The Haunted Mansion (2003)
The best way to describe Disney’s third movie based on a theme park ride is this: its 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 cant 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 its funny, but he has the expression that even he doesn’t believe hes 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 theyd all dance.
Nate’s Grade: C