Feb 04, 2008|
(USA) When the Grace family, consisting of twins Jared and Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), older sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger, In America) and their mother Helen (Mary-Louise Parker, TV’s Weeds) move into great-granduncle Arthur Spiderwick’s rundown estate after separating from Papa Grace, they stumble upon a world that they never thought existed—one filled with goblins, faeries, ogres and many more. The creatures cannot be seen by human eyes unless they are viewed through a seeing stone, or if the creatures allow themselves to be viewed at will, or if the human is spit in the eyes by a hobgoblin.
Adapted from the best-selling children’s fantasy series of the same name, The Spiderwick Chronicles is more of a showcase into the realms of fantasy and imagination than anything else—in a positive way. Director Mark Waters (Freaky Friday) keeps a tight leash on the story development such that the many CG-generated visuals never take away from the mission at hand—getting rid of the Field Guide, a treasure tomb of knowledge compiled by Uncle Spiderwick which the evil goblin Mulgarath wants for himself. While some of the scenes are thrillingly scary, the good creatures provide much of the light-hearted comic relief, such as the smart-mouthed brownie Thimbletack with anger management issues and the perpetually bird-hungry hobgoblin Hobsqueal.
Save for a slightly abrupt and anti-climatic ending, the breathtaking visual effects and the relentless pacing of the movie will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the movie. It’s a virtual roller-coaster ride from the very first minute till the last—fun, adventurous and magical, nothing more, nothing less.