Movie Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles a.k.a. “Les Chroniques de Spiderwick,” “Las Crónicas de Spiderwick,” “As Crônicas de Spiderwick,” “Die Geheimnisse der Spiderwicks,” “Kronika rodu Spiderwicku,” “Spiderwick,” “Spiderwick Fortællingerne,” “Spiderwick Krønikene,” “De Spiderwick Kronieken,” “Spiderwick günceleri,” “Spiderwickin kronikat”

MPAA Rating: PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids
Genre:
Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Length:
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
February 14, 2008 (wide—3,500 theaters)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Magic and magicians in the Bible

Sorcery in the Bible

What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer

click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

Family Answers HOME page
Featuring: Sarah Bolger
In America” (2002, Christy), “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006, Sabina Pleasure)

Freddie Highmore
August Rush” (2007, Evan Taylor - ‘August Rush’), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005, Charlie Bucket), “Finding Neverland” (2004, Peter Llewelyn Davies)

Seth Rogen, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Nick Nolte, Andrew McCarthy, Izabella Miko, Martin Short, Joan Plowright, Jordy Benattar, Tod Fennell, Mariah Inger
Director: Mark Waters
Just Like Heaven” (2005), “Mean Girls” (2004), “Freaky Friday” (2003)
Producer: Steve Barnett, Holly Black, Mark Canton, Tony DiTerlizzi, Larry J. Franco, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Albie Hecht, Kathleen Kennedy, Karey Kirkpatrick, Frank Marshall, Tom C. Peitzman, Josette Perrotta, Julia Pistor, Julie Kane Ritsch, Ellen Goldmith Vein
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Their world is closer than you think.”

My family first fell in love with the books contained in The Spiderwick Chronicles last spring. We were on a road trip, and our local librarian recommended their audio books. They were family-focused, adventurous and fun.

Parts of this film felt the same…

In the film version of The Spiderwick Chronicles, four members of the Grace family are relocating to their new home. The home was left to the mother, Helen (Mary Louise Parker) by her great aunt Lucinda (Joan Plowright). It is briefly mentioned, later in the film, that the Grace father has left the family for another woman, and so Helen and the three Grace children are forced to move in to this old family home.

Mallory, the oldest, has stepped up into the role of caretaker, teaming up with younger brother Simon (Freddie Highmore) to make sure things remain peaceful and that their mother is cared for as she attempts to piece their lives back together. The only one seemingly standing in the way is Simon's twin brother Jared (also played by Freddie Highmore), who has apparent anger issues. It's Jared who stumbles upon Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. Once he ignores the warning and reads the book, Jared's world turns upside as his eyes are opened to the mysterious and magical world around him.

Eighty years before the Grace family moved into the home, Arthur Spiderwick hid the book in an effort to protect his life's work, as well as himself and his family. The wicked troll Mulgareth (Nick Nolte) sought to obtain the book and learn all of its secrets so that he could kill all of the Fairies—their goodness dying with them. Once Arthur Spiderwick had gone, a Brownie named Thimbletack (Martin Short) had stayed on to aid Spiderwick's daughter Lucinda in protecting the book from Mulgareth and his goblins.

Careless of the instructions found within the book, however, Jared lets it be known that he has the book in his possession and Mulgarath begins a war on Jared's family, in an effort to gain possession of the Field Guide. It isn't long before Jared must save his family and enlist their help.

The Bad —

  • It is a sad truth that film's continue to misuse God's name, and an even sadder one when script writer's pen this for the tongues of children. There are several instances of this, in this film, as well as the use of h*** and the very near use of the S-word by a Goblin.

  • There are several fantasy scenes that could be frightening to children.

  • There are mild instances of Goblin's attacking and drawing blood (or leaving scars) on their victims.

  • There is the subject line of the father committing adultery and leaving his wife for someone else, which may be offensive to some families.

  • The violence in this films, at times, is quite high for young children, and at times these scenes result in slightly gory moments of “slime” (blood) from the goblins.

The Good —

  • The story about the family is mostly a beautiful one. Many angles are focused on redemption and forgiveness.

    “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” instructed our Lord in Matthew 6:12, KJV.

    “‘…Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’ [or seventy times seven] Matthew 18:21-22, NIV

  • Helen's character is that of a mother with her children's best interests at heart. Her character is as close to a “real” mom, as I've seen on screen.

  • There are many beautiful and poetic lines of dialogue, and the ending is quite moving, for a children's film.

  • The score is incredibly soothing, energetic and beautiful.

All in all, I would encourage parents to be cautious, if they have young children. (Maybe even 8 or younger.) We parents are the one's who know how sensitive our children can be, so it is up to us to make those choices.

Although I enjoyed this movie, I do have to admit I enjoyed it less than I'd thought I would. In my opinion, the books are better—though this film version is a close second.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I recently bought this movie on DVD and I really enjoyed this movie. It was a fun, fantasy film and it really was suspenseful. I held my breath through out the whole movie, as well as my sister. However, I honestly wouldn't recommend this movie to younger kids, ESPECIALLY sensitive children because there are many scary-looking creatures in the magical world. A lot of intense scenes, which include invisible goblins biting down on a young boy's leg, a dragon-like creature chasing a teen girl and the lead boy down a tunnel and into the city, the ogre taking the form of a boy's father and the boy stabbing him… yes, there are a lot of scary moments. There aren't any cute fauns named Mr. Tumnus in this world, or talking beavers like they are in Narnia. The Spiderwick Chronicle's creatures are much more scary, dangerous, evil, and pretty creepy. I honestly wouldn't even recommend this to small ones. If they want to go see a movie, my best bet would be “Journey to the Center of the Earth” or “Wall-E” . :)

As far as good stuff goes, family is very important. At first, the siblings don't get along (Malory, the oldest daughter, is particularly bossy to her little brothers) but everyone learns to love each other and do everything to protect one another. And I do find lots of springboards in this movie that would be a great family discussion afterwards. Like, Jarrod (the main boy in this film) finds a book with a warning not to read. Instead of obeying the note, he opens it up anyway, and that's when his eyes are opened to the evil around him. In the same way, Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit from the tree, but did so anyway, and their eyes were opened to evil. You could use this to also point how God redeemed us, and that because Jesus died for us, we can spend eternal life with Him if we accept Him. Also, in the movie, there is a protective shield around the house where none of the goblins can get inside. You can use this to tell your children how God is there to protect us against all the evil and scary stuff in this world.

The family in this movie are going through a divorce. The father left his family for another woman. We clearly see how divorce leaves our relationships broken, and its really a sad, emotional thing. Different characters react differently: Some in anger, etc. In the end, though, everyone learns how to cope with the changes and with each other. The leading boy tells his mom in anger that he hates her, but later he regrets his words and tells him mom he's sorry and apologizes.

I really think this is a good movie, but I have trouble labeling it a “kids” movie because of the scary content. More like a “pre-teen/teen” movie. Yes, it's creepy. But I still think its a good film to watch if you want to watch a scary movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 18
Positive—I have to agree with the ChristianAnswers reviewer: I was appalled by God's name being taken in vain so many times during the film. It was unnecessary. And the lead boy uttering “what the he**?” and the goblin saying “oh sh**!” were also ridiculous choices for a children's movie. If the language had been removed from the film, it would have been a great movie. Since it does have the unnecessary language, I can't recommend it for children's viewing. Teens would be fine, but parents should probably discuss the language with them beforehand.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Bob, age 32
Positive—This is really an impressive movie in terms of computer generated creatures. The film's effects blend seamlessly with the actors and surroundings. The plot is deep in a dramatic sense and also very moving at several points. If you see this movie, please keep in mind that you do understand that you are not going to a movie to watch Christians on screen (rarely are we actually doing that, we are just going to be entertained). The characters are very human and are dealing with very human issues. One of the boys deals with his issues in anger, and I’m sure that a lot of us and our children do the exact same thing. A few very minor, and pointless words are spoken (hell) and there is an “almost” curse word by the Red Cap goblin. Don't allow this to ruin your movie. If it will, don't see it. There is an overtone of magic, though a source of that magic is never explored or discussed. It seems to just be a general nature of the faerie world. It is a fantasy movie about faeries, so if that offends you, once again, don't see it. It is sort of dark, but very adventurous and really cool to look at. The acting is fantastic and the overall look and feel of the movie follows the books exactly. Books 1 and 2 are explored in this film and very tiny bits of 3, 4 and 5 are scattered about the end. Don't expect the drawn out adventure that the books present, as it is focused mainly on the first 2 books with an ending that is written for the movie. There are some very beautiful images and some really creepy ones too, but overall its just a really cool and unique movie like none other in its genre.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joe, age 30
Positive—I went to see this movie with my 9 and 12 yr. old sons and wasn't expecting to enjoy it much myself as I don't care for fantasy movies but it was surprisingly engaging. There was just enough “scare” with the evil creatures for the boys to really enjoy it but the movie was clean and ended as fantasy movies should… happily ever after.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rachelle Smotherman, age 34
Positive—First of all, let me say that my family does not go to very many movies. We typically review them all, with most being undesirable because of morals issues. Saying this, The Spiderwick Chronicles was great!! There were a couple words that could be thrown out, my children understand that there are more intelligent things to say. It was to scary for my 6 year old. Remember, we don't see many movies, so she's not used to the violence. However, My nine and eleven year olds loved it right along with my husband and I! There are many great teaching points throughout the film. The flower creatures were my favorite. I do wish we saw more of them. The surprise ending made us laugh very loudly!! I love to leave the theater laughing and saying “that was great!”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Danielle Crawford, age 33
Positive—In the spirit of Jumanji and Zathura, Spiderwick brings together overly curious children, strange unbelievable beings, and the safety of home. Although filled with fairies, goblins, trolls, and the like, it was surprisingly less new-age than other films out there. The good guys were good, and the bad guys were bad. The deceptive ogre, the main enemy, was probably the scariest and most frightening creature I've seen on the big screen in years. We had parents in our theater leaving with their small kids when the ogre appeared. Therefore, this film is definitely NOT for the young ones or the pre-teens who scare easily. Overall, it's entertaining and I would recommend it for 11 year olds and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Diana O, age 39
Positive—Saw the movie with the whole family. It was fantastic. I still liked In The Name Of The King better but it was very good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ken Stepp, age 52
Positive—This is not meant for young children. That shouldn't contribute to the moral rating. And the violence is all on goblins, green stuff that looks nothing like blood, and the violence on humans is mild, mostly scratches a kid could get on a skateboard. The themes of adultery are VERY subtle and nothing a kid under 11 would notice. All in all, I thought it was a great movie for my kids… very thrilling and adventurous. The only offensive material is the mild violence. Don't be discouraged by Spotlight's review, take your (9 and older) kids to it right away!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rob, age 23
Neutral
Neutral—I took my 11yr old boy to this film and I feel that I am always hoping for a films that show my son good morals, but I always seem to find broken families or a abusive parent, etc. this seems to be the case first off in the Spiderwick movie, then you have a disrespectful child going as far as telling the mother that he hates her, how incredibly sad for a parent to hear those words, but even sadder when it is accepted and not corrected. The movie itself was good, not great, but it keeps you on your seat and waiting for the next scene. I would not bring a child under ten to this movie and if you have a child easily frightened this would not be the best choice for them since it does have some frightening scenes for children in it. Overall this movie does not have any thing to recommend it for Christian viewers, however my son and I did find it entertaining.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Aj, age 38
Negative
Negative—We reviewed this movie to see if its were acceptable for our children.

After watching the movie. No way would I allow my children to watch it.

It is very violent, very scary for children under 10. There was a theme left unsatisfied as the primary character's dad never did tell him about the divorce—AND—the boy stabbed and killed and image of his father (who was really the ogre). I believe this is promoting violence toward parental authority and the contrast of the bad bad ogre being the image of his dad… well that was enough for me to shut it off but I didn't…

Throughout the movie there are occultic/wickan influences :
1) chanting for the griffon
2) chanting for the ogre to appear
3) salt as a barrier against evil
4) the circle around the home, is the same as a circle of power in black magic.


It is my opinion this shouldn't be watched by children period.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Brandon Richards, age 34
Negative—I didn't have very high expectations for it going—I had free tickets, so I went just to go. Since it was PG, I wasn't expecting much other than a story. What I saw was something akin to a kid-focused, watered down horror movie. SPOILER WARNING: they take the violence as far as the antagonist morphing into the main character's dad, and the main character realizes it (before we do) and stabs him viciously in the stomach (still in “dad form”). Other aspects to consider are very scary-looking monsters, limbs getting snapped off, jump scenes, and lots of yelling/name-calling (“I hate you,” “Idiot,” “Shut up!!”). While we see no gruesome guts, per se, we do see some blood (we can see the teeth sinking into the victim's leg as he shrieks in pain) and the remains of fried baddies. I wouldn't be complaining too much if this were a teen flick, but this is a Nickelodeon movie and was advertised as such. I am very, very surprised that it garnered a PG rating, for so much violence (and spattered cussing/exclamations of the Lord's name).

The value of family is strong here, at least. There are no shortage of parallels between Mulgreth, a deceptive, shape-shifting ogre, and the father in the story, who lies to his kids and abandons them for a new woman. The mom is portrayed as trying her best to take care of her heartbroken kids. It's too bad that it's hidden under all the gory violence…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Allie, age 18
Negative—This movie was very offensive It was way to scary for any one under 13. It made me cry I was so scared PG-13 was the rating it needed. It was all about goblins killing for a book. Some scary movies are ok like Hangman's Curse but this was way to much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Emily Stinson, age 12
Negative—Previewed this movie to determine if we would take our kids… The witchcraft element and violence are excessive. I will not be taking our children nor would I recommend this to any of our Christian friends… There is a scene where a child stabs his father (an ogre in disguise), that was the final deciding factor for me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Tom, age 42
Negative—This movie had a dark theme that ran through it. The children's dad was shown to be a horrible person that didn't care about his children. The story line was very weak and did not flow very well. I can truthfully say I hope I never have to sit through this movie again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—John Talley, age 44
Negative—My wife and I saw this movie to determine if we were going to take our children, ages 5 and 9. We have decided we will not be taking our kids and would not recommend this movie to any of our Christian friends.
Having come from a occult/witchcraft background myself, I found a lot of the subtle (and some not so subtle) references in this movie disturbing. I am not an extremist when it comes to these things, as I enjoy fantasy/ sci-fi and the like, but I found this movie to be even more troubling than the Harry Potter series (which I have seen them all). *** Some spoilers to follow****

The issue for me here is they used actual witchcraft beliefs such as being protected by a magic circles from the goblins. A goblin gave the children “the sight” so they could see into his realm. The bad goblins summoned there evil leader through chanting. The used an incantation to summon a griffin… the list goes on… Here's a breakdown of one particularly troubling scene: One of the boys is angry with his father when he discovers he has moved in with another woman and is not coming to get him. The evil villain in the movie shows up appearing as the father, as if he has had a change of heart, the boy discerns it is not actually him after his “father” says he loves him and the boy proceeds to stab him in the hand with a large kitchen knife.
going to be taking my two boys to see this one…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tom, age 42
Negative—I have an 8 year old that I took to see this film. She really liked the books and we watched the trailers online to judge if it was too gory or scary. The PG rating was what got us to go but we were unable to stay through to the end. My child spent a lot of time with her hands over her face and tensing. The monsters and action sequences were quite scary with lots of close up views of monsters, there was blood and monster blood. When I suggested we leave after about 1 hour she answered, “Oh thank you mom, lets go now!”
I could have stayed until the end myself to see what finally happened with the book and Mr. Spiderwick but even I noticed the over use of close ups on the gory monsters left me wincing. The rating should have been like they do for the video games Everyone 10 and over. I wished I would have read this review before spending the money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kim Wade, age 42
Negative—I stopped watching this movie mostly because I found it downright boring. It's really not a movie for adults due to the a lot of childish themes and at the same time not really made for kids due to the violent nature and many other things. There is an occult themes spread throughout the movie which is obviously not good for any age.

As others mentioned there was swearing done by the child, a boy who acts disrespectfully to his mother in the movie and she lets him get away with it and lots of violence which I think would be too scary for a child under 7 to watch. I hope parents will watch this movie before letting their children see it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Christina, age 25
Negative—I did not want to have my son, age 5, seeing this movie without my wife and I seeing it first. My parents, who are not believers agreed at first, but then 4 months later, while they were watching him and allowing us to get out of the house for a bit pulled it out and told him that he would love it because it is so imaginative. We did not know of this for a few days, but we knew something was strange when we returned. He did not come to me, but clung to my wife. He was cautious of me and always called to my wife when he was left alone with me, as if he was waiting for me to do something. He then asked when he, his brother and my wife were going to move out of the house as he thought that I was going to live somewhere else. This was news to us. We found out that he had watched this movie, and we decided that we needed to see it to find out what came from the movie. We were both extremely nauseated through most of the movie. And felt sick in our spirits watching it, but knew we had to, so that we could understand what he was seeing.

After watching this we understood it all too well. We explained to him. It took about 4 weeks to get him to trust me again enough to give me a hug. This was quite distressing. If you have any questions as to whether or not this holds up to a Christian world view, it does not! I have been on both sides and as another has already mentioned, “Harry Potter” is safer. I'm not recommending it, but it is safer than Spyderwick. Please do not endorse this movie if you are a follower of Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Todd, age 33 (USA)
Movie Critics
…Though it never quite achieves greatness, it comes pretty close; it’s a fast-paced and breathtaking adventure thriller, old-fashioned and big-hearted in all the best ways.…
—Katey Rich, Film Journal International
…The typical magical, fantasy-type outlook pervades “The Spiderwick Chronicles”’ dark worldview. Creatures, spells and potions, and flying and time travel abound. But there are also some interesting spiritual parallels that are worthy of discussion.…
—Lisa Rice, Crosswalk
…a brisk, fine-tuned adaptation… engaging, gratifyingly non-epic adventure… With dad conspicuously absent, the script inevitably drifts into angry-kid/misunderstood-single-parent territory, which, though well played, feels like a distraction from the material rather than a dramatic extension of it.…
—Justin Chang, Variety
…Imagination stirring and action packed… fast-paced… But beware; it is a bit frightening for very little ones.
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…a small-scale fantasy …The movie's performances, special effects, and genuine enchantment add up to a blue-chip experience…
—Violet Glaze, Baltimore City Paper
Comments from young people
Positive—I went to see this movie with my mom. I thought it was an excellent movie!!!… The graphics were amazing. My mom and I were thrilled. When the movie was over we wanted to sit through it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Braden, age 11
Positive—Watching this movie was really great. I went with my grandmother and grandfather, my sister and my cousin. My sister is 10 and my cousin 12. We all had a really good time. True, the movie was not at all like the book. The only things that were the same were the characters and the plot. But this movie is jumpy and I caution anyone under 9 to be careful. The ogre, goblins, and the troll were all very carefully animated, and could scare some young children. All in all, this was a great movie with nothing truly offensive in it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jessy, age 13
Positive—The movie was good, but it had a little offensive language. For instance, it misuses the Lord's name from time to time. I wouldn't recommend it for kids younger than 8. It was good, though I did have to hide my eyes sometimes. Overall, it is a good movie for older children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Catherine, age 10
Positive—I went to see this movie with a group of my friends. I wasn't expecting much, so I wasn't disappointed. This movie is ok No more, no less. The actors are great, the music is pretty. The plot is a bit …weak. Some might be bothered at the “magic” involved, and the main character tells his mother he hates her. (he later apologizes.) Also, this movie got its PG rating for a reason. It is rather frightening at times, and the characters are chased by large CGI monsters. While this might not bother older children, who know the monsters are fake, I wouldn't take any child that gets frightened easily. Overall, I would say this is a good rainy-day activity for those 10 and up, just don't get your hopes up too high. (for those of you that are fans of the book, it doesn't add anything that wasn't already there, but it does condense it quite a bit to fit it into the hour-and-a-half time slot. Many of the monsters in the book are cut out of the movie.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kate, age 13
Positive—Oh my chocolate muffins! I loved this movie, I have to be honest. I wasn't viewing it (judging by the advertisements) to be a particularly wonderful flick, but it was suspenseful, well thought out and creative. It really followed the books. It showed the children as a normal arguing, imperfect family, they come together to protect each other (and the world) and, in the end, an unexpected hero saves the day! The versions of the goblins and such were a little much for me, not as realistic as Lord of the Rings, but it was a wonderful film. In fact, my family owns it and buying a movie is not something we usually do. I suggest this movie be watched by ages (at least) 7 and up. It's targeted, however, towards elementary audiences: 6th, 5th graders. Though I caution: one use of the word he** and a few “oh my god's,” but that it is. All appropriate! NO SEXUAL REFERENCES WHAT SO EVER!! Isn't THAT something? A movie with out it? Unbelievably TRUE. It was fantastic. Totally worth driving down to BlockBuster for!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emily, age 13
Neutral—I have seen this film, and I am disappointed in some of the creatures, because they are a little frightening, but I think this is an ok movie. The fact is, is that it can be a little demonic and gross. But I think that this movie should have been better, but it is what it is. I warn, do not watch this movie with young children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Prairie, age 12
Positive—A pretty good movie overall. A few elements were strange and dark, but, otherwise, it was wonderful. Wonderful acting!! I would recommend this for older children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Anna Rose, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie, one of my favorites. In my opinion, it was true to the books, and the few things that they changed made the story even better. The actors were great, the creatures looked real, I loved this! There are frightening creatures and fight scenes that might scare younger children. Initially, I saw this movie without my sister because she would have been frightened by it. Now that she is older, we saw it together, and she very much enjoyed it. My Mom also enjoyed this movie, saying that it was mostly clean but better for older children.

There is a bit of magic but none of it is offensive in any way. The characters have some issues. “Oh my God” is a constantly used phrase. The children's father is with another woman, which is offensive, while, in the books, the parents were legally divorced, which is a little better. Jared, at one point, tells his mother that "I hate you and I don't want to live with you." However, later, when he thinks that he might never see her again, he says "I can't believe the last thing that I said to my mother was I hate you." Later, he shows his mother that he loves her alot, even if he doesn't act like it.

Overall, great movie, but a few moral issues. I would evaluate whether or not your children are old enough and mature enough in Christ to enjoy this film without being frightened or being desenseitized to the taking of God's name in vain.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Laura, age 12 (USA)