Rotten Tomatoes

Did you know that tomato sauce is the only thing that can kill a goblin? Well, it is, according to the “Spiderwick Chronicles” – the latest choppy, poorly written, and utterly predictable kiddy movie from Nickelodeon Studios. Tomato sauce is indeed a goblin’s Achilles heel. Cynicism aside, there might be a small demographic for this kind of movie.

Like all fantasy flicks, “Spiderwick” includes creatures, critters, those young whippersnapper children that just have that all too-uncommon belief in all that is seen and unseen, and those crusty old adults that never quite believe their children until the zero hour.

The movie stars Freddie Highmore (“Finding Neverland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) who tries hard to pull off his newly-acquired American accent and play two characters: the boy who believes, and his twin brother who doesn’t.

They are a part of a single-mother family that appears to have many flaws, including their great aunt who’s in the psychiatric ward because she’s crazy. Or is she?
It isn’t until they find a little rodent/human hybrid that the story takes us on its attempted whimsical adventure. This little critter speaks in rhyme, and it is more annoying than it sounds. He protects a book written by the children’s great-great-great uncle that has every secret of the fantasy world and is wanted by an evil ogre and all his little goblin friends.

The children plead and plead, but they cannot get their newly divorced mother to believe a word they say. That is, not until the final battle scene, where they all must band together and protect their dear old uncle’s book and take down those pesky goblins. How do they do this? Well, with vinegar, salt, oatmeal, and Hunt’s Tomato Sauce, of course. Exciting, isn’t it?
The movie ends the same way so many kids’ movies do: the family comes together and all the loose ends are tied up, leaving the story neatly wrapped up with a bow. Unless you are a die-hard fantasy fan or still have the mind of a 10-year-old, don’t waste your time on this one.

1/2 out of 4 stars