DVD Movie Review: THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (2-Disc Special Edition)

The Spiderwick Chronicles

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THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES has been released as a 2-Disc Special Edition DVD and in Blue-ray DVD format (I really have to get a Playstation 3!). I was able to take a look at the special edition and I will start by saying that the package is pretty cool, but of course that’s not the most important thing about the DVD. Let’s take a closer look.

Director: Mark Waters

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn, Seth Rogen, and Martin Short

Release Date: June 24 2008

Synopsis: From the beloved best-selling series of books comes “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” a fantasy adventure for the child in all of us. Peculiar things start to happen the moment the Grace family (Jared, his twin brother Simon, sister Mallory and their mom) leave New York and move into the secluded old house owned by their great, great uncle Arthur Spiderwick. Unable to explain the strange disappearances and accidents that seem to be happening on a daily basis, the family blames Jared. When he, Simon and Mallory investigate what’s really going on, they uncover the fantastic truth of the Spiderwick estate and of the creatures that inhabit it.

The Story: I had actually read the books prior to seeing the movie, but since it had been a while, I didn’t remember every detail, which is a good thing I guess. What I can tell you is that the movie stays pretty close to the books. I really enjoyed the way it was translated into a movie, I think they did a really good job in keeping the original tone of the books. As for the story itself, I am personally a big fan of fantasy novels, so this fit right up my alley. It is a family movie and although it is not the best story ever written, you will spend a nice time following Jared, Simon and Mallory in their crazy adventures full of incredible creatures.

The Cast: Freddie Highmore is great as usual, but this time he actually plays two characters, Jared and his twin brother Simon. What I really liked about his performance is that he put effort into distinguishing Jared from Simon as characters. Even though they both look the same, they are not the same person and I think Freddie Highmore really captured that. Sarah Bolger plays Mallory (you might remember her from In America, which I absolutely loved) and she fits right in with Freddie Highmore. Mary-Louise Parker plays the mother, Helen Grace, but to be honest I don’t remember her being a big part of the film or even being in it that much. The movie is really about Jared, Simon and Mallory. Andrew McCarthy also makes a brief appearance, but it’s really, really brief, so I don’t have much to say about that. As for David Strathairn, I thought he played Arthur Spiderwick perfectly. He had this small quirkiness that you would expect from someone who is at least a hundred years old. Finally, Joan Plowright plays Aunt Lucinda, Arthur’s daughter, and I think that she matched Arthur’s quirkiness perfectly. Overall, I think the cast worked great together.

DVD Extras: Since this is a 2-Disc Special Edition I guess it’s no surprise that the DVD contains tons of extra features.

They Include:

Disc 1:

Spiderwick: It’s All True! – Mark Waters tells you about the movie and how to survive in the Spiderwick world. Pretty fun for kids!

It’s A Spiderwick World – Featurette about how “The Spiderwick Chronicles” came to be.

Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide – Glossary of the creatures and artifacts of “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

Field Guide – In-Movie Mode – Learn more about “The Spiderwick Chronicles” while watching the movie.


Disc 2:

Spiderwick: Meet the Clan – Featurette about the cast. And I just want to say that they mention how brilliant Freddie Highmore is with playing two parts. And funny enough they even talk about Andrew McCarthy’s short appearance Warning: Do not watch this before watching the movie, because there are some spoilers.

Making Spiderwick – Featurette about how “The Spiderwick Chronicles” came alive.

The Magic of Spiderwick! – Featurette about the visual effects of the movie. This is really interesting since the movie relies on them so much.

A Final Word of Advice… – Mark Waters’ final message.

Deleted Scenes

Nikelodeon TV Spots

Theatrical Trailers

Overall: Overall, I think this is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy and the Special Edition DVD has plenty of features to keep you entertained.