The Spiderwick Chronicles

Release Date: February 15, 2008

Movie of the Day for Friday, August 24, 2007
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 These look like awfully girly books.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
28/31 John Seal Underamped fantasy lacking in thrills.
40/43 Kim Hollis Immature and childish. I can't imagine anyone over the age of nine watching this and thinking it's good in any way.
84/98 David Mumpower Harry Potter wannabe allegedly cost $90 million. Looks like a bad show on The CW (assuming that's not redundant)

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Andrew McCarthy! Martin Short! Nick Nolte! Wait, is it 1987 again?

No, this is just the '80s contingent of the eclectic cast of Mark Waters' The Spiderwick Chronicles. Joining these three amigos is Mary Louise Parker, fairy movie go-to boy Freddie Highmore, and Seth Rogen, who should be a household name by the time this comes out.

The film is based on a set of short books for young teens by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. Highmore plays a pair of twins, much like Lindsay Lohan did in The Parent Trap. I hope this doesn't mean Freddie is destined for a future of exiting limos without underwear. The twin brothers, Jared and Simon, and their older sister, Mallory (In America's talented Sarah Bolger), move into their uncle's creepy New England house, named (not so invitingly as far as I'm concerned) Spiderwick Estate. They discover the place is crawling with fairies, boggarts, goblins, and David Strathairn.

Mark Waters cemented a place in my heart by directing the delightful Mean Girls, then jack-hammered away some of the cement by also directing the notably less-delightful Just Like Heaven. Spiderwick's fairy story seems to be somewhat out of his normal range of work, though Heaven and his Freaky Friday remake both technically deal with magic. Waters got some great performances out of his Mean Girls cast, and Highmore and Bolger are probably two of the best child actors working now, so the acting side of things should be a slam dunk. It will be interesting to see how he handles the technical challenges of effects work and a much larger budget than he has had in the past, as Paramount and Nickelodeon make another attempt at a franchise after Lemony Snicket's disappointing run (earning only $118.6 million against a whopping $140 million budget). (Shane Jenkins/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Spiderwick Chronicles
Main Cast David Strathairn, Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger
Supporting Cast Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Martin Short, Joan Plowright, Izabella Miko, Andrew McCarthy
Director Mark Waters
Screenwriter John Sayles
Distributor Paramount
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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