Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)


Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Netflix, The Montecito Picture Company, Walden Media
Director: Rachel Talalay
Writer: Joe Ballarini
Actors: Tamara Smart, Oona Laurence, Tom Felton, Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Lynn Masako Cheng, Ty Consiglio, Ian Ho, Indya Moore, Alessio Scalzotto, Tamsen McDonough, Ashton Arbab, Crystal Balint, Cameron Bancroft, Anisa Harris, Ricky He, Kelcey Mawema, Isabel Birch, April Telek, John Murphy, Momona Tamada, José Giménez-Zapiola, Mithila Palkar, Linden Porco, Brian Drummond, Nicole Provost, Mark Gibbon, Colin Renaud
Blurb from IMDb: A babysitter embarks on a mission to save a child who's been abducted by monsters.

Cat’s Point of View:

While A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting didn’t make it onto my personal Top 20 list for movies premiering in the month of October, it was only by a narrow margin. It was really hard narrowing down to only 20 that month. The trailer gave me the impression of some sort of mash-up between The Babysitter’s Club books and The Monster Squad (1987), and that had me really excited.
I wasn’t too far off base, and yet I’m not sure this film met my expectations.
While this movie was actually based on the first book of a series, it didn’t quite dig as deeply into some of the details as I would have liked. At the same time, we did get some good background for a couple of the babysitters and a decent setup for a sequel – should Netflix find that it’s feasible.

Even though it felt like the production glazed over the surface of events to a point, I have to give credit for the amazing visuals. The sets were fantastical and just the right amount of over-the-top. The various lairs on the sides of both good and bad were amazingly detailed. I’m now curious how much was drawn from the actual books and what was picked from the production team’s imaginations.
Sure, the movie was a bit on the campy side. What kid-targeted Halloween movie isn’t, though? I think the critic reviews I’ve seen on the film have been a little too heavy-handed and harsh. They seem to be forgetting the target audience here.  While not quite the same caliber production, this film follows the tradition of such movies like Hocus Pocus (1993) and Halloweentown (1998). It’s a great starter-film with a fun spooky time for younger audiences. I’d say it’s for the lower end of the PG crowd, rather than the older middle-school kids – in spite of the fact that the protagonist is awash with middle-school-age problems.

Unlike some kids’ movies in the past year, I really didn’t have any issues with the acting. Everyone on board seemed to be flowing with their characters and there wasn’t a stiff delivery in the bunch. I think my favorite performance here, though, was Tom Felton’s (Megan Leavey, Ophelia, The Flash) portrayal of The Boogeyman. You could just tell that he was having a blast with this character and reveling in the evil of it. I’m sure it’s taken him quite a while to shake the stigma of Draco Malfoy from the Potterverse, but he threw himself into this role with gusto.
While I believe there was some room for improvement with A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, I enjoyed watching this movie and I’m hoping that Netflix develops the other 2 books in the series (which is rated an average of 4 stars on GoodReads) so we can tie up the loose ends left hanging from this first installment. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 65%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 31/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

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