Lewis Barnavelt, after losing his parents, is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan. He discovers his uncle is a warlock, and enters a world of magic and sorcery. But this power is not limited to good people: Lewis learns of Isaac Izard, an evil wizard who constructed a magical clock with black magic, as long as it exists it will keep ticking, counting down to doomsday. He died before he could finish the clock, but he hid the clock in his house, where Uncle Jonathan now lives. Now Lewis and Jonathan must find the clock before it finishes its countdown and ends the world.
Eli Roth: appears as Comrad Ivan in the black and white "Captain Midnight" scene that Lewis sees on the wall. See more »
Jonathan's last name is Barnavelt, the same as Lewis. But it's revealed that Jonathan is Lewis' maternal uncle, so Jonathan should have Lewis' mother's maiden name as his last name, not Barnavelt. See more »
I can give you the right books, teach you the right spells, but that last 1%, that's up to you.
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The Amblin Entertainment logo is the 80s version. See more »
Orphaned and sent to live with his Uncle Johnathan (Jack Black), Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) soon discovers that his Uncle is a Warlock, and his neighbour Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) is a witch. Together the three of them investigate the mansion that their living in - that formally belonged to a powerful and evil Warlock Issac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan), particularly the mysterious ticking that they can hear at night, seemingly coming from within the walls themselves.
Truth be told, I am probably much older than the target audience for this one. The reviews have talked about this being Eli Roth's first family friendly film but there isn't honestly a lot for the parents in the audience to sink their teeth into. The performances are generally OK, although Jack Black does resort to "Jack Black" a few more times than is really necessary. The story is OK, though it ends somewhat abruptly. Occasionally the CGI is a bit of a let-down, but this is the exception rather than the norm, in fact most of the time the film is visually charming..
It is occasionally a little too scary for some of the younger children who might see it, but most would cope without any issues.
The trouble is that it doesn't really add up to very much. You're unlikely to hate it but you probably won't love it either.
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