The Spiderwick Chronicles

After stumbling upon a book in the basement on their new home, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, become pulled into a world of faeries and goblins. This book, known as The Spiderwick Field Guide, was written by a man named Arthur Spiderwick, who was abducted by faeries. It tells them everything they need to know about how to kill goblins and call upon mythical birds for help. Now they must protect the book from these creatures and find Arthur Spiderwick to put an end to the mayhem.

There really isn’t much good to say about this noisy and frantic fantasy that lacks all but a single good actor. Lazy CGI effects bombard the screen, along with screaming faeries that are about as annoying as nails on a chalk board. It is as if they took the cheapest computer technology available, enhanced it ever so slightly, then decided to add some impaired voices into the mix. Nick Nolte, Martin Short, and Seth Rogen are some of the loud, unfamiliar voices that crowd the screen. It really irks me that these characters are so pesky, yet they are voiced by some rather talented people.

It’s an irritating fantasy that seems rushed and deserved a release to the rental shelves rather than to the silver screen with such poor CGI work. Freddy Highmore plays dual roles comfortably, but the supporting cast of live actors (including Mary-Louise Parker who has shown some serious acting skills in the Showtime series Weeds) were unconvincing and the CGI beasties are about as irritating as an itch you can’t reach.

It starts off with dark, atmospheric set pieces that look really good and quickly turns into a ridiculous story gorged with silly moments. The film’s intentions were to take the audience into a world of fantasy (where ridiculous is acceptable to some extent). Instead, the film goes beyond preposterous and ends up being completely far-fetched.

So we have one good actor, several sub-par actors, an overuse of undernourished CGI effects, and a line of uninteresting characters. It’s a putrid mess, a film that doesn’t have a clue as to what defines entertainment and ends up being obnoxious. It is sad that none of this is quality entertainment and all of it is a nuisance to eyes and ears.

The entire film was a waste of time I could’ve spent watching some sort of solid entertainment, and a waste of money the filmmakers could’ve spent making a better film. The bottom line is it was nothing more than a noisy monstrosity and a eulogy to poorly executed family flicks. 1.5/5 stars

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