Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
“In America” (2002, Christy), “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006, Sabina Pleasure)
“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
“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|
“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.
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 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.