(In theaters, August 2006) The good news, I suppose, is that this film definitely has its moments: As an animated feature, it’s perfectly poised to exploit its premise of a monster house, from its ambiguously unnerving introduction up to and including the stomping crashing conclusion. There are a number of dynamic set-pieces, decent one-liners and imaginative details. Unfortunately, Monster House definitely leaves audience asking for more, and for better: The back-story is weak (even more so when it seems to belong in a different genre), the script doesn’t seem to know what to do with its female characters (who are far more interesting than its male protagonists) and there are some annoying lengths here and there. The animation is generally decent, though the character design never loses its innate plasticity. It’s not really a bad film, but it shows just enough of its cards to whet our appetite for a tighter, leaner, more clever work. Oh well: at least the sound mixing is good.