Nickelodeon and Paramount team up to bring one of the newest, popular children’s book series to the big screen. The result is “The Spiderwick Chronicles”, which provides much of the excitement and wonder of the books, with plenty of changes.
Freddie Highmore plays twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, who move into their Aunt Lucinda’s old house, along with their sister Mallory and their mom. On the first night in their new home Jared finds a book in an old crate called “Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.” The book describes creatures such as Brownies, Fairies, Goblins and Sprites that the author says live all around us. And once Jared opens the book the creatures start appearing around the house.
The meanest of these creatures is Mulgrath. He wants the book and all it’s secrets so that he can take over the world. So, with the help of a good Brownie and Hobgoblin, the Grace family fights to save the book and themselves.
There are five books in the “Spiderwick” series and, not surprisingly, the writers of the movie were forced to make many changes to the script, including keeping most of the action at the house, eliminating Book 4 altogether and changing the ending. So if you’ve read the books be prepared. But there’s also a lot that stays the same, such as the rhyming of Thimbletack, the seeing stone and the overall plot, so fans of the series shouldn’t be disappointed.
The movie has great visual effects. The monsters are amazing. In fact, they’re too real for very young kids. There are some intense scenes that I’m sure led to nightmares for the younger kids that were at the screening I attended. Parents – keep this in mind!
The acting is solid. Mary Louise Parker plays the mom, while Nick Nolte and Joan Plowright also appear.
On The Official Kid Critic Report Card, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” gets a solid B. This is the first time that I read the book that a film was based on before seeing the film. I enjoyed the “Spiderwick” book series more but the movie is still worth seeing and should be a big hit.