The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Upon first look, this seemed like a type of School of Rock (2003) set up, but with magic at the forefront instead of music. Gillian Jacobs? Adam Devine? MAGIC??? Say no more--I am absolutely all in on this.
Mark Waters, who directed one of my favorite rewatchable movies, Mean Girls (2004), approaches this Disney story in the same way he did with others like it: cookie-cutter. I do not mean this in a bad way, and in fact, I think this works perfectly for this type of film. I want the cookie-cutter style of direction for this story. The pacing for the story is just right; cuts happen when they are supposed to happen, and there are no extremely fancy or unconventional edits. Simply put, it works.
Like most Disney films, there are a few story lines that make up this plot. There are a few “main” characters, as well, both struggling in their own right--and they eventually help each other reach their individual and collective goals and achieve happiness. Of course, there is a rivalry conflict and budding romances along the way. Andy (Adam Devine) is a failing magician attempting to revamp his career by taking the opportunity to go back to be a camp counselor at the place he attended as a child. Theo (Nathaniel Logan McIntyre) is a young boy who recently lost his father, the one who introduced him to magic, trying to find his way after the loss.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Adam Devine and Gillian Jacobs are perfectly cast to lead these two crews of young kids at camp. Their chemistry with each other and with the kids is exactly where it should be, natural and fun. The groups of children are perfectly cast in their roles, too, including but not limited to: the nerdy friend, the bully, the weird girl, and the love interest for Theo.
...A Perfect Summer Flick To Watch With The Whole Family
Magic Camp (2020) | DISNEY+
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Magic is difficult to believe what you are seeing when it takes place directly in front of you, then add the fourth wall of the screen and it just heightens the level of disbelief. Would I put Magic Camp in the same category as The Prestige (2006)? No--but, I think the camera does a great job of highlighting the talent on screen. The use of wide and medium shots throughout a lot of sequences gives the feel that the camera is not trying to trick you into the trick you are seeing, it is simply showing it to you. This could have very easily been a fail if not done correctly--giving the magic tricks a feel of cheesiness and fakeness. Maybe I am just too much of a believer in “magic” already, but I thought this was executed perfectly.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music throughout hits all the beats just fine to carry the story along with it. There is a fun edit with a slow-mo walk of one crew showing off their new team uniforms to the other crew that features the music choice nicely. Otherwise, the music does what it needs to for this story and that is it.
This is a perfect summer flick to watch with the whole family. For me, I wanted to watch it because I thought it would be a great way to escape the dumpster fire that is 2020, and I was right. It is fun and cute and a great little escape from reality.