The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

THE SCOOP
Director: Mark Waters
Plot: Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of fairies and other creatures.

Genre: Drama/Family/Fantasy/Thriller
Awards: -
Runtime: 97min
Rating: PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements.

TRAILER:

IN RETROSPECT

Oh great, not a
nother chronicle. We already had Narnia and Riddick. Now add Spiderwick to the fray. It seems way too generic and unoriginal to market a film with such a title. The first Narnia was just average (though C.S Lewis' novel remains one of the great literary works of all-time) and Riddick was completely bull. So one might be forgiven to think that The Spiderwick Chronicles will be a formulaic bore; a movie not worth splurging your cash because you might think that you have seen it before.

How wrong can you be? The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of the better outputs of 2008's first quarter. It's a fantasy adventure that is both well-directed and scripted. Director Mark Waters gives more attention to character development than anything else. This is crucial as it gives a new emotional dimension to the characters that are mostly played by pre-teens. The acting is top-notch, exceeding my expectations to a large extent. In fact, the performances here are more sincere compared to what is offered in The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep, another recent fantasy adventure.

The story is easy to follow. A secret book is discovered by a boy who is unaware of the consequences that come with opening the book. The monsters want the book. But it has to be protected at all costs. While the plot may not excite the seasoned moviegoer, the ideas and concepts presented in The Spiderwick Chronicles are fresh and appealing. The above-mentioned monsters can't be seen with the naked eye; special lenses allow humans to view these evil creatures. Moreover, there's a ring of toadstools that surround the house which acts as a force field to ward off the monsters (in addition, the book must stay within the ring).

It gets very interesting when the characters have to seek help by getting out of their safe zone, bringing along the book for reference. There are several thrilling sequences involving narrow escapes and vicious attacks by the monsters. The CGI in The Spiderwick Chronicles is superb; there's never a moment viewers might feel disinterested. In a nutshell, The Spiderwick Chronicles is occasionally frightening, but it's perfect family entertainment. Worth a watch!
SCORE: 8/1
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