Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloweentown 2: Kalabar's Revenge

Hello and welcome to the Eldritch Month, all of October will be media with a spooky theme. Films and Comics and Books alike featuring eerie tales. This year I've chosen the Disney TV movie series Halloweentown, where we'll be reviewing each film. That's right a feature a week for this Eldritch time of the year. Keep your wits about you as we creep closer to All Hallow Even.

The film opens with a review of the first movie, it's good padding to catch people up to speed, though as someone that's just seen the first movie, it's unneeded. They show all the exciting parts of the film and the climax, it ruins the idea that anyone needs to see the first film, especially if it can be summed up in a two minute flashback. The Oldest Daughter narrates about Halloweentown as the visuals are of said village, the towns people are different, though I liked the Basket Case-like movie designs, but this works with a growing franchise. We come back from the day dream (or was she writing in her diary?) that she's typing her adventures into a chat room(? her computer has the creepiest voice).

This is where the movie starts, well after the image of our villain appears on the wall behind the Oldest Daughter and stares at her (foreshadowing?). Tons of laughing while she turns at the suspicious wall, DAMN YOU THE WALL, go back to Marvel Comics! Really though who is that stalker? Anyhow the Grandmother is having a proper Halloween party at their house, since she's living with them now. Compared to the first movie the house has doubled in size and the amount of people seems almost like magic to fit in their home.

We see the main character (Oldest Daughter) change using her Sabrina, the Teenage Witch finger point to her outfit, though in this series the witches speak Welsh and waft their hands. I never get that ironic "teen witch" costume in kid's movie, I get it's an emphasis that this character is magical, though it come off as a bit much to me, at least her Grandmother stays in her elder garb as the tutelage witch.

This is what I like to see in this series talks  about heritage, I'm not kidding, it's a major point though like this film they mention it and keep on with the main plot (creepy wall people). I digress, I liked that they brought it up a bit more, so viewers can see who they are and what they'd like to be as a culture. Though the bitter stance on magic is fought between the Mother and Grandmother, who both leave in a huff. The Grandmother pushes along the idea of magic, making sure everyone knows that she's magical and does magic, since she's a magical witch, magic. As she sits in her circus tent room cooling and watching a crystal ball, showing more characters (that will effect the plot) of Halloweentown.

The Mother talks to the Oldest Daughter about magic, she can't sell the idea that magic is bad, though makes the point that life is all about values. I can agree, that a person that's still growing up doesn't have the proper value system, though the Oldest Daughter seems more or less intelligent and moral. Still it's a valid parental note for having magic, it's not having the power it's when to use it or why you use it. Then a new character is introduced, and seems to be the love interest. I really like the Oldest Daughter, she's a good actress, though her crush (in the film) looks really bored, he's got a nice smile, though something about him is off. Also creepy stare is creepy. After a tour of the house with her crush all of the Grandmother's magic isn't working. There's no resolution to this, since it's not really explained why she can't use her magic, even though all of the women in the movie can use their magic. It's implied that it's linked to Halloweentown, but it's never revealed how or in what way, though one can infer that it has something to do with the spell book that's missing.

Headphones are creepy and awesome!!
(shrunken heads, inter-dimensional walkie-talkies)

Anyhow, the Grandmother gives one to the Son and takes the other with her to Halloweentown, so the Oldest Daughter and her can solve this mystery while the portal is open. Oh, yeah the bus to Halloweentown is now a gate, which is pretty neat, though I like the idea of the bus (it reminded me of The Nightside series by Simon R. Green). They go through the portal that has a time limit and enter Halloweentown everything is in Black and White and looks like a propaganda film, though doesn't take advantage of the idea. The whole plot is explained to us in this moment of meeting our goblin friend from the first film.

After exposition theater we meet Kalabar's son (the mayor), yeah Kalabar had a son, he's really whinny, which shockingly is super annoying to hear him speak. What's with this guy and wanting to be apart of walls? He's the cinderblock in the center of town, which was a pumpkin and starts picking a fight with two powerful witches. He's either over confident or likes walls too much. The pacing keeps running back and forth from fast to slow, it seems that unless it's plot related everything moves at a snails pace.

Professor Steeping, Tea Steeping, and Gom take down the incredibly easy to defeat villain too.
Also they got a few books out of the deal.

Fade to black and we join the human world, the family talks about responsibilities, the son takes it upon himself to be the most grown up, though is the most stepped on in this film. He's maybe the most developed character from the first film to this film, since he's following in his sister's footsteps in the sense of wanting to find love and take charge. Between this we find out that there's a magic spell on the town and people are bland and grey, they're trying to stop Kalabar's son, though they shouldn't trust the fake Dad. The son and youngest daughter talk about how Kalabar's son made a golem of frogs, then insane laughter is played as the camera focuses at the Youngest Daughter and a skull with a sombrero.

Perfect time to go back to the magic world, as the Oldest Daughter and the Goblin magic through time, it's an odd bunch of cuts, then we see a person to person confrontation with the villain, then he jump cuts away. Also they mention Merlin, I'm digging the reference of such an amazing wizard, though that's twice in the series and no mention of a famous witch.

Jump cut to the human world again, broom flying is a bit more realistic in this film. The film keeps flipping from one non-interesting point to the other, so instead of coming to the disappointment of the Oldest Daughter and the Goblin not finding the spell book, I'm gonna go to the dance where the Mother isn't wearing more than a mask and cloak with her "Mom attire", it's cute, though a dress or gown would be something, I mean all black would be trying to fit the costume.

At this point in the film I felt that the writers got into a corner, they didn't know what to do to move along the plot, since they used time travel twice to solve a problem. Anyhow the hero's of the movie "clap real hard" and open the portal on November first, stopping Kalabar's son's revenge.

The Villain confronts the Oldest Daughter, as he whines and acts immature, while he stares into her eyes. Then we pause as the Oldest Daughter stands there in front of the villain and stares back, as they think this is how one creates tension. No, this is poor direction and writing and acting! After that the villain, just leaves, she took both books and just goes away, screaming and blasting harmless lightning, though that's it, the hero asked for their things back and the villain leaves. Anyhow, everyone turns back into humans after the Grandmother chants the spell backwards. Then the kids go to Halloweentown and bring back color to the village, it's orange, but that's what they like there.

This was a hard film to watch, it had a lot better acting, and the characters had good points for them to be better fleshed out versions than the other film. Though they still had the problem with the writing, the plot was still spelled out, but I can give them marks on trying to foreshadow, still everything was just too blunt. This is a very simple movie, nothing challenging, though a lot of fun and great ideas, it's the execution that bothers me the most. There's a lot of potential, but none of it is expanded on in the series, though this gives me high hopes that better things will come in the next two movies.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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