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.
The moon phase illustrations on Lewis' walls features all 12 constellations of the Zodiac, plus one more: on the right of the door is Ophiuchus, the "13th sign" of the zodiac, and on the left side is Scorpio.
These two constellations represent the sun's position during the autumn season of the year, which roughly corresponds to the film's release date (September 2018) and the setting. See more »
Jonathan's last name is Barnavelt, the same as Lewis. But Jonathan is Lewis' mother's brother, and his last name should be her maiden name, not Barnavelt. The only ways they both could be named Barnavelt would be if her husband's name also just happened to be Barnavelt, or if the family used a naming convention that was extremely unusual and nonconforming by the standards of 1940s-1950s America. See more »
The Universal Pictures logo is the 1970s version, from the era when the "House With a Clock in its Walls" story was first published (1973). It also runs backwards, in keeping with the titular clock's magical power. See more »
Theatrical versions of the movie are longer by 10 seconds, with a bumper for Universal Parks and Resorts placed before the Amblin Partners logo. this is removed from home video releases however, instead cutting directly to the Amblin Partners logo after the credits. 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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