DVD Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles (Two-Disc Special Edition)

OK, so what is a men’s entertainment magazine doing reviewing a PG-rated kid-friendly offering you ask? The answer is simple. There comes a time when a man has to set aside his desire for mass quantities of beer, a fresh supply of scantily clad women and a penchant for watching blood and guts spill all over the screen. Yes, there is such a time… and that is family time.

When it’s time for family movie night, you could do worse than The Spiderwick Chronicles. Actually, much worse. My family, including myself, found the DVD quite enjoyable. My wife enjoyed it more than my son did, in fact. Spiderwick is a neat little fantasy flick complete with goblins, ogres and a very small home version of the Incredible Hulk, wrapped up in a unique storyline.

The Spiderwick Chronicles, as based on the best-selling book collection, is the story of the Grace family and their quick discovery that the secluded old house they just moved into, and it’s surroundings, holds more than meets the eye. The children discover a hidden world that cannot be seen, but exists and operates entirely among humans. When Arthur Spiderwick’s field guide is discovered by one of the children, an evil ogre sets out to find the book, which is filled with the secrets of the magical world, and use it to take over the world. The story starts out a little slow without much magic, but once it gets rolling, the fantasy creatures fill the screen for the remainder of the film. There are quite a few quirky, friendly fantasy creatures that will keep all members of your family giggling throughout.

If you have read any of my past DVD or movie reviews, you’ll know that I am not a big fan of filmmakers going 100% CGI for characters and abandoning the age-old use of make-up. In Spiderwick it did happen, but I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, it worked extremely well within the movie, especially since none of the creatures are at the same scale as a human being. They were either much smaller or bigger. The computer animation looked great and believable within the context of the film. I wasn’t disappointed in any cheesy-looking characters, they were all dovetailed perfectly into the scenes and were believable as living, breathing creatures.

There are plenty of special features on the two-disc special edition to keep those interested busy. Included is a mini version of Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide which gives some details on specific creatures in the movie, and the opportunity to jump to a scene in which they are featured. Other extra fare includes deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and a “meet the cast” option.

So, if the wifey has been nagging you to spend some time with her and the family, suggest movie night and give The Spiderwick Chronicles a spin. The kids, as well as you and the wife, will love the charatcers as they will keep you laughing throughout the movie. The storyline is the classic “innocent kids roped into a mission to defeat evil” but it is delivered in a unique and entertaining way that will keep you awake… unlike other family-friendly fare. There is a reason the book series is a bestseller… the story works on all levels and all versions of media.