The Spiderwick Chronicles
Movie: The Spiderwick Chronicles
I haven't read the children's book(s) this was based on, so I can't compare, but this is a decent kid-friendly film, though it's not earth-shatteringly original or particularly innovative. It reminded me a lot of Luc Besson's Arthur and the Minimoys (which I actually liked better). In both cases the premise is that we live in a world where we are surrounded by invisible faires and it requires secret knowledge to learn to see them. Spiderwick the film doesn't explain much about these secrets so it's unclear exactly what the main character does, but basically he and his family move into an ancient house of an old aunt and he discovers an old book of secrets protected by a brownie and learns about the world of magical creatures. It turns out there's an even shape-shifting orgre who wants the book so he can take over the world, but the house is protected by a charm. The little boy's family doesn't believe his stories until later, when he and his brother and sister all confront the bad creatures and try to save the book and the family. It's all convoluted and confused; there's no explanation of why the creatures weren't trying to get the book earlier, why the boy can't find help in the book (except when it's convenient for the plot), how he expects to defeat the evil by hiding out in the house, or a million other loose ends, but this is a harmless adventure for kids, so I guess that means logic need not apply. It's still mildly fun, there's a hint of personal growth for the boy as he copes with his parents' divorce, and the digital creatures are interesting, though perhaps too realisitic for really young kids. Overall this isn't terrible nor great; it certainly is nowhere near the story-telling level of the Narnia series or Bridge to Terabithia.