The Spiderwick Chronicles

Rated PG 97 minutes 2008

After the malarkey that was The Golden Compass, I was not excited about the latest attempt to jumpstart a franchise based on children’s books. Happily, this one—about a family moving into a house besieged by goblins—caught me by surprise. Freddie Highmore acquits himself nicely for August Rush by playing twin brothers who, with their mom (Mary-Louise Parker) and sister (Sarah Bolger), wind up in trouble after they find a fairy guidebook that dark forces wish to possess. The film is scary (perhaps too scary for its PG rating), but it’s good fun, in a Spielberg sort of way. The film even has the old Spielberg theme of the absent father. Yet, Spielberg didn’t direct the film; Mark Waters (Mean Girls), did, and it’s a nice effort. The creatures—voiced by the likes of Martin Short, Seth Rogen and Nick Nolte—are a great combination of CGI and Phil Tippett creature work. Major kudos go to Highmore, who plays twins without resorting to gimmicky extremes.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.spiderwickchronicles.com

Director: Mark Waters

Producer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Mark Canton, Larry Franco, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Julia Pistor, Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, Seth Rogen and Martin Short

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The Spiderwick Chronicles

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