I went to see The Spiderwick Chronicles last night after a long day of shopping with a friend. I read a couple of reviews on various blogs where the blogger did not like the movie at all, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I really wanted to see this movie, I normally do not enjoy book adaptations very much. I was pleasantly surprised.
I read the books about four years ago, and while I loved the illustrations in the books and the general idea of the story, the books themselves did nothing for me. The narration wasn’t enjoyable and there was no real character development. If I had been in the age group these books were aimed at, I would’ve loved them, but as an older reader reading them, they just didn’t do anything for me. Since then, I’ve gone back and looked at the illustrations (because they are beautiful) but haven’t reread them.
The first time I saw the trailer, I got so excited to see this movie. As I said, I loved the general idea of the story, so this seemed like it would work for me better as a movie than the books did. And in the end, I was right – I loved the movie. This is one of the very few times you’re ever going to read me saying this – I did enjoy the movie so much more than the books.
It did have its flaws, the main one being that Freddie Highmore did not have a great American accent. But then again, he’s still young, still learning, so he did well considering all that. It also took liberties with the book. What book adaptation doesn’t? And considering the fact that they had to put five (albeit short) books into an hour and a half movie, it’s not surprising.
But it had a lot of good points too. It was very funny. It could have been the fact that we were surrounded by a bunch of kids and their amusement was infectious, but there were other times when my friend and I were the only two in the theatre laughing. Mary-Louise Parker was wonderful as always, and Sarah Bolger was adorable. The fairies in the movie – well, they ran anywhere from being cute and lovely and gorgeous to slightly frightening. They looked so real most of the time that it was, at times, hard to remember that they weren’t real.
This was definitely one of the most enjoyable movies that I’ve seen in theatres in a while, and I will definitely be buying it as soon as it comes out on DVD.