We took the Navigator and a few of his good friends to see the movie Goosebumps this weekend. The movie is based on a book series by R. L. Stine, popular among older elementary school kids, with Twilight Zone-esque tales of monsters and magic with unexpected twists at the end.
The movie has a cute premise – Author R. L. Stine (played by Jack Black), is living a reclusive life in a small town when his teen-aged daughter and their new teen-aged next door neighbor accidentally release all of Stine’s monsters from their books into real life.
In a storyline that very much reminded me of Jumanji, the kids and Stine have to save the day by rounding up and putting the monsters back in their books. I think kids familiar with Stine’s books will have a great time searching the film for their favorite story’s monster(s).
Jack Black is terrific as Stine, one moment manic and paranoid, the next moment sarcastic and indignant, always fun to watch. One of my favorite moments was when he was compared to Stephen King – watch for it.
The other characters were well done, slightly two-dimensional as is frequently seen in children’s movies and action films, but it was done with a light touch which made them familiar without feeling supporting character deja vu.
It is a movie definitely for older kids – Common Sense Media suggests it is best for kids aged 9 and up. While I didn’t find it terribly frightening (and at some points I was a little bored), I was keenly aware of the tension of the kids with us as they enjoyed icky zombies, giant killer flies, and a truly creepy ventriloquist dummy – just enough scary and not too much.
Throughout it was a great film for the 10- and 11-year-olds we were there with, appropriately targeted and tailored.
The Navigator enjoyed the movie, especially the jokes and physical humor. He didn’t find it very scary (though one of his friends commented that he thought he might have nightmares).
At one hour and 43 minutes, it is not a long watch for kids who have trouble sitting still. The sound level of the movie was good, though as we have experienced in other movies, the previews were deafening and a little intense.
We saw the movie in “XD” which has something to do with the size of the screen and sound system. XD has a short before the film starts (like the Lucasfilm THX sound system shorts before films), that along with having intense 3-D imagery, it is very loud. I covered my ears for it and suggest that parents with sound-sensitive kids be prepared for it in an XD theater.
Better yet, attend or ask for a sensory-friendly screening at your local theater so that your tween and young teens can enjoy the fun!