and campier version of the Goosebumps movie.

Plus, the title for this movie is awful. It has no ring to it, and it is way too long.

And while “The House with a Clock” in its Walls was better than I thought, it’s not necessarily good.

As a story, it’s not very interesting. The storytelling is bland, with cheesy dialogue and weak characters. Nothing about the plot stands out as truly exceptional. It’s a shame, because it’s set in a world of magic, but the magical elements aren’t fully realized.

The way the fantastical moments are executed are underdeveloped, and the rules of the magic seem nonsensical.

There didn’t seem to be much of a rhyme or reason to how and why the magic was conjured up. The story lacked development, and it suffered as a result. It did not stand out.

However, what did stand out was the production design.

The set that was created for this movie is immaculate. The house is gorgeous, and the way the interior shifts throughout the course of the film is beautiful. Visually, this is a solid flick, but it’s the set itself that stands tall as the best aspect of the whole movie.

The production design isn’t the only good thing about the movie. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett are both highly entertaining and make for the two best performances of the entire film.

They had great chemistry with each other, and they made for the most endearing characters in “The House with a Clock in its Walls.” It’s obvious to the audience the two had blast while filming.

However, while the production design was fantastic, the special effects were not. Some of them looked great; the moving stain-glass window, for example, looked cool.

However, most of the effects looked cheap. They did not feel organic, and it’s easy to tell where CGI was slapped on. The best movies make viewers forget the scenes were created with CGI. This was not one of those movies.

The weakest aspect of “The House with a Clock in its Walls” is the comedy, which had little to offer and was mostly juvenile.

It has bathroom jokes, overly descriptive insult humor, slapstick humor and more.

The comedic timing and delivery also seemed exceptionally one-dimensional and… young.

While the argument can be made that this movie is for children, films should not underestimate their younger audience. It felt like the humor was too dumb for its own good. Kids will like it, but they deserve better comedy.

I did not hate “The House with a Clock in its Walls.” Sure, it’s not necessarily the smartest movie out there, but it wasn’t made to be. It was made for kids, and as a kid’s movie, it’s fine. It has enough entertaining and spooky moments to make children audiences happy. But, there are a lot of better movies out there, especially in the kid’s horror genre, but this one is… okay. It’s cute, it’s mildly charming, and it has some fun moments.

However, I believe that this will be one of those movies that kids will enjoy, but when they grow up and look back on “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” they will wonder why they even liked it in the first place. Final Score: 5/10 (Average

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