Goosebumps

With Jack Black as R.L. Stine!

I read a lot of the Goosebumps books as a kid, though I don’t really remember any of them now. This movie is not an adaptation of any one story, but of a fictional R.L. Stine. Anything he writes with some magical typewriter will come to life, so he must keep his monstrous creations from wreaking havoc on the land.

So of course some kid comes along and releases all of the monsters. I will apologize and say that I do not remember the main character’s name. Funny, out of all the major characters, his is the one I don’t remember. There’s his best friend, Champ. And his next door neighbors Hannah and her father, R.L. Stine.

The main character, thinking R.L. Stine is up to no good, breaks into his house and releases the abominable snowman. Somehow, even though they specified that the books are locked, the book containing Slappy comes out. Slappy is one of the monsters that I still remember to this day, so great choice of main antagonist.

The story is really simple, though. I feel it doesn’t really do most of the monsters in Goosebumps justice. They just act as generic minion types that bullrush people. And since this is a kid’s movie, no one really gets hurt. Well, one person gets hurt.

Only a few monsters really feel like individuals. The rest are all just swarms meant to chase people. And Champ, the one guy that said he read a lot of the Goosebumps books turn out to be completely useless to stopping any monster.

It’s an alright movie that moves along at a nice pace with a lot of action and monsters. It’s not particularly scary for anyone older than five or so. It’s just a solid, cliche filled story meant for younger kids. There’s nothing bad about it, but anyone older would find the movie pretty standard.

If they made the monsters more distinct, it would have been better, though it also might bog down the pace of the movie too much. Goosebumps is alright. Jack Black does pretty well in the film. Champ is entertaining in a kiddy sort of way. That leaves the Main Character and Hannah to be the serious ones. They do alright at times and at times, you can tell they’re reacting to things that aren’t there.

This movie just really needs more of an identity beyond the name recognition.

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