The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, a weird double feature but hey, aren’t they always?
So this one is good. Not great. Not “great” at all, but “good”? Sure. Part of that is the fact it sets itself up as something I thought I would love so much and just doesn’t live up to it. This film is set up as an animated musical comedy about the Universal Monsters.
That should be my favorite thing ever in the whole wide world ever. Unfortunately, it is one of those “musicals” that only actually has like five songs total which is INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING. Why can’t I get a good musical in this column? I like musicals, I swear, I just never get a chance to show it. Not fair.
The film starts with it’s first song, the titular Monster Mash playing over footage of our protagonists scaring villagers.
No, I don’t get the t-shirt either.
Frankenstein (yes, I know it’s technically Frankenstein’s monster but literally who gives a fuck) Dracula and the Wolfman are now monster has-beens, living off of novelty television appearances. Some modern monsters decide the trio are an embarrassment, and put them on trial for not being scary. And then I thought “holy shit, is this gonna turn into a courtroom drama? Because I would be hell of down for that.”
Courtroom dramas are but one of the many things I would potentially refer to as “my jam”.
A musical monster courtroom drama would tick all the boxes in my heart and make me gloriously overjoyed. Unfortunately for me, the courtroom stuff is wrapped up incredibly quickly. The monsters are ruled “not scary” and are given one final test: scare a specific family or be banished to performing at children’s birthday parties forever. weirdly enough,this isn’t the first film I’ve reviewed to have that premise. And it isn’t even the first to feature voice actors from Transformers: Beast Wars. But unlike last time, this film doesn’t make me want to stab out my own face.
I mean, most of the time it doesn’t.
So the monsters try their hardest and manage to scare almost all of the family until they have trouble with Spike, a young boy who cannot speak following a lightning strike. And no, the movie doesn’t seem to understand how depressing that is as a concept.
Eventually, three new monsters appear to attack the trio, angry at how un-scary they are.
The three villains are designed after Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th, Chucky from Child’s Play and the Xenomorph from Alien, which seems to be a comment on old-school horror versus new-school horror.
Anyhoo, our protagonists team up with the family to turn the world back to black-and-white and beat the living hell out of the new monsters. They do this incredibly quickly.
“ONE! One deus ex machina! AH-AH-AH!”
Afterwards, the trio is put back on trial, where Spike testifies on their behalf. He explains that it wasn’t the lightning that muted him, it was his fear of the three new monsters(?) That makes… NO sense, but whatever, fine, sure, I’m not annoyed. So Spike says that the trio’s ability to frighten the new monsters shows that they are indeed scary still and the judge agrees. Movie over, Yayyyyy!
Also, can we take a second to acknowledge that this is the third fucking week in a row I’ve had to talk about a movie involving vampires. What the fuck? What are the odds? No, actually, I want a statistical breakdown of those probabilities.
MY DOG SKIP
Ok, there’s honestly not much for me to say about this one because it’s really good. And good movies are hard to discuss when they’re just sort of good in an unremarkable way. Like, this is a good movie, but it’s a movie you’ve seen before, even if you haven’t seen this version of it.
Does that make sense? No? Fuck. Ok, it’s a movie that takes place during World War II and it follows a young boy coming of age and his dog, from whom he learns an invaluable lesson about friendship.
See, you’ve seen that movie. It’s a good “That Movie” but you’ve undoubtedly seen multiple versions of it. But none with a dog as fucking cute as the dog in this movie, so fair play, movie.
Who’s a good puppy?
Honestly, the rest of this review could just be pictures of the dog. Wait, that’s not a bad idea.
You are! Yes, you’re a good puppy!
Yes that IS child Frankie Muniz for the second time in as many weeks, I’ve given up on coincidences. The coinky-dink-ometer is busted at this point.
Ok, this one is so cute it somehow makes me angry.
But yeah, movie’s great, actually DO give it a watch, you’ll be depressed, but you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll be depressed because the dog dies. OH COME ON, THAT’S NOT A SPOILER! Of course the dog fucking dies, it’s a coming of age movie. dogs don’t get to live through those.
Also, before I sign off, the kids in this movie keep insulting each other by calling each other “titty-babies” Which is, I have a hundred percent guaranteed belief, is not a thing real human beings said to each other literally ever at any point ever.
Next week, if I have to review another fucking vampire movie I will drive a goddamn stake through the center of my cold dead heart.