The Spiderwick Chronicles
**** out of five
Directed by Mark Waters
Starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker, and the voice of Nick Nolte
Go see it in IMAX while you still can. This is the kind of film you must see in a theater, and IMAX only enhances the experience. You can see the beautiful photography and animation of this movie in a way you never could on your TV, let alone a regular theater.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is full of C.G.I., which is well done overall. The goblins don't quite look convincing, but all the other magical creatures sure do. IMAX proves just how good the camera work in the movie is. Right at the start, there's a shot of title character Arthur Spiderwick's eye that will blow you away.
There's a lot more this movie did well than just shots and C.G.I. I haven't read the books it's based on, but they sure picked some good books to adapt to film. The script has a few questionable moments, but overall I enjoyed the dialogue, foreshadowing, action scenes, and asense of humor.
The acting is superb all around. If you've seen Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know Freddie Highmore can act. But in this film, he convincingly portrays twins with distinct personalities. He also pulls a Hugh Laurie on us, dropping his natural British accent for a dead-on American one.
All in all, The Spiderwick Chronicles will surely satisfy moviegoers of all ages, whether they've read the books or not. The movie has tight pacing, a snappy script, and great acting. Future fantasy filmmakers should take note.