Flight of fancy for the hols
March 25, 2008
As the Easter school holidays loom, parents everywhere will be wondering how to amuse their little ones with a trip to the cinema.
If so, why not bypass the predictable and slightly weird Horton Hears a Who and go straight for the much superior Spiderwick Chronicles.
This impressive fantasy offering from director Mark Waters who manages to get dazzling performances from his actors, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star Freddie Highmoor who plays twins Jared and Simon.
Having moved to the dilapidated Spiderwick Mansions with his mum and older sister, Jared and Simon stumble on a book in the attic called Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You, a study apparently written by their great-great-uncle.
Opening the book also creates a passage to a world of goblins, fairies and sprites surrounding the old mansion, which can only be seen through an enchanted ‘seeing stone’ or by the power of a hobgoblin’s spittle.
A friendly hobgoblin called Hogsqueal allows Jared to see into this fantasy land by, ahem, gobbing in his eye.
There he finds a shape-shifting ogre called Mulgarath is looking for the book and will stop at nothing to get it.
This spurs Jared to join forces with Simon and sister Mallory to repel the invaders. They are helped by Hogsqueal and the house’s resident guide, a creature called Thimbletack.
Spiderwick Chronicles is that rare thing – a wondrous, rich fantasy feast that still manages to keep the viewer rooted firmly in reality.
Computer graphics do a marvellous job including an amazing flight on a griffin and a scene where an exploding oven and copious amounts of tomato sauce feature highly.
The only drawback for those with younger children is that despite the PG rating some of the content may be a tad too graphic and upsetting for little – or more sensitive – ones.