I love Jack Black, but over the last few years he’s been in more cringe-worthy films than anything else. Can’t say that has me excited for the big screen version of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps that kind of feels like it’s arriving a zillion years too late.
When I was a kid I absolutely loved R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series (and his Fear Street one, for that matter). I very much appreciated that the books were clever, funny, self-aware and only lightly “scary” (hence why they only gave me, you and everyone else … goosebumps).
Surprisingly, the movie is exactly how I remember the books being, and I can double confirm this because at my screening I had the pleasure of sitting next to a little girl who was about the same age as I was when I was devouring Stine’s work like it owed me money. She giggled at its silly bits, kicked her feet when she got nervous and then happily woofed down her Junior Mints when her “fear” faded away. When the film ended I leaned over to her, asked her what she thought about it, and the only thing she could do was beam with excitement. To me, that says mission accomplished. Sure, I will admit that Goosebumps is not a perfect film – the humor pretty is hit or miss and the CG is overdone – but it’s light entertainment that stays true to the books, and that’s all that really matters.
If you have kids, take them to see it right now. If you don’t, go anyways. You could probably use a good dose of nostalgia.
I didn’t know it, but I’m all-in on R.L. Stine for life. Is he still writing? Maybe I should jump back and start reading wherever I left off back in like 93-94.