The Haunted Mansion (2003)

The best way to describe Disney’’s third movie based on a theme park ride is this: it’s exactly like the ride. Which means it’’s nice to look at but little else is there. Eddie Murphy, in his soul-selling kid friendly phase of his career, is a real estate salesman who can’t pass up the prospect of a mansion. Never mind it’’s haunted. He brings the family along, which includes a drop-dead beautiful wife, Sara (Marsha Thomason), and two annoying kids. There’’s some storyline about Sara being the one to break the curse of the mansion, something about love never dying and a mystic key which leads to a mystic chest … I know, I’’m bored already too. Despite being a mere 98 minutes ‘The Haunted Mansion’ has sluggish pacing and some cheesy special effects. This is the kind of movie someone has a fear only because they need a moment to overcome that fear to save others. Murphy mugs for the camera and occasionally it’s funny, but he has the expression that even he doesn’’t believe he’s funny. Never good for an actor. Terrence Stamp is amusing as the butler. Jennifer Tilly is a highlight at the floating gypsy head in the crystal ball. The direction by Rob Minkoff (Stewart Little 2) is solid, and his opening sequence of the film’’s back-story being played across the credits is the highlight. But what does it say when the highlight of the film is the opening titles? I don’t know who this film is for. It’s a bit too scary for young kids. Tweens won’t want to see a “Disney scary movie” and would rather see some of the PG-13 scares, like The Ring. It certainly isn’t for adults. Who is this movie for Disney? And I may be the only one, especially after recent events in the news, but when all the skeletons came out of their crypts … I thought Michael Jackson was going to come out and they’d all dance.

Nate’’s Grade: C

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on November 23, 2003, in 2003 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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