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Eddie Murphy? What genius thought up this lame script? Sure, they toss
in a dozen homages to the original ride, but Disney flubbed a golden
opportunity to create a classic film. Don't take one of the
most-beloved rides from Disneyland/World, and come up with a sub-par
comedy, with smart-mouthed kids, and a jabbering Eddie Murphy.
Tech credits are great, though.
Don't be fooled by the DVD's claim of a "Virtual Ride of The Haunted Mansion." I was expecting a recap of the actual park attraction, but was instead treated to a tour of the movie set.
Also, Disney....why not just AVOID crude jokes and profanity in this type of family film? The scares alone garner the rating you desire. Don't dumb this down when it's not necessary. Have you not learned ANYTHING since "Watcher in the Woods"? (And THAT was definitely creepier.)
When this movie came out critics and audiences were saying how rubbish
it was and it was a waste of time and money, but as i have a keen
interest in the paranormal i still wanted to see it anyway and i glad i
did! This is a family film but there are elements of adult horror here
such as suicides, murder and even zombies! The story is of a typical
workaholic dad who neglects his family and decides to take them away to
make up for this, but when he receives a call asking him to sell a
mansion he can't refuse so off he and his family go.
Once there they meet the creepy butler Ramsley and the owner Mr Gracy who are obviously ghosts, and from then on all the supernatural events follow one-another from zombie reflections to levitating around a psychic in a crystal ball called Madame Leota. And i thought she was the best character in the film, not just because i'm a Jennifer Tilly fan but because she is very funny and has a strong personality for just a head.
The effects are as amazing as the sets with the green glow of Madame Leota, the zombies and more even the people who didn't like this film can't deny that the effects are excellent. As i said the sets are also some of the best i've seen the mansion is absolutely breathtaking.
The only thing that i think is bad with this movie is the child actors, they just look bored going round the mansion with straight faces even though they follow ghostly orbs into unknown places. But apart from this the rest of the film is great fun for kids and for the adults who aren't afraid to turn their brain off for 90mins. WATCH IT!!!!
'The Haunted Mansion' got a lot of bombs thrown at it by critics, and almost nobody liked it. Well, guess what: I did. It's a faithful homage to the ride, the actors are interesting, and the horror side of the story is appropriately creepy. The plot is partially based on the French version of the ride, and it's decent. Although the movie never answers the question of why Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker, who's really good here) couldn't marry his sweetheart Elizabeth (who was black), the hints are pretty obvious. And I liked the whole concept of the curse (even though it doesn't make any sense). The little nods to the ride throughout the movie are fun, especially Jennifer Tilly as Madame Leota, a disembodied head inside a crystal ball who speaks in riddles. Tilly can do this husky-voiced role in her sleep, and I liked her (the special effects involving her are pretty neat too). Although Eddie Murphy is miscast, and there are zero laughs in the movie, his mugging for the camera doesn't hurt the movie. The kids are OK, and Marsha Thomason does what she can with a thankless role, but it's Terence Stamp who steals the movie. He is Ramsley, the sinister butler of Master Gracey. With his deep rumbling British accent, Stamp gives a deliciously over-the-top performance, and he does here what Johnny Depp did for 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Back to Eddie Murphy for a minute: Although he earns no laughs, he plays noncomedic scenes well, and he has some good banter with Stamp. The production design of the mansion and the ghostly special effects are very cool, particularly a zombie attack that pushes the PG rating to it's limits. Is 'The Haunted Mansion' a great movie? Absolutely not; they could have punched up the comedy aspect of the movie. It's not a bad movie, though. I thought it was very entertaining, and it's certainly better than the awful trailers. Not as good as 'Pirates', but a fun ride nonetheless.
Another nail in the coffin of Eddie Murphy's career, The Haunted
Mansion is a slap-dash attempt to cash in on The Pirates of the
Caribbean, an infinitely more successful and better film based on a
Disneyland ride. There's just nothing here to write about--very little
human drama and not enough computer wizardry to keep you from noticing
you don't care about the humans.
About the only two things worth mentioning are Jennifer Tilly's fairly funny Madame Leota, a wisecracking Gypsy trapped in a bright green crystal medicine ball and Marsha Thomason, not for any acting ability but simply that she is beautiful and her beauty relieves some of the boredom.
Oh, well. At least it didn't have some character pontificating, "Follow your heart!"--the ubiquitous and hackneyed Disney message
This was a very poorly reviewed film, and it didn't deserve such flack.
For me, it was a dumb, entertaining movie with some heart. For others,
it was a terrible job of emulating the classic Disney ride and just
another stupid Eddie Murphy comedy vehicle. Though I'd rather go on the
ride as opposed to watching this, it still has it's charm. This movie
is about a Realtor (Murphy) and his family traveling to a haunted
mansion for a business deal. While in the house they learn some strange
things and end up traveling through various rooms found in the ride
(the bride, the ballroom, Madame Leota, the graveyard with the singing
busts). In the end, this is a fun movie for kids, and amusing for
adults, with fun references, and a fun performance by Murphy and the
My rating: ** 1/2 out of ****. 85 mins. PG for mild language, violence
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie did not work and was a disaster, considering the budget was
$90 million. The plot was so simplistic and done a thousand times. A
guy, in this case a ghost, wants his long lost love back, who he thinks
is reincarniated as Jim Evers' wife. He believes she committed suicide
back in the day. Of course, he was tricked and betrayed by someone he
trusted. So, Sara Evers gets lured back to the haunted mansion, but
brings her family along. Then her husband and kids have an adventure
involving ghosts and a talking crystal ball. But, it was written for a
10 year old, and it simply was not funny.
Eddie Murray had a slight come back with Daddy Day Care; that was OK and did have some funny things. But, this movie sends his career south. I don't understand why he agrees to be in these type of films; I guess for the pay check. But, I can't believe he read the script and said, "Now this is interesting, with good humor."
And the ghosts were bad CGI and not very imaginative. I could not believe the great Rick Baker was involved with this flick. Most of his ideas must not have been used.
FINAL VERDICT: I don't recommend it for anyone.
First of all, I am a Disney kid that grew up going to Disneyland in CA
every year. Since I am a fan of the ride, "The Haunted Mansion", I
guess I expected this film to be good. When I heard the mediocre
reviews, I backed off from watching it until I just bought it on DVD
this past weekend. I was very surprised to find it a lot better than I
expected. My kids loved it and have watched it about 3 times.
The sets were beautiful and intricate, the costumes and make-up are gorgeous and the special effects are amazing. Rick Baker "Monster Maker" is so talented and has done an impressive (as always) job creating a vision from the Haunted Mansion ride that he also admired.
If you are a fan of the ride, I would imagine that you would enjoy this movie as much as me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Haunted Mansion is a lame children's film that is short on laughs and a good story. Realtor Jim Evers and his wife and business partner Sara get a call from mansion owner Edward Gracey, who is looking to sell his property. Smelling the biggest deal of their career, Jim, Sara and their two children pay a visit to the mansion, located on a remote bayou. A thunderstorm strands the Evers family in the old mansion with the brooding, eccentric Gracey, his mysterious butler, Ramsley, and a variety of residents both seen and unseen. Will they be able to figure out what's going on and survive the night? The plot is based on a ride so I wouldn't really expect a really good story. However, the story is weaker then expected and its stupid. Kids won't be interested in the story though, they just want a fun film to watch. Kids may have some fun but anyone over the age of twelve probably won't. Its just a bit of a boring ride since there is really nothing exciting about the film. The acting is, at best, average with the best being Jennifer Tilly. She is a bit underrated and she would sometimes have some really funny lines. Eddie Murphy was enjoyable to watch in Daddy Day Care but he is really bad in this film. Terence Stamp plays the butler and does an okay job. Marsha Thomason plays Sarah and she did a terrible job. She was really boring to watch on screen and didn't show a lot of emotion either. Marc John Jefferies and Aree Davis play their two kids and they both actually give tolerable performances. Rob Minkoff seems to have lost his touch after making The Lion King since his last two kid films have been average at best. The best thing about the Haunted Mansion is that it had pretty good special effects. Nothing spectacular, but still not too cheesy looking. The music was horrible, but I guess they were trying to get a scary vibe which didn't work. The film is of course not scary and I don't think it was trying to be scary. If the film was supposed to be scary then it might work on little kids but it's a weak effort. The running time is only 97 minutes which makes the movie a little more tolerable to watch. Its better then The Country Bears but not as good as Pirates of the Caribbean. It's also not as good as Daddy Day Care which was a lot more enjoyable to watch. In the end, Haunted Mansion has little going for it as its hurt by shoddy direction and a weak script, there are few positives to be found here so I recommend you just skip it. Rating 4.3/10
The most disappointing thing about "The Haunted Mansion" is that its star,
Eddie Murphy, has once again lowered himself to silly kids' fare. I'm sure
some younger children may get a kick out of certain segments of "The
Mansion," but then again, its intended age group -- the 4-and-over
will be undoubtedly scared by its eerie presence and quite frightening
visuals, such as when a father and his daughter are locked in a tomb and
find re-animated -- and quite realistic -- skeletons chasing them. The
moment of this all aside, the fact that these stiff creatures pursue the
young girl will most likely strike a chord with children. If you take your
kids to see this, you're just asking for nightmares.
Murphy is Jim Evers, a workaholic Realtor accused by his wife and co-Realtor, Sarah (Marsha Thomason), that he neglects his personal life far too often in favor of the cash he's making at work. So Jim promises Sarah and his two kids (Marc John Jefferies and Aree Davis) a relaxing getaway to a nearby lake. But first he's going to just make a quick stop at his newest assignment, the Gracey Manor, an old, crumbling mansion located in the heart of swamp area. The butler of the establishment, Ramsley (Terence Stamp), lets them in and eventually informs them that they will be unable to leave the house due to flooding on the road. Something strange is afoot, and the audience guesses what's going on about an hour before the movie's characters do, which is a tedious thought.
As we first suspect from the title, the ride, and the overall marketing of the movie, ghosts inhabit the mansion, and soon we learn that Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) plans on taking Sarah as his bride. Why? Just take a guess. She bears a startling resemblance to his old love, Elizabeth (also played by Thomason in flashbacks and such).
Now, I'm not going to try and sound racist here, but let's be blunt: Back when Master Gracey was alive, he would never have been near an African-American woman. And even if he were, it would surely be a matter brought up during the film's running time. Yet Disney seems afraid to touch the subject, as if it may offend its potential audience by even indicating racial technicalities. But all it does it make the whole situation come off as rather comical.
Meanwhile, Wallace Shawn ("The Princess Bride") provides supposed comic relief as a ghost. But to assume he can steal the movie himself is, of course, "inconceivable!"
So here we have an odd mix of horror and slapstick, pratfalls and frights. The movie is based on the Walt Disney World theme park ride, which is probably about three to five minutes long, and there's a reason for that. Its movie adaptation feels like a giant theme park ride, but the material can't support itself for a bare minimum ninety minutes, so we get a lot of nonsense about a ghost trying to marry a deceased love, and so on and so forth, minus the humor and flair and rousing feeling of Disney's surprise hit of 2003, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," which has started a trend we may (unfortunately) be seeing more of in the future.
And as for Murphy -- who was once one of Hollywood's bad boys -- where is he in this mess? Murphy seems way too eager to please in this movie, boasting his famous smile every second he can -- probably to evoke nostalgia of his older efforts. Or maybe he's just trying to remain totally optimistic. But you know a movie is in trouble when even Eddie Murphy can't manage to insert witty one-liners. Instead, he relies on the occasional bodily function joke, which is usually a good indication that an actor has hit rock bottom. I don't think it's that Eddie Murphy has lost his humor. I think it's that his humor has lost him.
"The Haunted Mansion" knows it's in a bad position from the start, and it doesn't even make an effort to give Murphy any funny lines whatsoever. It's directed by Rob Minkoff ("The Lion King," "Stuart Little"), and is proof that sometimes directors should be restricted to certain mediums of entertainment. "The Haunted Mansion" isn't a terrible movie, but it isn't anything special, and you can find the same quality material by flicking on ABC, Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m.
- John Ulmer
'The Haunted Mansion,' a film 'inspired' by the Disney theme-park
attraction of the same name, feels like a cross between 'The Haunting'
and 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.' Eddie Murphy is a real estate agent
working in tandem with his wife, Marsha Thomason. One day she receives
a call from a mysterious stranger asking her to check out some property
he wants to put up for sale. Even though the caller specifically asks
that she come alone, Murphy decides to go along with her, bringing
their two young children as well. When they arrive on the scene, the
family finds a mansion replete with all the paraphernalia common to a
conventional haunted house - sliding panels, hidden passageways, a
graveyard in the backyard, an eccentric owner, a creepy butler (played
with delicious relish by Terence Stamp) and, of course, a houseful of
unruly and unsettled resident ghosts. Once ensconced inside, the family
discovers much like homeowners in a buyer's market - that it's always
easier to get into a haunted house than it is to get out of one.
Murphy assumes the Bob Hope role of the comical skeptic who meets each and every danger with a defiant wisecrack and clever quip. Unfortunately, even Murphy, for all his talent, can't rescue material that doesn't have anything much there to begin with. The story is predictable and silly and the dialogue woefully bereft of laughs. There's also one glaring plot hole that should not go unremarked upon. Thomason is supposed to be a (pardon the pun) dead-ringer for a woman who killed herself a hundred and fifty years ago, yet there is no way that, in the context of that time, that woman could ever possibly have been black. Colorblindness is generally a good thing, but in this instance, it strikes at the very core of the story's internal credibility. The film's visual imagery does indeed derive from the Disney attraction statues whose eyes follow people around the room, dancing transparent ghosts, singing disembodied heads but there's a world of difference between a 5-minute amusement-park ride and an 85-minute full-length feature film. Before green-lighting the project, didn't any of the executives over at Disney ask if anyone had come up with a movie worth making? Given the results we see on screen, the answer is 'apparently not.'
There's no point here in launching into our perpetual lament over the downward spiral that Eddie Murphy's career continues to take. After all, if he isn't worried about the squandering of his once notable talent, why should we be? Life is just too short for that.
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