Grace & Goblins
Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) and her 3 children; Mallory (Sarah Bolger) and twins Jared and Simon (Freddy Highmore) move to the ancient Spiderwick Estate, a mansion in the middle of no where which Helen inherited from her mad aunt Lucinda (Joan Plowright). The twins don't want to be there and believe there father will show up and make things up with Helen. But they soon discover that the Spiderwick Estate is a place of mystery and secrets when things go missing with Jared getting blamed for all the trouble. But young Jared discovers the secrets that their long missing Uncle Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn) wrote in his journal involving the monsters which live around the house and who now seem to be readying themselves for a battle once they have got the book which Arthur wrote.
Maybe it's me but when it comes to family movies I like characters which get me on their side, which makes me want to like them right from the word go. Unfortunately with "The Spiderwick Chronicles" you don't get that as we meet the Grace family who arrive as the Spiderwick Estate late at night and immediately start to annoy with their moany, whiney attitude. Now that wouldn't be a problem if they turned out to be nice but they continue to be annoying and moany which does nothing for me other than alienate me.
Aside from that well there is no denying that "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is a nicely produced movie with great visuals, mostly enjoyable performances and a level of fantasy which is not juvenille but neither is it adult, the sort of thing which would work for teenagers rather than young children. In tone it is similar to the "Harry Potter" movies and shares some ideas but for me is not comparable. What I will say is that whilst a children's movie "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is at times dark and features battles between the good kids and the bad monsters which is not suitable for young children to watch on their own.
Now as to the acting, well the acting is okay but Freddie Highmore's accent just didn't do it for me and in truth annoyed me as much as the moany nature of the young characters. In fairness when Highmore made "The Spiderwick Chronicles" he was still young and learning and probably does a better job than I ever will but still it ended up distracting me.
What this all bois down to is that "The Spiderwick Chronicles" didn't do it for me and found it incredibly hard to get into due to the nature of the characters. In fairness it is made for a much younger audience than me but it is also a movie not suitable for young children to watch by themselves.