Spiderwick Chronicles, The

Featured In Issue 133, July/August 2008

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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For scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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Arthur Spiderwick is a brilliant naturalist who obsessively Chronicles the existence of the fairies, hob-goblins, and ogres that inhabit the woods around his home. Eighty years after Arthur's mysterious disappearance, his great-niece Helen Grace (Parker) and her three children move into his now empty home. Soon, unexplainable accidents and disappearing objects begin to plague the Grace family, who are totally bewildered by the incidents. Grace's son Jared (Highmore) stumbles upon Arthur's well-hidden field guide, which has the power to unlock the truth about the amazing creatures that inhabit the Spiderwick estate. Based on books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features on Disc One of the Blu-ray Disc® two-disc sets include two featurettes: Spiderwick: It's All True! (seven minutes) and It's A Spiderwick World! (nine minutes); an interactive guide to the film's characters in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide; a movie-in-movie mode featuring additional information throughout the film, and previews. On Disc Two there are the following featurettes: Spiderwick: Meet The Clan! (14 minutes), Making Spiderwick! (20 minutes), The Magic Of Spiderwick! (14 minutes), and A Final Word Of Advice! (two minutes); four deleted scenes; nine Nickelodeon TV Spots promoting the film; and the original theatrical trailer.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.34:1 DVD shows impressive resolution, with fine details preserved well. Black levels are deep and shadow delineation is nicely rendered, helping create an acceptably dimensional image. Fleshtones look fairly natural, although highlights are too contrasted. Noticeable grain is recognizable throughout, and in comparison to the Blu-ray Disc, it appears that at least some of it should be attributed to noise. Colors are nicely saturated, with a stirring vibrancy at times. Edge enhancement is minor, and is never distracting. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc looks fantastic, with superb detail, solid black levels, and nicely rendered shadows. Contrast is impressively well balanced, and colors are vibrant. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack features a subtle use of the surrounds, although they can be incorporated nicely at times. Fidelity is pristine, although dialogue can sound somewhat smeared. There are also times when it is obvious they used a looping stage to produce the dialogue, with poor spatial integration and lip sync, especially when the "twins" are both on screen simultaneously. The LFE channel is not used often, but deep bass is effectively presented using the full-range channels. Audible noise can be heard in the more quiescent scenes, which damages dynamic range. Phantom imaging is nicely crafted across the front stage, but is rare anywhere else. The Blu-ray Disc's Dolby TrueHD lossless encoding provides a noticeable increase in fidelity and dynamic range, with the noise no longer audible. Still, the mix has the same shortcomings and ADR is still audible. (Danny Richelieu)