16 February 2008 | cultfilmfan
The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Spiderwick Chronicles is based upon the books of the same name by Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black. The film centers around a mother and her three children who move into a mysterious and creepy new house pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The one son Jared who is the main character in the film, finds a book written by the previous owner of the house and Jared soon discovers that this is a magical yet very dangerous book that a lot of goblins and little creatures are after, but with the help of his twin brother, his older sister and some friendly creatures he gets the book to safety and also protects himself and his family from the evil monsters that want the book to do harm. Ever since The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter films have done so well, filmmakers are taking other fantasy books and turning them into feature films as well. The majority of them that have been released over the past few years I have not seen because for one thing they did not look appealing to me at all and also because of bad word of mouth and reviews. I wasn't sure what I would think of The Spiderwick Chronicles, but to my surprise I thought it was pretty good. The film is aimed at a family audience even though some young children might be afraid of some scenes, but this is a film that I think kids will absolutely love and there is enough here for the grownups as well. The story sounds simple enough, but it is enhanced by a lot of creative creatures and imaginative things going on. The young cast each did their own and carried the film and even though I don't usually like computer generated effects in films, I didn't feel it was overdone here just for the sake of showing what today's new wonderful technology can do and I really appreciated that the film didn't go overboard with that. The running time moves along fairly briskly and the film is involving and interesting from the start and keeps it's energy and charm throughout the running time. There were a few repeated story patterns and clichés in the script, but there were also a lot of surprises and new takes on things, so that can be forgiven. When looking at a film like this at a child you would like the magic, imagination and the story that is woven in front of you with interesting characters, environments and a grand sense of storytelling that can make the make believe into a fun and entertaining film. This is all captured very well here and works as a fairy tale for kids 8 to whatever age. A creative enough story helped by good film-making and an eye for what kids and adults love about these movies make this film a generally good and above average family fantasy film of the past few years.