Spiderwick Chronicles, The (2008, USA) C-95m. SCOPE *** D: Mark Waters. Starring Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Sarah Bolger, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn, Andrew McCarthy, and the voices of Seth Rogen, Martin Short. Fantasy adventure based on the books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black about three siblings (a teenage girl and two twin boys, both played by Highmore), who move into the old, derelict estate of their great-aunt with their mother. It turns out the place is home to many secrets, among the most precious the children's great-great uncle's Guide to Fairies, which describes a magical world they at first cannot see. When they learn that an evil ogre is after the book, a fantastic adventure for them begins... Well-made, effective fantasy does the books justice and adds some fun ingredients. Not great, but pretty well-done. Good score by James Horner. Adaptation by Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum and John Sayles. Photographed by Caleb Deschanel.

© Ron Altman