The Monster Family – Film Review
Director: Holger Tappe
Writers: David Safier (screenplay), Catharina Junk (screenplay)
Stars: Emily Watson, Jason Isaacs, Nick Frost
Emma (Emily Watson) has a lot on her mind. She misdials a number on her phone and gets talking to a rather unusual character. He tells her that he’s lonely and would like to talk. She humours him briefly, but it is enough to light a spark. This man is smitten with Emma and wants to be with her. The only problem is that this man is Dracula, the prince of darkness! It seems Dracula (Jason Isaacs) lacks a woman in his life, despite his power and obvious good looks. Dracula sets about to get the witch Baba Yaga (Catherine Tate) to transform Emma into a vampire so that she can be his bride. However, all does not go according to plan and Emma’s entire family are transformed into creatures of the night!
There are many films where we get to meet a family of monsters. Hotel Transylvania is the obvious starting point for an animated film, but before that there were the Munsters and the Adams Family. What does this film bring that’s new to the party? Not a lot, in truth. It is different in that the family have been transformed and are searching for a way to revert to their earlier selves. Otherwise, there’s very little to justify another outing on such a similar track.
This is a British-German production that is based on a David Safier book. Safier is a German writer and novelist. The animation is clean and well produced which does make it look an expensive production. There is also a relatively strong cast of voice actors with Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Gosford Park) along with Jason Isaacs (The Death of Stalin and Harry Potter). The appearance of Catherine Tate adds to the comedic part of the script, but the most unusual thing about this film is how lacking it is in gags. There is a fairly well developed plot but very few laughs. This is very unusual for a film of this type and does leave it slightly empty in comparison to the Pixar equivalents. Next time, don’t worry about the script and give us a few laughs. It’s all that anyone really wants from an animated film for kids!