"Goosebumps" stars Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, and Amy Ryan. Released on October 16, 2015, the film has a young teenager joining forces with R. L. Stine and his daughter to save their town from Stine's monstrous creations.
The film is directed by Rob Letterman, who also directed Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Gulliver's Travels. It is based on the children's book series of the same name by R. L. Stine. In case you're wondering, I am very familiar with Goosebumps. Well, mostly from the television series, but that still counts. The Goosebumps books were very popular, so Hollywood decided to make a full-length film adaptation of the book series. The question is, how are they going to make it work? How are they going to make a story that's fun for the family while also capturing the spirit of the books? It wasn't easy, but somehow, they managed to pull it off.
The cast delivered some good performances, including Jack Black as R. L. Stine. I found it a bit unusual that they got Black to play the author of the popular book series, but he managed to make it work thanks to his well-timed humor. In fact, he almost stole the show from beginning to end (Interesting fact: Black also voiced Slappy the Dummy and the Invisible Boy in the film). Minnette did a nice job playing Zach, the main character who moved to a new town with his mother. Ryan Lee portrays Zach's new friend, Champ (Yes, that's his real name). From the trailers, I was worried that Champ is going to be one of those side characters who are made to make little kids laugh, but make adults want to tear their hair apart. But I was wrong. He wasn't actually that bad. The humor in the film was pretty good. I chuckled at a few things, but nothing made me laugh out loud. I'm also really impressed with the visuals that made the monsters come to life. It's not groundbreaking by any means, but very appropriate for a family film. The screenwriters did a nice job with the story as it incorporates three main parts of the Goosebumps books: the beginning, the middle, and the twist. It's like they know what makes Goosebumps what they are and how it got people so engaged to the source material to begin with.
The pacing is mostly consistent with its running time with a couple of rushed parts. I also find the third act a bit anticlimactic at times. The cinematography was good for the most part, but somehow, the way they filmed certain scenes almost reminds me on how people filmed the Goosebumps television show. That's just how I see it. The film can be a bit scary for those who aren't familiar with the source material, especially little kids, but the filmmakers did a good job at knowing how to balance the scares with the fun and adventure.
Overall, with Jack Black's scene-stealing performance, some good humor, and the amount of scares and fun thrown into the mix, "Goosebumps" succeeds in bringing R. L. Stine's creations to life for a new generation of fans. This is also Rob Letterman's most entertaining film in his career since Monsters vs. Aliens. Fans of the Goosebumps book series will definitely enjoy this film, along with those who need a good Halloween film to watch with the kids.