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Monster House

I blame Pixar.  Nowadays every movie studio wants to have its own computer animation, but whilst they invest millions in the latest technology they seem to neglect basic stuff like storylines and characters.  The result is terrible old tosh like Polar Express, Madagascar and Chicken Little. 

Monster House was therefore a pleasant surprise.  They seem to have decided that it might be better to start with a good story and decent characters and then worry about the CGI - rather than having all the technology and hoping that this would be enough.

Two caveats - this is a bit scary for young children (hence the IIA certificate in Hong Kong and PG elsewhere), and computer animation still produces very strange-looking people (which would be why Pixar and the rest mainly have non-human characters in their films). 

The house, on the other hand, is terrific, and there is really no reason why computer animation always has to be aimed at very young children.  One of the many things to like about this film is that the writers have managed to resist the temptation to pepper it with jokes that will go over the heads of children.  So, whilst it is probably unsuitable for younger children, it certainly should appeal to those who are a little older.

The two boys featured in Monster House are about 10 years old, and one of the themes of the film is their awareness that they are growing up - brought sharply into focus by the arrival of a girl of a similar age.  Together they explore the house and - well, I'm sure you can guess the rest. 

It doesn't outstay its welcome, it's funny, it's mildly scary, and it has a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Other film makers please note.


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