Opening 20 Mar 2008
Writing credits: Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum, John Sayles, Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black
Principal actors: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Nick Nolte, Mary-Louise Parker, Joan Plowright
Moving to a new house is always full of surprises. Twin brothers, Jared and Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore), their sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) and their mother Helen (Mary-Louise Parker) find that their aunt’s house is far from ordinary. From the first moment unusual things begin to happen. Unreal creatures appear that are not only real but attack them in a frantic effort to acquire a special book written by their great uncle. Naturally this is a perfect set up for secret passages and unknown possibilities into worlds beyond this one, and the fantasy figures are extremely well done. The film is based on a series of five books with the same name written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.
Although well done, more time with some of the fantasy creatures would have been nice since they were interesting in themselves. Although this film is recommended for six years and above, my three young critics all agreed that it should be for nine years old and above. The series are a great reading collection for kids as well, and they have also recently expanded the books to give more information about the fantasy creatures. Directed by Mark Waters. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)