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Spiderwick Chronicles: Too Scary for the Young Ones
This past week, I got a chance to watch the Spiderwick Chronicles. I'm a big fan of Fantasy Movies, so I try to see them all. I had read the Spiderwick books so I knew the story before viewing the movie.
In general, the movie is well acted and roughly follows the same plot as the book. There are enough differences in the movie that diehard fans of the book may be disappointed by the changes. My own feelings are that movies should be judged on their own and I have no problems with the changes made.
My biggest concern comes down to the focus of the movie. I think that the movie focuses more on the horror elements than the fantasy elements. The levels of violence and dread were surprising in a family film. For this reason, I cannot recommend this movie as a family film. In my view, its rating should be PG-13 and not PG. The violence is not realistic so I think that a mature 12 year old will do fine. It is definitely too scarely for the young ones.
The movie, in general, plays more like a fantasy-themed horror movie than a straight fantasy movie. Don't go expecting ET. This one's more like Gremlins. The fantasy creatures here are for the most part mean and vicious.
On the other hand, the story moves well and I was never bored. As a teen/fantasy/horror movie, it was above average. For the right crowd, I would recommend renting it. Just suspend disbelief as you watch the three children battle nasty fairy creatures.