Friday, Carolyn and I rented the movie adaptation to the Children's story "The Spiderwick Chronicles". We both were kind of scared to see if after the big 'Bridge to Terabithia' disappointment. We didn't want another "Oh, just believe and your imagination will make it almost real!" kind of movie. We wanted REAL goblins, REAL creatures and a REAL adventure.
Well, this didn't disappoint. Freddie Highmore is quickly becoming my favorite child actor (well, honestly he is my favorite) and for good reason. He plays two parts - twin brothers - in this movie and does it extremely well. And no English accent (well, it does poke through every now and then, but hey ... no big).
The effects were pretty top notch as is the story and writing. Very few things bugged me about this film, perhaps maybe the fact that the special features try and say that all this fairy and goblin stuff is real and blah blah blah. But hey, it's all about selling the product.
It's not a story for little, little kids, mind you. There are some scary elements such as when goblins are pulling one of the brothers or the mole troll. The monsters are not your soft Narnia beasts but very must more volatile and gruff.
So I do say - rent it or buy it. It's worth it.
A very good adaptation of the popular series of books by Tony DiTerllizi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of the few family films in recent years to seamlessly integrate magical elements with a potent drama that will strike a chord with many kids. An exceptionally talented Freddie Highmore (August Rush) plays twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, caught up in a sad shock from their parents' divorce and coping with a decision by their mother (Mary-Louise Parker) to uproot the boys and their sister, Mallory (Sarah Bolger), from New York City to a small town. There, the broken family moves into a spooky old mansion passed on to them by the kids' great-aunt, Lucinda (Joan Plowright), who is spending her twilight years in managed care and whose scientist father, Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn), disappeared some 80 years ago. Jared, angry, defiant, and determined to live with the father who seems to have abandoned him, investigates strange happenings and discovers Arthur's secret notations on fairies, ogres, and other mythical creatures that live both in and outside the house. Having no idea where his curiosity is leading, Jared soon finds that he and his family are under siege from goblins and a powerful ogre (Nick Nolte) who wants Arthur's notebook. Suddenly, the boy who is a lightning rod for a troubled family becomes a resourceful warrior intent on saving his loved ones from powerful forces. The Spiderwick Chronicles benefits enormously from a script (partially written by John Sayles) that treats, quite seriously, the emotional pain of its human characters and makes Jared's will to survive the very real engine of an otherwise fantastic story. It helps, too, that director Mark Waters, who brings a warm and knowing touch to outlandish material (Freaky Friday), has a way of making the spectacular elements of The Spiderwick Chronicles genuine enough to stir real excitement and suspense. This is one of the better film adaptations of best-selling fiction for kids in some years. --Tom Keogh
From the beloved best-selling series of books comes an extraordinary fantasy adventure revealing the unseen world that exists all around us. From the moment the Grace family moves into a secluded old house peculiar things start to happen. Unable to explain the accidents and strange disappearances the Grace children Jared Simon and Mallory start to investigate and find the unbelievable truth of the Spiderwick Estate and the amazing creatures that inhabit it.