Lewis Barnavelt, after losing his parents, is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan. He discovers his uncle is a warlock, and enters a world of magic and sorcery. But this power is not limited to good people: Lewis learns of Isaac Izard, an evil wizard who constructed a magical clock with black magic, as long as it exists it will keep ticking, counting down to doomsday. He died before he could finish the clock, but he hid the clock in his house, where Uncle Jonathan now lives. Now Lewis and Jonathan must find the clock before it finishes its countdown and ends the world.
The fictional "House with a Clock in Its Walls" was based on the real-life Cronin Mansion in author John Bellairs' hometown of Marshall, Michigan, which served as the basis for the town of New Zebedee used in his novels. See more »
Florence tells Lewis that the Brothers Grimm wrote their Fairy Tales in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) of Germany. In reality they wrote the tales in Kassel, which was a full day's journey from the Black Forest with the travel options of 1808. See more »
There are crazy credits for two non-speaking parts in the closing credits, regarding two important computer generated digital characters in the movie - "Griffin tamer - Chair" and "Chair hair and makeup - Griffin". See more »
Theatrical versions of the movie are longer by 10 seconds, with a bumper for Universal Parks and Resorts placed before the Amblin Partners logo. this is removed from home video releases however, instead cutting directly to the Amblin Partners logo after the credits. See more »
I was a huge fan of John Bellairs book series growing up, and was excited for a hopefully competent film adaptation. The biggest dissapointment for me was the casting of Owen Vaccaro as Lewis Barnavelt. In the books, he was a well-defined and intelligent protagonist who overcame obstacles via inventiveness. In this film, he's a crybaby with terrible character motivation and a generally useless atmosphere, with Vaccaro giving one of the worst child actor performances I've seen in years (not exaggerating, the "bully" character that we're supposed to hate is a better actor and more likeable than the lead).
Jack Black does a good job with the lackluster script and Cate Blanchet's character was probably my favorite in the film. Kyle Maclachlan's brief role is also great, I'm glad he went all out for a relatively unknown movie. The set and costume design is also solid, while the CGI hurts some scenes.
While I'll never watch this movie again, I would recommend it to parents looking for a unique live action kid's film. The House With the Clock in It's Walls could have been a much more memorable film with a different lead actor, or with a script that drew more from the rich source material.
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