The Spiderwick Chronicles is another fantasy film involving kids, and since I was disappointed by Bridge to Terabithia, I tempered my expectations going into it. The initial stilted dialog of the mom and her three kids did not bode well. But not too long after that, the movie turns into a smart, cute, and pretty mature film that, be warned, may scare younger viewers. The evil warlock/troll antagonist is balanced skillfully by the well-done comic relief of the adorable Hogsqueal and Thumbletack.
Rotten Tomatoes computes an average review score of 79%, which I think is undeservedly low, especially given that Bridge to Terabithia comes in at 85%. If I were calling the shots, it'd be the other way around. I for one really enjoyed Spiderwick, and recommend it as a smart, beautiful, and touching film. The creatures are charming, and I admit, the ending had me choking up, even though I saw it coming a mile away.