Spiderwick Chronicles
Thanks to LOTR and Mr. Potter we consumers are being bombarded with the fantasy genre. Film after film we are slowly becoming numbed to that beautiful and creative world of fantasy.

Borrowing from Spielberg's classic family unit, our little broken family is fatherless and feuding. The end of her rope mom is doing everything she can to strike a new match. The older sister is helping where she can just to become a mature help but her younger twin brothers keep pulling her back down. The little limping little family takes a life changing move into the country after their crazed Aunt wills her abandoned house on the way to the loony house.

Jared is taking things the hardest and not taking it well when he is blamed for all the weird things happening that begin happening within the house. Mallory wakes up in the middle of the night with her hair tied to her bed's head board. Things go missing. Something is crawling through the walls and its definitely not a red squirrel.

Jared investigates discovering a secret room with a secret book. Despite it's warning Jared breaks the seal and opens a whole new world before his eyes. Thimbletack the creature within their walls warns him of the things to come and the importance of the book never finding its way into the hands of the evil ogre Mulgarath.

I'll hit on the things I like before the pumpkin smashing begins.

I liked the mouse like little man Thimbletack. His desperate nature and urgent voice were amusing if not even cute. If made angry the little booger goes Hulk and can only be appeased by feeding it bottles of honey.

I like the way Mulgarath looks in ogre form. Nasty horns, lion like hair, and nasty yellow eyes. His snake form almost provoked emotion and his human form had some pretty intense moments especially nearing the end. My favorite part of the whole movie is probably how Mulgarath dies. I love it when a movie telegraphs a method of destruction with subtle obvious storytelling then slamming it home making perfect sense. This was probably the coolest part of the movie.

The acting was horrible. I couldn't believe how bad Freddie Highmore was. There is no doubt he will follow the same path as Haley Joel forever being remembered for their one amazing film.

My biggest disappointment hits home with Mary Louise Parker. I loved her in The Client, Red Dragon, and the new Jesse James. In Spiderwick she fumbles through her emotions as if chasing marbles across a tile floor.

Even Oscar contender David Strathaim can't seem to find that natural flow of emotion. He was probably one of the worst actors in the film reading his lines as if they were scrolling through a teleprompter.

Nick Nolte, Martin Short, and Seth Rogen hide behind there CG masks virtually unnoticed. After films like Shrek or Ice Age I'll admit that this is a step in the right direction. An animated character's actor should become invisible behind the animation especially since the point of acting is to become someone else and not just an Eddie Murphy donkey or Queen Latifa elephant.

The movie ultimately offers nothing of true flavor or excitement. There's just enough to keep you in your seat for the sake of the kid you should be watching it with. The demise of the evil ogre is cool and a few likable creatures but overall the true vehicle of the film runs out of gas within the first mile.

Spiderwick is nothing more than a barnacle film feeding off the successful sharks of the genre.
Reviewed by: shea
5 Comment(s)
Andy said...
flat and boring with a predictable story and terrible cg
Well, there's always the book(s)... though I heard they changed quite a bit from the first book (assuming it's based on the first book of the series).

By the way, which amazing film of Freddie Highmore's were you talking about?
Squib said...
Way to break out the chainsaw, Shea!! Your review was analogous to the Mortal Kombat/Sub Zero/spine removing fatality of my childhood. Keep up the good work!
Shea said...
I thought he was great in Finding Neverland
Nick said...
Shea: Oh yeah, great movie. But he was also really good in August Rush, as well.