You guys, I think this film might be too highly favoured for my blog. It has an audience rating of 73% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s the highest a film on this blog has ever got, I think. Plus, it’s 90s Disney so naturally Buzzfeed is all over that shit: I swear I’ve seen like umpteen quizzes to find out how much it’s humanly possible to like Halloweentown. With all this lukewarm praise, dare I try to find fault with it?
Yes, yes I do dare. I had to look hard but I’ve found those flaws. Buzzfeed, forgive me, because I’ve found The One Thing You’ve Never Noticed in This Film.
Disney have a tried and tested technique when it comes to writing young characters, and the Piper brood is a crash course in the three main archetypes. We’ve got Marnie, the Token Eldest child. She’s determined to be independent and thinks she’s the special one of the three. Catchphrase: “I’m 13, I’m practically an adult!” From this we can see she’s both 1) 13 and 2) completely ignorant of what constitutes an adult. I bet Marnie can’t cook or set up a direct debit for shit. Then we have Dylan, Know-All Extraordinaire. He is characterised by ill-advised sassy one-liners, case in point “I get all the As.” If A in this case is Asshat. Finishing the trio is Sophie, Adorable Child Actor. Aww. She is quite cute to be honest. No snarky comments about her.
Their mum Gwen is hell-bent on keeping them away from Halloween, so you just know they’re going to be linked really closely to Halloween. Then you meet their grandmother and you wonder why the kids have never noticed she’s very obviously a witch? Even “all the As” Dylan hasn’t figured out this riddle. She gets the bus that takes her to “Mortal World”. She has an enchanted bag that moves of its own accord. She’s dressed like a witch. It’s all very subtle. You can kindof see where Gwen’s coming from, though: grandma brings a pentagram for Marnie (which you know being naive she’s gonna interpret as Satanism) and a goblin outfit with ass implants for Dylan. Could she not just give them a fiver like most grandparents?
Long story short, they do get to Halloweentown which is being screwed over because Gwen rejected the mayor and he’s being a total Nice Guy about it by practising magic tricks and freezing people. Plot’s alright, set’s alright. There’s a really cool skeleton that drives a car and this massive pumpkin, and the rest of the costumes are like those monster masks from Buffy which implies the skeleton and pumpkin cost more than producers expected. Marnie proves herself by climbing into the massive pumpkin, Dylan tries to know things about the Northern Lights but he’s talking out of his arse costume, and Sophie turns out to be a powerful witch because who’d a thunk it? Plenty of people. Plenty of people thunk it. Apart from that, though… not much to criticise. Shame.
Spoopy rating: 2/3 not spoopy enough