House With A Clock In Its Walls Movie Review

Ben Pegg, Staff Writer

“The House with a Clock in its Walls” is a story about a young Lewis Barnavelt, the main protagonist played by Owen Vacorro, who goes to live with his Uncle Jonathon played by Jack Black, the main mentor and secondary protagonist, in the town of New Zebedee, Michigan. The young Lewis goes to school, makes a few friends, and then returns home. He discovers a small room, down a hole in the wall, that contains some blueprints and an astrolabe. He retrieves them, and the duo begins to crack the code.

Meanwhile, as Lewis returns back to school, he loses a friend, and does something forbidden. He takes aforementioned friend to a graveyard on a dare, then uses the forbidden object to perform a magic spell, which resurrects Isaac Izzard, the films main antagonist. The friend flees, denies ever being in the graveyard, and life carries on.

On the homefront, the duo’s magic is out of wack, so they hang horseshoes. They go out, decode the blueprints, and return to discover that Izzard has turned the house against them. The duo infiltrates the house after an unsuccessful entry, and get to the main magic doomsday clock, which is designed to de-age people under the boiler. Jonathon is turned into a baby, Lewis stops the clock, which kills Isaac due to its magical effect (de-ages people), and wins.

The magic was very well done, portrayed as a finding yourself combined with knowledge and effort. All the characters got even screen time, which makes sense as there were only three true groups for the movie to focus on, and these characters were reasonably developed. Lewis was bookish and shy, Jonathon was friendly with a warm sharpness, and Isaac is a malevolent person whose motive is better explained then most.

Unfortunately, there were a few sticking points overall. The plot for one thing was just too simple. There were truly only seven characters that had anything to truly do in some meaningful way, and it was painfully obvious when the pair were not at home, as the interactions were almost forced. The story was also very simple, as there were five backdrops, seven characters with anything to say, nine, counting the two with just one line and no true need for half of them. Then comes the explanation. The sole flashback was late and glossed over extensively, with whole swaths of backstory being conveyed in a single sentence. The movie almost started in the middle.