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Running Time:
1 hour, 37 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A visually delightful adventure fantasy with spectacular special effects and an effectively scary story, that's bound to entertain all audiences.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Closed Caption; Disc 1: Spiderwick: It's All Time1; It's a Spiderwick World Aruthur Spiderwick's field guide.
Disc 2: Spiderwick: meet the clan; Making Spiderwick the magic of Spiderwick!; A Final Word of Advice...; Deleted scenes

Freddie Highmore ... Jared Grace & Simon Grace
Mary-Louise Parker ... Helen Grace
Sarah Bolger ... Mallory Grace
Andrew McCarthy ... Richard
Joan Plowright ... Aunt Lucinda
David Strathairn ... Arthur Spiderwick
Nick Nolte ... Mulgarath
Martin Short ... Thimbletack
Seth Rogen ... Hogsqueal

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The film opens with Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn "Good Night and Good Luck") putting his seal on the cover of his newly completed “Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.” 80 years later the Grace family leaves New York and moves into the secluded old house of their great-uncle who has mysteriously disappeared. The family includes, mom (Mary-Louise Parker "Fried Green Tomatoes"), the twins Jared and Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore "Neverland") and their teenage sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger "In America"). The family moved there because of the parents’ impending divorce. Jared has been hit especially hard by his father’s leaving, and he's constantly acting out whenever he's not snooping around the mysterious old house. It doesn’t take him long to discover Spiderwick’s attic, stuffed with creepy crawlies and there he finds the very large, very ominous-looking book.

It is, of course, his great uncle Spiderwick's "Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You." Jared ignores the warning on the book not to open it, which immediately brings out the house “brownie” Thimbletack, an elfish little imp voiced by Martin Short. Thimbletack explains that opening the book has reawakened the goblins who live in the forest, and their master Mulgrath will stop at nothing to get his hands on the book's powerful secrets.

A circle of protection erected around the house by Spiderwick keeps the family safe inside, but, when Mulgrath gets his hands on a few pages of the book, it’s a race against time before the circle is broken and the family must fight for their lives against the forces of evil, particularly Mulgrath, the ferocious ogre who has the power to change himself into a snake, a bird, even into the boys' father.

Jared, never giving up on getting his dad back home and away from the woman he has moved in with, now has the task of preventing the ogre from getting the book, because that would mean death for everyone in the mansion and who-knows-what-else. In typical Harry-Potter style, Jared, Simon, and Mallory go on a hunt for Spiderwick’s daughter, Lucinda (Joan Plowright "Enchanted April"), who was unfairly locked in a mental institution years ago, after her father’s disappearance. They also attempt to find Spiderwick himself in order to discover how to keep the book protected forever.

This visually delightful film, directed by Mark Waters ("Mean Girls") takes us on one magical adventure after another, from battling goblins, riding a griffin, getting swept up by fairies, and it's all mixed with moments of typical sibling rivalry. Not only is it fast-paced and exciting, but it’s not afraid to be scary as well. Adventures are only fun when the stakes are high, and while there may be a bit too much tension for younger children, audiences who love The Harry Potter movies will be mightily entertained.

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