Hello and Hallo-welcome to Family Friendly Fridays, where our bloggers look at films fit for the whole family to enjoy. You join our reviewer, Lilly (with her special guest, Livi), as they get ready to go back to school, even if it is a bit spookier than she remembers.
Today’s film offering: Monster High: Haunted
Lilly: For those of you not in the know, Monster High is the creation of the Mattel toy company that features a series of dolls that had a web series and now have full length feature films documenting the adventures of Draculaura, Clawdeen, and Frankie, who, along with their friends, are just too GHOUL for school.
That was a tester pun. Because if you couldn’t handle that, then Monster High is just not for you. It’s not. It is full of puns, including and not limited to:
Ghoulfriend, Las Plagues (instead of Las Vegas), Ghostoevsky, hall moanitors, unboo-lievable, hauntdog day, ectonomics, paintergeist.
So. Good. I love puns, so this whole franchise is up my alley, plus it has characters of all shades of supernatural, including and not limited to the daughters and sons of:
Frankenstein’s creation, Dracula, the wolf man, the creature from the Black Lagoon, a banshee, a skeleton, Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde, a zombie, a siren, gargoyles, and lesser knowns like the noppera-bō, or a Japanese spirit otherwise known as the faceless ghost.
Seriously? Sign me up! Twice.
So for this first edition of Family Friendly Friday, we thought it might be nice to actually get someone who this film was aimed at to weigh in on if it was really worth wailing home about (practice pun, I’ll get better). So I’m joined by our friend, Livi, who has not only excellent taste in films but is a friend’s five year old who definitely knows what is entertaining for those under (mumble our ages mumble). To start off, Livi summed up our film choice’s plot:
Livi: I want to watch 13 Wishes.
Lilly: Wait, no, she summed up the fact that Haunted was not her first choice, and in fact, she’d rather watch the film where one of them (BOO knows who) wishes to be popular and drama ensues with a Djinn. Cue a long discussion about how Haunted had ghosts so it was a bit more Halloween-y, which completely was ignored because 13 Wishes.
We eventually settled in to watch, and while the puns were cracking me up (as well as the school’s swim coach being the creature from the Black Lagoon, one of my favs), the physical comedy had Livi laughing. Not only was she laughing, but she was following the plot, and so was I, because, gosh darn it, a good mystery was brewing. Yes, there were a few weird little sub-plots like the resident Gossip Ghost (aha) learning gossip hurts and a gargoyle who longed to swim, but most importantly, Draculaura was being frightened by a ghost haunting her! Oooooo.
Of course, as an adult watching this, I was confused as to how she was scared by a ghost when she goes to class with a banshee and a spectre, but okay. Maybe it was the stranger element of it, not just the ghost part. Maybe.
Anyway, as we watched, questions were asked of Livi, and she easily answered them, the plot not too murky for HER to work out, even if I was surprised by certain things, such as Serena being a SIREN. GET IT.
As we went along, Livi helpfully explained things (see: spoilers abound for we were all innocent once), laughed at some of the jokes (yet didn’t think the puns were as funny as I did for some reason), and pointed out her favourites (Clawdeen, Frankie, and Draculaura, in that order). It was actually really fun to see the monsters from movies I love being adapted and made accessible to younger audiences, as I have no problem with the gentrification of monsters that were fading into the distant past for the profit of a toy company. I mean, when they turned into ghosts (I spoil things, too) I know that Mattel was behind that plot point, rubbing their hands with glee over how much money the new line of dolls could get. New outfits! Fierce new looks! Buy your kid a second Clawdeen doll at full price because she has different teensy clothes! Well played, Mattel.
While Livi liked it, I really enjoyed it, too. It was not only full of puns, but was surprisingly deep at times–it even used themes that Charles Dickens used in A Christmas Carol, like a representation of the burden of punishment for misdeeds with chains in the afterlife. Shut up, Monster High. Shut up. You got me impressed already with your Japanese faceless ghosts but to be using the chains of punishment that made A Christmas Carol super depressing for old Scrooge? Come on.
So this first family friendly Friday was a success, in my opinion. I laughed, Livi laughed, and even Andy, who was barely watching, laughed. What more could you want from a film that was rated G? More puns? More puns. So settle in, relax, and let the play on words wash over you. Mmmm spooktacular. Enjoy!