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DVD Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles 2-Disc Field Guide Edition

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Based on the novels by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a film adaptation of this series.

The Grace family is going through a divorce, and is moving into a new home for a fresh start. No one is happy about the move, no one more so than Jared who, along with his twin brother Simon, sister Mallory, and mom, has arrived at the vacant home once lived in by Arthur Spiderwick.

Strange things start happening from almost the second they move into the house. Jared finds the study of Arthur Spiderwick and comes across Spiderwick’s field guide to faeries; there is a note attached warning anyone who comes across the guide not to read the book, but Jared does so anyway.

Jared then learns that mystical creatures do exist — and not only that, but the house is surrounded by an invisible barrier that none of the creatures can cross, which is a good thing since there’s an ogre named Mulgarath who wants the field guide for himself so he can rule over all faerie-kind. So now Jared must protect his family in addition to convincing them that the mystical creatures exist and that they are all in danger.

Once Mulgarath gets a page or two from the guide, he learns how to remove the barrier and what happens once the full moon rises is a battle of epic proportions. This is a great fantasy movie that the family will enjoy, but there are a couple of scenes that might be too intense for younger viewers. If they watch this, you might have a little one in your lap or against your chest for some of those scenes.

The cast does a great job bringing these characters to life. Freddie Highmore pulls double duty playing twins Jared and Simon and is believable playing twins whose personalities are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Sarah Bolger plays Mallory, the Grace sibling with a penchant for swords, then we have the CGI creatures voiced by some notable names. Nick Nolte voices the ogre Mulgarath, Seth Rogen voices Hogsqueal, the hobgoblin who is Mulgarath’s enemy. Rounding out the creatures is Martin Short playing Thimbletack, a brownie, which is a peaceful creature, but if you anger it, it turns into a boggart (think a four- to five-inch tall Hulk with the same green skin!).

This 2-Disc Field Guide Edition is packed with extras.

Disc One extra features include:

"Spiderwick: It's All True!" This featurette has director Mark Waters declaring to the audience that everything that happens in the film is true.

"A Spiderwick World" talks with the book series’ authors and discusses the origin of this story.

"Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide" is a cool feature that allows you to learn more about the creatures featured in the film while you're watching the movie by clicking on an icon at certain points in the film where you can then see reprinted pages from the book that feature specific creatures.

Disc Two extras include:

"Meet the Clan" This featurette contains interviews with all the lead actors and talks about casting the three child leads for the film.

There are two behind the scenes featurettes which go hand in hand "Making Spiderwick" focuses on production design and camera work for the film. While "Magic of Spiderwick" covers the CGI and voice work aspect of Spiderwick.

"A Final Word of Advice" Once again director Mark Waters continues his declaration to the audience that the Spiderwick world is based in fact.

There are four deleted scenes included here, some of which are actually expanded scenes from the theatrical release but these don’t really add much to the plot so I can understand why they were cut or trimmed down for the film.

The only thing I wish that the DVD included was a commentary track, but the DVD contains so many other extras that the commentary isn’t missed.

The Spiderwick Chronicles 2-Disc Field Guide Edition is a great fantasy film that the entire family will enjoy again and again.

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