The Spiderwick Chronicles

Two Freddie Highmores ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "August Rush") for the price of one, because he plays twins with totally different personalities. That can't be all bad. And once again, he proves he is a highly capable actor, along with being cute as a button. This time they don't play up "cute" but his intelligence shines through his eyes... and not a hint of a British accent!

This is a composite of live action and Computer Generated Imaging in which they are trying to gross out the ten-year-olds. There are generous globs of slime when necessary and properly hideous critters threatening the twin boys and their slightly older sister, played by Sarah Bolger ("Premonition" and "Tara Road") According to the eight- or nine-year- old girl who sat next to me, "They changed the books," and she wasn't overly thrilled to see the changes but her eyes were riveted to the screen every second of the movie. There were a lot of children in the audience so I'm sure this series is extremely popular.

You will see and hear many familiar faces and/or voices:
  • Mary-Louise Parker ("Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Weeds" on TV) is featured as the youngsters' over-stressed, soon-to-be- divorced mother.
  • Nick Nolte (most notorious is his LAPD drunk driving mug shot! ...although he has been working for decades) is the head monster.
  • Joan Plowright ("Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont" and "Tea With Mussolini") plays their great grand-aunt who has been declared insane and institutionalized most of her life because as a child, she saw goblins, fairies and elves.
  • David Strathairn ("The Bourne Ultimatum" and "Good Night and Good Luck") is the researcher who inadvertently puts all the critters into play.
  • Martin Short ("Three Fugitives" and "Jiminy Glick in Lala- wood") voices a house elf who speaks in rhymes.
  • Seth Rogan ("Superbad" and "Knocked Up") is the comic relief, "Hogsqueal."

This is a joint production with Nickelodeon as one of the principal producers, so you KNOW they understand what kids respond to. If you are feeling a little unsure of yourself, go with a child. You will be safe...