Published Feb 14, 2008Based on the series of childrens books by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a simple, entertaining trip into the realm of imagination. Using above average special effects, this film manages to capture the fairytale landscape of childhood and create an endearing, uncomplicated good versus evil adventure story.
After their parents separation, the Grace children Jared, his twin brother Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore) and their sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) are forced to move into a creepy, old family estate in the middle of nowhere. While exploring the house, Jared discovers a mysterious book with a cryptic note warning that the book must never be opened. Curious, Jared reads the book and discovers that a strange world of faeries and monsters exists around the estate. Soon, an evil ogre and an army of goblins are after the book of faerie secrets, and Jared must work with his family to stop them at all costs.
Though comparable to the Harry Potter films in both tone and quality, The Spiderwick Chronicles is geared towards a slightly younger audience. The straightforward story is reminiscent of the type of imaginative adventure games children actually play, with un-crossable magical lines, comically ferocious creatures and a lot of running from place to place. And though this is very much a childrens movie, parents will not be disappointed, as the story is captivating enough to allow adult imaginations to come out and play.
Young fans of the novels wont be disappointed with The Spiderwick Chronicles, despite the fact that it condenses the series into a single movie. Happily, this is a family film that actually pleases the whole family. (Paramount)