Friday, February 8, 2008

Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

I'm going to be honest with you, I was not looking forward to this film. That said, I just want to clarify that I really was not looking forward to this film. Don't get me wrong, I love young adult fiction as much as the next chap, but many film studios are ruining beloved books in the name of entertainment. I could rant on about the need for films to entertain as well as stay faithful to the books, but they are two very different mediums and they both have their strengths and ahem...weaknesses. (One example of this was 2007's The Seeker:The Dark is Rising. To take such a thrilling book and turn it into...bollocks; just as the WGA, we movie watchers need to go on strike).
What were we talking about, oh right, The Spiderwick Chronicles. These books were written almost five years ago and so it is interesting to see which writers borrowed from who. As vast as a genre like fantasy is, there aren't many books that can build upon the world of phantasm. I'm glad I could find something different here in this film. On a side note, I wonder if Paramount thought to make this into a trilogy or a series?
The film picks as good a spot to begin as any with a quick overview of why the film is called what it is. I'm telling you, I did like the pacing of the film, quick and constant. We then are introduced to our mother character
moving into an old house with her three kids, twins Simon and Jared and daughter Mallory. All you need to know about the characters will be known within the first four minutes of dialogue, how convenient. Again, the film doesn't waste any time breaking us into the story.
The cinematics and CG elements were fairly well done and I especially enjoyed the two whole minute chase scene featuring the Troll (seriously though, one of the coolest monsters and he's in 1/39th of the film). There was something about this that reminded me of Jumanji, which is a good thing. Martin Short and Nick Notlte are also great additions to the voice work. Hogsqueal, a hobgoblin who helps the protagonists is voiced by Knocked Up's Seth Rogen. David Strathairn plays a pivotal character but brings nothing exciting unlike The Bourne Ultimatum; I think I would've enjoyed someone like Gary Oldman or even Hugo Weaving much more in the role of Arthur Spiderwick though their other fantasy film work might not make them viable choices. Then we have more story and more CG and finally we arrive at the ending which resembled more than anything else the Megatron chase at the end of Transformers with the Nick Nolte Ogre chasing Simon around the roof of his home. When you watch it, tell me it doesn't remind of you of Transformers? I almost said it out loud.
Overall, it's a fun film to watch if your little cousins come into town, but go ahead and wait until HBO runs it then feel free to curl up with your significant other and ogle at the nice graphics.

Is it just me Seth Rogen's laugh contagious?

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