PAGETURNER: Book is once again better than movie

Book: House with the Clock in Its Walls--Four out of Five Stars

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 I loved reading John Bellairs’ mystery fantasy novel The House with the Clock in its Walls. Its charming characters and suspenseful moments kept me from putting it down. 

  When I heard there would be a film adaption, directed by Eli Roth, I was nervous. As much as I like Jack Black and Cate Blanchett as actors, Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record at capturing the magic when it’s from a book.

  Turns out, I was right. To be fair, The House with a Clock in Its Walls isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s inferior to the book. The characters were underdeveloped and missed their charisma, especially the lead. I knew it would go downhill when the protagonist was introduced as the “kid with dead parents”, which has been overused in multiple stories. I was annoyed when this was his main motivation, which was pretty weak.

  The villains of the movie were also derivative. The film didn’t bother explaining their goals properly, and I was stuck wondering why they were doing what they were doing. There was also an obvious plot twist, which I saw coming from a mile away. This irritated me because a writer should add suspense to the story and defy the audience’s expectations.

  The House with a Clock in Its Walls as a movie lacked the suspense that the book provided. With the film I could always guess what would happen next. I was also disappointed with the film’s horrendously simple climax. It was handled much better in the book. In the film, each problem was solved without effort.

  I didn’t regret seeing the film version of The House with a Clock in Its Walls. However, there were many things that could’ve been improved before the film’s release. If you enjoy watching fantasy movies in your spare time, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is perfect for you. However, if you’re a fan of the John Bellairs’s classic, this cliched adaptation is best left unseen.

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