On DVD June 24th, 2008
Rated PG for scary creature action and violence. Peril and some thematic elements.
Mark Waters (dir.)
Freddie Highmore as Jared Grace/Simon Grace
Mary-Louise Parker Helen Grace
Nick Nolte as Mulgarath
Joan Plowright as Aunt Lucinda
David Strathairn as Arthur Spiderwick
Sarah Bolger as Mallory Grace
Our reviews below:
The Spiderwick Chronicles Review By John C.
***1/2 (out of 4)
I saw The Spiderwick Chronicles in a big old theatre a few months ago and I have not yet seen it on DVD. I’m not sure what the at-home experience will be like, but on a big screen it was in one word, amazing. The actors were all really good, the effects were great, and the the chills and thrills were actually real. Believe me, it does not back down, so don’t show it to small kids. Having read the books, I was really glad with the adaptation. It kept close enough to the books so that fans would not be disappointed but also cut out the parts that didn’t really work.
It begins with a flashback scene showing Arthur Spiderwick writing his Field Guide to the Fantastical World around you and then cuts to 80 years later where the Grace family is moving into the Spiderwick estate. The three kids, (Mallory played by Sarah Bolger and her twin brothers Jared and Simon both played by Freddie Highmore), find a dumbwaiter leading to a secret room and find the old Field Guide which opens up a hidden world where they have to fight off evil Goblins and their leader Mulgarath, (played to creepy perfection by Nick Nolte), who sets out to destroy the book. But not all the creatures are bad. Also joining them on there adventure are Flower Sprites, Færies and the hilarious comic relief characters Thimbletack, (voiced by the Canadian, Martin Short), who will often get into a rage and have to be calmed down by a bottle of honey, and Hogsqueel, (voiced by another Canadian, Seth Rogen). We also get a side story involving their great aunt Lucinda and an important decision that Jared has to make, whether or not he wants to go back to living with his Father who has recently left. Overall an excellent fantasy-adventure for older kids and even adults.
The Spiderwick Chronicles Review By Erin V.
***1/2 (out of 4)
I saw this movie a while back when it was in theaters, but never got around to reviewing it until now. I figured that this would be an appropriate time to write something about it, since it is being released on DVD this week. [Please note that this is a review based on my theatre experience.]
I had read the series of books that the movie was based on prior to watching the film, [although I must honestly say that I enjoyed the movie somewhat more]. The movie leaves some parts of the books out and changes other parts around, which worked better in the screen adaptation.
After an opening scene with Arthur Spiderwick, [David Strathairn], the movie flashes years into the future where the Grace family is moving into his old mansion. Jared Grace, [Freddie Highmore], is not happy about the move that followed his parents separation. His mother Helen Grace, [Mary-Louise Parker], twin brother Simon, [also played by Freddie Highmore], and older sister Mallory, [Sarah Bolger], try to make the best of it and blame Jared when things start going wrong around the house. While exploring the old Spiderwick mansion Jared finds Arthur Spiderwick’s field guide, which leads the evil ogre Mulgarath, [Nick Nolte], to pursue him since he wants the book and it’s secrets for himself. As the movie progresses, it succeeds in providing the suspense needed for the story with a fair amount of action throughout.
I really enjoyed this movie and found that it was quite well put together. I was slightly surprised at the quality of this film, compared to what I had expected going in. I was probably expecting this film to be only about 2 1/2 stars, not 3 1/2. This was a movie that was definitely worth my time. It is a fantasy story that is well made and well acted, [Freddie Highmore in particular succeeds in giving both of the characters that he plays separate personalities]. Hopefully it will translate well from the big screen to DVD. This being said, based on my experience, this movie is definitely worth seeing.
Consensus: A thrilling fantasy adventure for older kids, teens, and adults. Definitely worth buying. ***1/2 (out of 4)
The Spiderwick Chronicles is available in one-disc and two-disc editions, both editions include the following bonus features:
Spiderwick: its all True! Introduction with Director Mark Waters,
It’s a Spiderwick World! Featurette with original Writers, Illustrators, Director, and Producers
Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide, interactive book
The Two disc Field Guide edition also includes:
Spiderwick: meet the clan, introduction to the actors
Making Spiderwick, making-of
The Magic of Spiderwick, special-effects making-of
A Final Word of Advice, goodbye from the Director
4 deleted scenes
9 promotional TV spots
2 theatrical trailers