The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Family / Fantasy
Paramount || PG - 101 minutes - $39.99 || June 24, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-06-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mark Waters
Writer(s): Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black (books); Karey Kirkpatrick and David Berenbaum and John Sayles (screenplay)
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louis Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, Seth Rogen (voice), Martin Short (voice), Ron Perlman (voice)


Theatrical Release Date: February 14, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Spiderwick: It's All True!
  • It's a Spiderwick World
  • Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide
  • Filed Guide: In-Movie Mode
  • Spiderwick: Meet the Clan!
  • Making Spiderwick!
  • The Magic of Spiderwick!
  • A Final Word of Advice!
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Nickelodeon TV Spots
  • Theatrical Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Better then The Golden Compass? No. But better then Narnia.

It seems every month there is a new fantasy movie that lands on my doorstep and each month I wonder if this will be better than the last. First it was The Golden Compass, which I really liked. Then came Chronicles of Narnia, which while good, not up to par with Compass, and then this monthís itís The Spiderwick Chronicles, which fits snugly in the middle of the two.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a film about a family that moves to New York to live in the house once lived in by their great uncle Arthur Spiderwick. The family consists of Jared (Freddie Highmore), his twin brother Simon (Highmore in a dual role), older sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) and their mother (Mary-Louise Parker). Once living in the old creepy house, Jared soon finds a book written by his great uncle and when opened, reveals a world right in his very backyard.

There are a lot of things I liked about the film. For one, the characters are in a real world that we can relate to. Too many times the story takes place in an alternate dimension or world and itís hard to really grasp whatís going on and get familiar with the settings. In Spiderwick I instantly felt at home and was able to enjoy the story more instead of wondering where itís suppose to take place and what time period.

The acting is on par with a family oriented film. While I hated Jared at first with his smug attitude, I slowly started to like him as the film progressed. I personally thought the characters of Jared and Simon were played by two different people until I researched the film more as they looked noticeably different and acted like polar opposites of each other. Unlike her role on Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker plays a very subdued single mother. It was very weird to go from Season 3 Mary-Louise Parker on Weeds sleeping with everyone to a single mother trying to keep her family together as best as she can.

Unfortunately the film suffers from Nickelodeon syndrome just a bit. If you were expecting red blood... think again. When the Goblins are killed they have green blood and while the human characters are sometimes hurt, they usually don't show any blood at all. Understandable since its a child's film, but even Narnia showed some extreme violence.

Not the spoil the film, but there is at one point an explosion that happens and creates a giant mess that just so happens to be the Nickelodeon colors... typical.

I'm typically not a fan of Nickelodeon movies (with the exception of Snow Day) but I was pleasantly surprised by Spiderwick. It delivered a great story under 2 hours and while it may not be a film for everyone, I fully enjoyed it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD unless noted.

Arthur Spiderwickís Field Guide - This feature lets you go through Spiderwickís guide and learn more on a dozen different creatures. Its presented like a storybook.

Field Guide : In the Movie Mode - A little java feature that lets you view the above Field guide while watching the movie. Other than that, its you're standard trivia track.

Itís All True! (7:04) - The Director gives us a brief introduction to the disc itself and a short background on how the novel was adapted into the film.

Meet the Clan (13:54) - A look at the cast of Spiderwick (the humans) done through interviews.

Making Spiderwick (20:52) - Mostly behind the scenes footage with short looks here and there at how the film was made.

Magic of Spiderwick (14:23) - Easily the best feature, a look at how all the creatures were designed.

Deleted Scenes (8:14) - A selection of four deleted scenes that really don't add much to the film.

Theatrical Trailers/ TV Spots (SD) - 2 Trailers and 9 TV Spots have been included.

A Commentary is sorely missed here. Other then the Field Guide Trivia Track there is only about an hourís worth of special features.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Spiderwick is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 on a 50GB Disc. The film has a very nice transfer with not a speck of grain to be found. Any scene with the Goblins or other creatures look spectacular but I did take issue with the black levels in certain scenes. Not a drop of DNR or Edge Enhancements that I can see.

Paramount serves up a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. I do have issue with this because I found the center channel volume to fluctuate a little too much for my liking. Characters often sounded a bit mute and I was constantly moving the volume up and down throughout the film. Other then that I don't have very many complaints.



.::OVERALL::.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a great film that can be viewed by the entire family. While I am personally getting a bit burned out by all these fantasy films, Spiderwick stands out by being a film taking place in our time and setting. Even though the disc has only an hourís worth of Special Features and acceptable Picture and Audio quality, itís still think a great title to add to your Blu-ray library.