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4.4 out of 5 stars137
4.4 out of 5 stars
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2008
The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of those films that ticks all the right boxes for a traditional family adventure movie. It tells the story of a family who relocate to a spooky mansion in the middle of nowhere (as you do), then start experiencing very strange goings on both within the house and outside it. Things start to go weird when one of the sons finds an old book written by their great Uncle, who mysteriously disappeared many years ago, and is the former owner of the mansion. The book documents the existence of fairies, goblins, ogres and many other mythical creatures, explaining that they are completely invisible to humans and only make themselves visible when they want to. But as soon as this book is found, suddenly these mythical creatures start waging a mini-war against the family, desperately trying to steal the book from them. Fortunately not all the creatures are malevolent and one, a little goblin type creature called Thimbletack the Brownie, helps them in their quest to stop the book falling into evil hands.

The story is very simple and leaves you in no doubt as to who are the bad guys and who are the good guys, there's no shades of grey. The fact that this good vs. evil battle is not on a grand scale and is instead confined just to the family house and the surrounding area gives a more earthly and believable feel to it. As the family try and think of ways to outwit the creatures, they discover more and more about this magical world they have discovered. Just as significantly, they also start to piece together the strange circumstances surrounding their Uncle's disappearance, and start to make sense of this whole bizarre situation.

The special effects are excellent with all the weird and wonderful creatures superbly rendered in CGI. The effects, however, are never over the top and intrusive, letting the storyline take the lead. As well as the genuine sense of wonder that this film creates, there's also an engaging subplot involving the family's own inner turmoil resulting from the Father's separation from the Mother. Ironically, the discovery of this mythical world unites the family and helps them confront and overcome their own emotional problems. So all in all, this film is a very well made family adventure that has something to offer both kids and adults.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
I took my 12 year old daughter to see this at the cinema recently and we both really enjoyed it.

It centres on a mother and her three children who relocate from New York to their great aunt's house in a wood (far far away) following the marriage break-up. Family issues are soon forgotten when the inquisitve Jared discovers Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the enchanted woods and it's fabulous inhabitants - fairies, trolls, goblins and of course the evil ogre Mulgarth. He will stop at nothing to get hold of Spiderwick's writings and the knowledge and power it would give him. Will Mulgarth and his goblin (look more like toads to me) army break the magic ring around the house to get at the family and the Field Guide ...??

This is a 21st century tale, not Disney schmaltzy, pretty original and generally good fun for the whole family, though I think the PG rating is pretty fair as young kids could get scared. It has some real laugh out loud moments, good characters (the Shrek-like pig grates a bit, but he has his moment at the end) flawless CGI and a well paced story to keep everyone entertained.

It's not as epic as say the Chronicles of Narnia or the Golden Compass, but this is not a bad thing as they can be a bit "worthy" and heavy. This is more fun and worked for us.

Happy endings all round and four stars from us, well deserved
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2009
Yes, I'm actually 59, but I tend to forget while watching movies like this one. I love it! Quite scary while it lasts, but with a happy ending. Just like fairytales should be. And very good actors! Freddie Highmore especially, but all of them are.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 June 2009
I bought this for 2.98 but had no idea what it was about having not read the books. I guessed it was a fantasy from the cover.

My wife and I watched it prior to showing it to our children.

Within 10 seconds I knew it was unsuitable for a 4 yr old and withina minute I knew it was unsuitable for our 6 yr old. I would guess 8+ is what it is aimed at.

Having said that my wife and I loved it and were gripped throughout. It is fast moving at quite short....and I was certainly left wanting more. Shame they condensed the books into 1 because I could easily have sat through a sequel.

All in all a great adventure where you can be imersed in a world with interesting concepts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2011
I adore this film. Upon seeing the 'nickelodeon' branding, I was expecting this to be a 'kids' film - but it's not. As a fan of fantasy films in general, this one ranked really highly with me (only a bit behind the Labyrinth, one of the best fantasies of all time). The monsters look great, the storyline is really really well paced, and characters like thimbletack you really grow to love.

A fantastically fun, action packed, and ultimately heartwarming film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
'Helen Grace' (Mary Louise Parker) and her 3 children, Twins, 'Jared'('Freddie Highmore' who also plays 'Simon') and sister 'Mallory' (Sarah Bolger) move into an old house where their reletives 'The Spiderwick's' had lived years before.
the house holds many secrets including a room not seen for '80' years.
The children of course have a need to explore their new surroundings, strange noises are heard, which add to the mystery of the house.
In the room that hadn't been seen for so long until now is a chest, by coincidence the key found a little by 'Jared' earlier opens it.
in the chest a book is found, which had been written by 'Arthur Spiderwick'
The book is full of 'spells' and secrets of mysterious creatures, many of which are desperate to obtain the book to learn of the powers described within.
However because of a circle of 'toadstools' laid in a circle around the house by 'Arthur Spiderwick' so many years before ,prevents
the creatures from entering the house, the quest to do so has remained in place all these years.
Things start happening which makes 'Jared's' brother and sister begin to believe the tales he was telling them.
The adventure begins, the children have to battle the creatures whilst trying to unlock the secrets of the book which will destroy the 'evil creatures' saving the life of themselves and the friendly beings, but only if the book is protected.
This is an exciting family-friendly adventure filled with magical 'Computer Generated. Imagery, should appeal to both the young and the not so young alike.
IT's The usual blend of Good versus Evil.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2009
very pleasantly suprised with this film it is fast paced great special effects , its suspenseful , emotional and spooky for young uns in parts and ain't overly long which is ideal .
if your kids liked narnia ,jumanji ,gooneys or the never ending story then they will love this one and its a steal at the price , this film would make a super birthday present and will be muched used guaranteed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2015
Once upon a time, 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 faeries and other creatures. Unable to explain the strange disappearances and accidents that seem to be happening on a daily basis, the family blames it all on Jared. When he, Simon and Mallory investigate what's really going on, they uncover the fantastic truth of the Spiderwick estate and of the creatures that inhabit it.

Well directed with an interesting story that keeps you watching. Good acting all round, the CGI effects were well implemented too, with various characters and creatures popping up here and there to provide comedic relief and action pivitol plot development. The film was well paced and doesn't feel its been rushed. The other excellent transformations are when Mulgarath shape shifts at different points in the movie. The fight scene between the sister and the unseen goblins is pretty cool.

Overall a good solid fantasy/adventure/action film for all. Would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy films. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'The Spiderwick Chronicles' is a pretty decent family fantasy adventure film that was actually a lot better than I expected it to be. It follows a family who move to the country and find a book that shows how to find various supernatural and fantasy creatures. They have to stop the book falling into the wrong hands and here the adventure begins. The child actors are quite good and there's none of that precocious cutsey-ness that can drive you mad in other films. The effects are great and the storyline is pretty good as well. This film is quite short at just under 90 minutes and I didn't check my watch once as I became completely captivated by the story. If you like fantasy films then this should be right up your street and makes for a great afternoons viewing when you want a bit of fun and adventure. A solid four star film and well worth a try.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2010
I did go into this with a completely open-mind and at age 62 I promise I enjoy these type of films now as much as the youngsters do.Whether I should or not I don't know but I think they are made for ALL ages but unfortunately and for reasons unknown THIS particular story just didn't "grab-hold" of me like the many others I have watched and I hope will continue to watch. The story just seemed to lack that certain "ooomph" in the story itself I'm afraid. I like David Strathairn though I have to say I wish he had been on screen a little longer, Freddie Highmore was great as Jared and Simon and Sarah Bolger and Mary Louise Parker supplied the eye candy.But it never really did anything for mepersonally and that's what reviews are, personal!
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