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The Spiderwick Chronicles(2008)

A Dude's Review
Wow, I did not expect it to be nearly this cool


Wow, another kid's movie surprise. Though this movie is targeted for children, I was amazed at how enjoyable it was for anyone who enjoys fantasy. With relatively credible child actors and a fun story fueled with delightful special effects, the movie is very entertaining. Unlike 'The Chronicles of Narnia' which has subtle controversial messages and a whole lot of boring, 'Spiderwick Chronciles' delivers the fun. From sybling banter to goblin chases, the story holds its own as a children's 'Lord of the Rings'. If you need a movie for your children to watch that is wholesome escapism and won’t destroy their imaginations, this comes strongly recommended.


Though I would like to say that I watch movies unbiased, in all honesty, I definitely go into children’s movies with nothing but skepticism. This makes it harder for them to climb the mountain of my criticism and get a rating worthy of being watched. Though harsh, this system is sure to be more honest and less forgiving. Afterall, just because a movie is for kids doesn’t mean it has the right to suck and still be praised. Furthermore, this system assures you that the rating you see for 'Spiderwick Chronicles' is not given lightly. 'Spiderwick Chronicles' manages to climb my mountain of doubt and then build a little fort at the top.

The plot

A mother moves herself and her three children to the boonies after a divorce with her husband. Having come from a city (New York) the kids resent their new situation, but the also understand that it isn’t entirely mother’s fault. However, their views of the situation change when Jared (Freddie Highmore) uncovers a secret book that details a miraculous world coinciding with ours. Unfortunatly, along with the mansion in which the children live, a secret was also inherited. Now the three children must protect themselves from and convince their mother that the most dangerous creature of the fantasy world exists, the troll Malgrath.

Reasons to see it

The imagination of the wole story is quite wonderful. Though I have likened the story to the 'Lord of the Rings', it is no where near as in depth; but the visuals and adventures are along the same vein (except toned down for children). It is also one of those stories that makes fun explinations for mischiefs that children are blamed for, like missing toys and bed wetting.

The visuals are great and add a fun dimension to a kid's film. Again the imagination is great, and the special effects really exemplify the world. If nothing else, this movie will have kids using their imaginations again instead of watching the terrible Saturday morning line up that constitutes cartoons these days.

The Negatives

It’s a kid's movie. And as such it has the faults of every kid's movie: some bad acting, some silly plot twists, and a contrived happy ending (not the entire ending, just a portion of it). I think the worst part about kid's movies is that the senior actors are usually put into silly situations that call for them to act really stupid. These situations just make you feel awkward for them.

But let’s put those expected downfalls aside. The only real problem I find with the movie is that not enough of the imaginative world is shown. They do show an extensive amount (much more than 'The Bridge to Terabithia') but by a quick look at the Field Guide, we can see that there is so much more that could have been shown. Especially since the visuals were great in this movie. I’m positive that more fantastical visuals would have contributed to the film. Perhaps there will be a sequel (I truly hope so).

In summary…

...This is a great kid's movie and I strongly recommend it to all who enjoy children's adventure and juvenile fantasy.
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