CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

LENT DAY 38 "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is underrated

In the past four years, movies created for the youth
culture have been well produced and well directed.
Sadly the quality of these motion pictures has been so
good, that there is a sense of diminishing returns
for these fine films. Such is the case for **The
Spiderwick Chronicles,** a fun motion pictures playing
on local screens and The Fort Lauderdale Museum of
Discovery IMAX theater.

The Grace family is a broken family. Richard (Andrew
McCarthy) is leaving his wife, Helen(Mary Louise
Parker) and three children. Financially broke, Helen
moves her daughter Mallory (Sarah Bolger), twin sons,
Jared and Simon (Freddie Highmore in duel roles) to a
New England home owned by a senile aunt, Lucinda
Spiderwick (Joan Plowright). Aunt Lucinda has been
institutionalized because she claimed that her
father's disappearance was caused by pixie dust.

As the children adapt to their new world, Mallory
accuses Jared of stealing her items. There are
strange creaks heard from the house walls. One night,
Jared finds a secret dumbwaiter and discovers a book
with a warning that says; "DO NOT READ THIS BOOK." Of
course, Jared reads the book and is introduced to a
hidden world dominated by trolls, goblins and the evil
Mulgarath (Nick Nolte).

As the family outcast, Jared finds allies with a
ferret like creature, Thimbletack (voiced by Martin
Short) and frees Hogsqueal (voiced by Seth Rogen) from
a fate worst than death. In the end, Jared new found
friends help defeat Mulgarath's evil intentions.
Jared also helps find Arthur Spiderwick (David
Strathairn) and reunites the father and the daughter.

At 97 minutes, **The Spiderwick Chronicles** is just
long enough for a Saturday afternoon screening.. The
visuals are easy to follow and the action does not
suffer from attention deficit disorder editing. **The
Spiderwick Chronicles** is a roller coaster ride
featuring fears, cheers and laughs.

Like **Time Bandits,** **E.T. the Extraterrestrial**
and more recently, **Pan's Labyrinth,** **The
Spiderwick Chronicles** frames itself with serious
family issues. The fantasy elements elaborate the
protagonist's pained feelings. It is through the
fantasy world that the hero learns to cope with

Or does it? There is a shocking confrontation between
Jared and his father that crosses the line between
fantasy and reality. **The Spiderwick Chronicles** is
rated PG, but I wonder the nightmares this scene will
cause children under 13. Nonetheless, **The
Spiderwick Chronicles** is a thought provoking family
movie that is told in an entertaining matter on the
big screen.

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