PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements.
Kids/Family, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation
Feb. 14, 2007
Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn
Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies
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The Spiderwick Chronicles
-The Spiderwick Chronicles follows Christian author J.R.R. Tolkein into the land of faerie in a family movie filled with lots of action. Though the movie’s worldview is somewhat mixed, it ultimately seems to take a Christian attitude to fairyland creatures such as goblins, hobgoblins, fairies, and sprites.
In the story, which is based on the first five little Spiderwick books written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Helen Grace moves her three children, Jared, Simon and Mallory, into the former home of their great aunt Lucinda. Jared begins to notice unusual happenings in the old house and discovers a strange book written by Lucinda’s long-missing father, Arthur Spiderwick. Ignoring the warnings of Thimbletack, a small enchanted creature ordered to protect the book, Jared begins reading it. This unleashes a magical world surrounding the house, including a group of evil goblins led by the wicked ogre Mulgarath. Mulgarath can transform himself into a man or a snake. He wants the knowledge contained in Arthur Spiderwick’s book to rule the world through evil magic. Jared must convince his family to help him stop Mulgarath from getting the book, but that’s only the first of the obstacles facing him.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is exciting family fun for children over age 10. The story moves along at a brisk pace with plenty of thrills for younger moviegoers. Though the magical worldview is somewhat mixed, the basic attitude turns out to be morally uplifting and biblical. The movie ends up affirming family and warning people about the dangers of opening themselves up to occult forces. Thus, when Jared carelessly looks into the occult secrets of the Spiderwick book, it makes his family vulnerable to deadly consequences from the unseen occult world. By sticking together, Jared and his family ward off the evil magical forces. There is also a family reunion at the end, with, however, some bittersweet lessons about the consequences of becoming obsessed with discovering secret occult knowledge. That said, Movieguide® advises caution for older pre-teens because of the movie’s magical elements, some scary violence, and brief foul language.
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