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The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

February. 14,2008
| Adventure Fantasy Drama Family

Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.


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Very disappointing...


This movie is magnificent!


Thanks for the memories!


Excellent, Without a doubt!!


Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) is moving back to her childhood home with her children Mallory (Sarah Bolger), twins Simon and Jared (Freddie Highmore). The father is estranged leaving behind an angry bickering family. Some 80 years ago, the boys' great-great-uncle Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn) discovered a secret world and was abducted by fairies according to his daughter. Jared discovers Arthur's trunk and reveals a world of magic and otherworldly creatures. There is a dark ogre Mulgarath (Nick Nolte) who is after Arthur's book.The family fighting really tired me out. THERE IS SO MUCH ANGER. Everybody keeps yelling. The mom yells. Mallory yells. Jared yells. The ogres yells. Martin Short really yells. It's the most annoying thing to watch. At least, Simon doesn't yell but I'm not sure that I like Freddie Highmore playing duo roles. I rather have the characters truly interact.This is a slightly darker children's fantasy. Both the real world and the fantasy world are filled with darker substances. It works to a large extent. Seth Rogen delivers a little bit of humor as the bird obsessed Hogsqueal. I wish there was more sense of wonder. A lot less yelling would help.


THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is a perfectly entertaining children's fantasy film that provides a neat alternative to those viewers who've overdosed on Harry Potter's antics. This one is a neat, standalone tale of mythical monsters and invisible beasties, and the three kids who have to fight them in an old, crumbling house in the remote countryside.The film provides plenty of action and lots of special effects (CGI, of course), which are for the most part very well achieved. There's humour (some of which, like the Seth Rogen character, I could have done without), scary scenes, and a great deal of imagination. It's all very familiar and rather predictable - in fact, I had virtually the same idea for a story like this, once - but there's little to dislike.Okay, so the script could have been a little tighter; there's a little too much yelling and shrillness early on, before the characters of the protagonists are given a chance to come out. The casting of Freddie Highmore in the dual role is very good, though, and something I didn't spot until about halfway through. Sarah Bolger, late of THE TUDORS, is excellent as ever. The director could have been better, but as I said, there's little to dislike in this one.

Jean Lucero (lucero-j)

Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.I've made up a theory: People who have read books that are turned into movies will be more harsh to judge the films unlike people who see movies without reading the book. I think this theory is right. I was disappointed by Harry Potter 5 at first, but watching it now for a year later and nearly forgetting about the book, I found it the best in the series.The same might as well go with this film. I was disappointed. If you don't know, this film is based on 5 books. However, the movie ignores the 4th book, which is probably because of budget issues and/or limited running time. Still, I can't help but complain. There could've been more creative production designs to see, more action, and more magical creatures.Apart from that, I felt that the film was well put together, especially the fact that they skipped a lot in the books. The special effects are very good, as well as the action scenes. I also may feel this film pushed the PG rating. It certainly is not as intense as Harry Potter 3 but there might be about 2 to 3 scenes that could make this film a PG-13 rating.


Benefiting from Deschanel's superb cinematography, this fantasy adventure has moments of elegant finesse that make it unusual in terms of modern (often brutal) cinema. The gentler "faerie" sequences and closing credits were like a lullaby for the eyes. Helped considerably by Horner's enchanting score.A well-constructed screenplay keeps the action flowing, while there's enough common-sense in the script to establish the main characters. There's even humorous asides, but these were too few to lift my spirits, as Jared and other family members deal with the emotional destruction of divorce.The writing takes a different approach to JK Rowling's since, here, Jared has to assume the role of a missing father, while Harry Potter is tasked with rebuilding a sense of family from scratch. Although, divorce as a topic is well-worth exploring, since it haunts modern society. JK Rowling tends to ignore that difficult issue entirely.Parallels with Harry Potter are unavoidable. Spiderwick's "Griffin" sequences were far too reminiscent of those seen at Hogworts. Nil points for originality there. Paramount obviously decided to compete with Warner Brothers for a highly lucrative "fantasy film" audience. Hijacking an idea wholesale didn't impress.Goblin sequences relied too heavily on CGI, although Thimbletack limited the damage by being a new CGI "take" on the "house-elf". Plowright (as Lucinda) and Highmore (in a dual-role) acted their socks off, not helped much by mediocre support. I can imagine Emma Watson or Natalia Tena, for example, making much more of swashbuckling "Mallory". Some poignant moments - due in most part to a thoughtful script and Highmore's considerable acting abilities. Keep the tissues handy.