Haunted Mansion

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Eddie Murphy, Nathaniel Parker, Wallace Shawn, Terence Stamp, Marsha Thomason, Jennifer Tilly
Written By:
Directed By: Rob Minkoff
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com

I felt Haunted Mansion was either going to be complete mess or a decent movie. While I didn’t think it was a complete mess, I felt it was a fun flick that was decent. Could have been better in some areas though.

Haunted Mansion is about Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) who is a work hound real estate agent and everything is about work, work, work. Jim never spends time with his wife Sara (Marsha Thomason) and 2 kids, Michael (Marc John Jefferies) and Megan (Aree Davis). So the family decides to take a trip to the lake, but Sara gets a weird phone call and they think it’s a real estate offer that they can’t pass up. So the family takes a side trip from their weekend vacation to look at the house and end up getting stuck at the mansion because of a wicked thunderstorm. The house’s owner, Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) is this creepy British guy who has a liking for Sara but there is a reason behind that. He also has a even more creepier butler Ramsey (Terence Stamp) who’s not what he seems. Jim starts to find out the mansion’s past and how Sara might be involved in it.

It’s kind of funny that Eddie Murphy starred in the same kind of movie he made fun of 20 years ago (in his Delirious stand-up). He made fun of white people for staying in a haunted or poltergeist infested house, and that black people wouldn’t do that and would have left in 2 minutes. Well he’s here starring in Haunted Mansion now but I guess by having kids himself softened him up a little. I just find this all ironic, that’s all. But anyway, the movie is certainly a fun film but it could have been better. The story was a little weak and could have used some work. It just felt unoriginal, like the whole Father isn’t paying attention to the family storyline. It’s been done to death. I want to see a movie where the Father just abandons the family and knocks up a 21 year old grocery clerk or something, That sounds more like reality haha.

I felt the CGI work in the movie was really awesome, and I’m usually a hard-ass on CGI in movies. It did what it was supposed to do, and it makes the ghosts look very cool. I really liked the graveyard scene with all the characters you see from the Disney ride. Just like Pirates of the Caribbean movie, there were lots of references to the ride like the 3 ghosts trying to hitchhike, the painting style for paintings around the house, the singing statues, and the crystal ball, which Jennifer Tilly provided her head for. Rik Baker’s makeup work was awesome as usual, and his work made the movie more creepier in some parts. Well not creepier for me per say, but I’m sure little kids got freaked out in the tomb scene. Didn’t he do the makeup for Michael Jackson’s thriller? Man, i’m still scared of that! haha.

From the extras that I looked at, they were all right. I felt some of the features were too rush and didn’t explain a lot of the technical stuff that I like to watch like Visual Effects, and Make Up design. They show some of that in “Making the Mansion” featurette, but that was under 10 minutes. Rik Baker’s a genius, give the man his own featurette! There’s a deleted scene with the 2 kids and 2 servant ghosts showing the kids that they were ghosts. It wasn’t really all that interested to tell you the truth. The bloopers were pretty funny to watch. It seems like every Eddie Murphy movie always has them because he always messes up. “Anatomy of a Scene: Ghost in the Graveyard” was really cool to watch because it was in-depth look on how they did everything. They used a special kind of reflective paint for the ghost costumes, and it gave a cool effect when put into the computer.

There’s a virtual tour that I started to watch but I didn’t have the patience to sit through it. Besides those things, there’s 2 audio commentaries: one with director Rob Minkoff and costume designer Mona May. The other commentary is with Producer Don Hahn, Visual Effects Supervisor Jay Redd (who has a cool curly mustache) and writer David Berenbaum. I didn’t check out the DVD-Rom features but from what I can see, it’s loaded with features. You get this Ghost Effect Studio program where you can insert a jpeg or gif and make yourself into a ghost. Pretty cool huh? There’s also a video of the history of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney, an image gallery with conceptual art, designs, and production photos. There’s also an enhanced virtual tour of the Mansion, and desktop themes, wallpaper and screensavers.

Overall, I felt The movie has it’s fun moments, there’s great CGI, and some cool action in it. It all adds up to be a fun family movie, I just felt it could have been a little bit better.

– Bloopers
– Deleted Scene
– Haunted Mansion Virtual Tour
– Raven “Superstition” Music Video
– The Making Of The Mansion-Behind The ScenesFeaturette
– Anatomy Of A Scene-Ghosts In The Graveyard
– Audio Commentary with Don Hahn (Producer), Jay Redd (Visual Effects Supervisor) and David Berenbaum (Writer)
– Hours Of DVD-Rom Content:
– The History of the Haunted Mansion Attraction
-Morphing Ghost Host Maker
– Photo Galleries
– Desktop Themes/Wallpaper/Screensavers
– Enhanced Virtual Mansion Tour
– THX Certified

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: The singing statues were fun, and so was the whole graveyard scene. I love the tomb scene with all the walking skeletons.
Rating: Rated PG
Running Time: 88 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: