Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloweentown High

Hello and welcome to 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.

This movie was made in the wake of High School Musical, though there's no songs or diversity between the characters, but it does have one of the main cast from the aforementioned movie. We start with a robust narration, setting the mood and giving the setting to the audience, though nothing implying the next scene. Since the judges (we never knew about any type of judicial system was in place in this world, it's like they're taking a lot of notes from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) have requested her presents in their courtroom.

The Oldest Daughter is sucked into a portal, before she could finish her rant that was implied to have been something the family has been taking on for awhile. From what I'm gathering, the tribunal (or council, it's not really said, except that they all are judges) is the Oldest daughter has a proposal to send teens to normal (human world) High School. Anyhow, the Judges agree only when the Oldest Daughter bet her family's magic, again it feels like the writing is thought then print. Yeah it's a TV movie, but still the idea does move along the plot well , though a lot stronger subjects could have been mentioned and given more focus on than something that only effects the main cast, even though the film talks about what they're doing could affect the world.

The movie moves along and shows more magic, the Mother produces a door in a blank wall that (it's a great way of using special effects, though cheap, since it just appears, it doesn't feel like it forms, no weight, it just appears) has enough room for all the Halloweentown Students. The Students all look like they're in their ealry-mid-late 20's. as they get out of the Grandmother's clown car (of magic). Also something about the cinematography seems very Troma like, not bad if one wants their film to look more campy. The Oldest Daughter tours them all around and their day continues, though like any exchange student they feel alienated from a world different from their own.

I'm inferring that she's in High School in Halloweentown, and that she's totally not in her late teens to early 20s. It's not said what year she's in, since she's showing the exchange students around Human World High School (I guess she flips between each world for her studies, again not said) we at least know that she's not a Freshmen, at least in High School (the location looks like a college campus).

As things start to calm down, since the Grandmother is teaching, we get to see the true forms of the Halloweentown students in a locker, though Cody (the love interest) saw which locker and is turning the knob to attack the students (assuming, since he's a bit of a stalker), since it seems that knights are hunters and killers in this lore. It might not be Cody, though there's a good chance that he will be the main villain or son of the villain.

I have a bit of a problem with a character, mostly one student acts like she's from another world, like from outer space, where there's no people or a culture that doesn't have similarities to her own, since the Grandmother has said in past films that they were once one in the same, if anything they would have more European ideas, morals, and culture. Moving on I love the troll girl, her design is beautiful and she's a character that understands tolerance and it makes sense on her being in this exchange program. The Oldest Daughter sees everything fall into place with this experiment/cultural exchange and loves what she's done to help both worlds. She talks this over with the family, the Son again is a wonderful actor, though is a door mat still.

Ha, I thought so, the musical kid's Father (the "normal" looking judge) is a knight, I think he's a Knight, since he seems like a bad guy, too trusting and smiles too much, like he knows that something will go wrong.

Tea Steeping and Gom save Professor Steeping from a Knight

There's some good parts of awkward teen love, that's not too off-base for real flirting, teen or young 20-somethings. The Oldest Daughter is really great at emoting, also this Cody guy plays the best handsome love interest in this series. Also the Knights go into the lore proper for monsters in European mythology. An iron dagger, since iron is pure and would cleanse the monster with holy metal. The appearance of the iron dagger is a running note to tease the idea that the Knights are a phantom society, though it only appears twice, so the message doesn't really come through as a threat (well a dagger in a pumpkin is pretty violent, but not the message of creating fear).

With all the threats happening around the school and the mall (so centered around the students) the judges pull the Oldest Daughter into her bedroom (that's transformed partly into a court) and all the judges are there. Talking about the threats of the children and why they should disconnect from the human world completely. Interesting again heritage was brought up, though interestingly enough it was used in hate, racism. Since she's a half-breed witch, their racism (rightfully) pushed her to snaps hard back at them, sending the Judges all back to Halloweentown. She talks with her Mother about losing her magic, the Mom notices the plot hole of "Why does she hates using magic?", though is one of the best at using her magic in the series. Also the Oldest Daughter has the cutest pajamas in this scene.

The Grandmother is a bit ruffled over the Oldest Daughter's decision and that they really could lose their magic over these threats and fight with the judges. The next day they talk about it, the Grandmother loosens up though talks about how she's shaken up over the whole thing with the iron dagger. My favorite part of the whole film was in the mall, this amazing 72 year old person waving around a (in her hands) giant metal sword in a public place, I was secretly hoping the plot would switch gears and have her leading a revolt, there's always hope for another one.

At this point it's more or less padding, we see more magic, the Grandmother gets another teaching position in the school (great running gag), and the day is saved after the effective villain becomes ineffective because he's not the hero of the film. Though it was nice to see a romance from both the Grandmother and the Oldest Daughter, since both romantic leads showed subtle signs that they cared for each of their separate lead witch. One thing I like the most was Cody being a homage to Dick York, since he took on the idea of magic and accepts that she's magic and witches can be good, this emotion is shared with the Principal for the Grandmother (though he did try to kill her with a mob of peers).

I felt that the film had a strong love story, well a kid's movie strong love story, not teen, but none of this was teen level of anything. This was a film for kids, though from the imagination of adults imagining what kids think of teens. The over all movie was a lot better than the first two films, but that was mostly due to time, experience, and having the actors and crew more comfortable with the series. With this film finished I'm excited to see how the actors and story will expand, though this was the final film with Debbie Reynolds and Kimberly J. Brown in a starring role, but Judith Hoag is in all the movies, so I'll keep on watching.

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

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