Secret world unveiled
> The thrilling adventures of the popular children’s classic The House with a Clock in Its Walls are brought to life on the big screen
BASED on the first volume in the beloved children’s book series written by John Bellairs (illustrated by Edward Gorey), The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by Eli Roth, and written by Eric Kripke ( Supernatural).
The magical adventure tells the story of 10-year-old orphan Lewis, who is sent to stay with his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black, below), and who discovers a hidden world of magic, mystery and supernatural menace.
When Lewis moves in with Uncle Jonathan, he discovers that the curious mansion he now calls home is full of secrets.
He’s not sure which is more astonishing: the wondrous, sprawling house, or his oddball Uncle Jonathan and Jonathan’s best friend, verbal sparring partner and neighbour Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett).
Lewis’ entire world turns upside down when he discovers Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. IN this sequel to 2015’s Polis Evo, Inspector Sani (Zizan), Inspector Khai (Shaheizy) and their team are pursuing drug lord Riky Kumolo (Tanta Ginting) all the way to a remote island.
There, the team discovers extremist religious leader Hafsyam Jauhari (Hasnul) and his vicious cult members have invaded the island and taken the inhabitants hostage, demanding a ransom from the government. Our heroes have to use their wits to save everyone.
It cannot be denied that Polis Evo 2 is far superior to Polis Evo in almost every aspect – better production value, more impressive action scenes, and intense performances from the cast.
It is difficult to dislike Polis Evo 2. However, I prefer the original to the sequel.
I believe the directors have forgotten the one important element that made Polis Evo a success in the first place – the chemistry between Khai and Sani.
In the sequel, the directors did not explore their friendship further, nor tried to enhance the chemistry between them. In fact, Khai and Sani spend most of the film apart, which is not a brilliant idea.
The directors paid too much attention to the production and action scenes, that they forgot about the human relationships.
The movie also has too many plot holes.
For example, when Hafsyam Zimmerman are both powerful practitioners of the magic arts.
Lewis is now caught up in something equally wild, with a warlock and a witch who are on a secret mission to discover the source and the meaning of a foreboding ticking doomsday clock … hidden away somewhere within the house’s walls.
Throw in some deadly curses, attacking jack-o’lanterns, endless hours of homework, and an evil wizard who has returned from the
grave, discovers two police spies among his group, he strangely only chooses to kill one of them, while letting the other live.
But why? What is his motivation? Anyone in Hafsyam’s shoes would have killed both of the spies instantly, and without mercy.
There are other glaring plot holes, but revealing them will only spoil your fun.
My other complaint concerns former beauty queen Erra Fazira, who plays high-ranking police officer Datuk Azizat.
She is woefully miscast, and Lewis’ new life is more than enough for any clever and cunning 10-year-old to juggle.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls also stars Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, and Vanessa Anne Williams.
Roth has long expressed a desire to shoot “a scary kids movie”.
He reflects: “I wanted to do something that felt like Gremlins, E.T. or Time Bandits– something fantastic and Halloween-themed. This story had pumpkins; it had automatons. There were so many ingredients and elements in the book and script that I connected to. Especially Lewis, this misfit kid. I did not grow up an orphan, but I certainly grew up an outcast and an outsider.”
For the role of Jonathan Barnavelt, it was important to Roth and his producers to find someone who would serve as the initially frightening relative to live with…then the really fun uncle to join you on an adventure.
“Jack just encapsulates all of it,” says Roth. “It’s hard for me to think of anyone else in the role other than him.
I’d seen him perform live in looks rather like a woman who is trying to sell the audience make-up, rather than a police officer who has a crisis in her hand. She failed to get under the skin of her character.
Please do not get me wrong. Polis Evo 2 is not a terrible film to spend your time on.
There are some wonderful moments in the film, especially the action scenes that will turn your head in amazement, and the efforts of Hasnul, whose maniacal performance as the evil religious leader will send chills down your spine. Cast: Shaheizy Sam, Zizan Razak and Hasnul Rahmat Directors: Joel Soh
and Andre Chiew
Plot: 6 Tenacious D; I’ve seen all of his movies. You think of Jack, and you just laugh; he has so much personality, so much charm, and he’s so funny.
“But he also has such heart. In his films like School of Rock or Bernie, he’s an incredible dramatic actor. He has such humour, life, and such a soulful quality to him. It’s a dream come true to watch him create this role.”
Black has long thought of himself as a kid at heart, and like his collaborators, he appreciated Kripke’s script.
Despite its dark themes of loss and tragedy, the story offers lessons, excitement and pure joy.
“This is a movie that kids of all ages can enjoy,” reflects Black, “but we want to give them a thrill. Sometimes you have to go dark to give them that.”
He particularly appreciates the secret at the story’s core: “They’re living in a house that has a living clock of doom, and they have to disengage the clock to save the world.”
One of the core themes to The House with a Clock in Its Walls is honouring one’s individuality. In the film, Jonathan plays certain notes on his saxophone, and it will open up his magic … unique to him.
Black reveals that element is one of his favourites about the story: “Tapping into our unique weirdness is the key to a person’s individual magic. Let the individuality out.”
Casting two-time Academy Award winner Blanchett in the role of Florence Zimmerman, one of the most powerful witches on Earth, was a major coup for the filmmakers.
Known for a body of dramatic work, Blanchett has also stunned audiences with her darkly comedic chops in films such as Thor: Ragnarok.
The performer appreciates Roth’s eclectic aesthetic, and offers that the director was one of the primary reasons she decided to join the production.
“What I love about Eli is that he didn’t just come at the story from one perspective,” says Blanchett.
“He has incredibly electric tastes, and I felt like he didn’t shy away from the danger and excitement. But he was also able to bring such heart to the film.”
The House with a Clock in Its Walls also marks the continuing partnership of Roth and composer Nathan Barr, with whom the director has collaborated on
Cabin Fever, Hostel and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove. – United International Pictures