Ten-year-old Arthur, in a bid to save his grandfather's house from being demolished, goes looking for some much-fabled hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, tiny people living in harmony with nature.
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.
'It' is a Psammead, an ancient, ugly and irritable sand fairy the children find one day on a secret beach at their uncle's mansion. It grants them one wish per day, lasting until sunset. But they soon learn it is very hard to think of really sensible wishes, and each one gets them into unexpected difficulties. Magic, the children find, can be as awkward as it is enticing. Written by
Never released to theaters in the U.S., where it played only at film festivals before being shown on U.S. cable TV. See more »
Despite taking place in circa 1917, the children sing "Happy Birthday to You", which wasn't written until 1924, and didn't game popularity until around 1930. See more »
It was the Summer of nineteen seventeen and the world was at war. Like lots of children, we had to leave our home. - Leave London. We didn't want to go, but Dad went to fly planes, and Mum went to look after the wounded, and we were stuck. They insisted we go to the country, to stay with mad Uncle Albert and our cousin Horace.
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I would think that this was one of those films whose director hadn't read the book it was based on, were it not for the fact that they are just slightly similar. It is certainly possible for a great film to be "based" very loosely on a book and this was certainly the latter but not the former.
There were a number of flaws. One was that it tried to be too much like the Railway Children, probably because adults would expect this, being from the same author. Another is that it also sought to be too like Harry Potter, down to the music and in overemphasizing the setting. I have nothing against J K Rowling or the films but the book is just nothing like the Harry Potter ones. I thought the Psammead, though very well voiced by Eddie Izzard and in character too, was almost gratuitously in a totally inappropriate environment. I may have missed something here, as the comments made about one of the characters' own books may have been a reference to the inaccuracy of the adaptation. There was also no need for the extra characters, and today's special effects could easily have been used to tell the story as it was written, but they weren't.
I saw this film with my two children, one of whom knows the book and the other of whom doesn't. The one who does know it thought it was all right but wasn't as enthusiastic as the one who doesn't. I'm not sure what this means.
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