The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
The movie, based on the best-selling series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, tells parallel tales of fathers who abandon their children, but it glosses over the trauma of those sagas in favor of special-effects-laden escapism.
The Spiderwick Chronicles exemplifies a problem with many of today's fantasy-adventure movies: the sense that narrative values, such as the artful building of suspense, can be slighted because the computer-generated special effects are so good.
Happily, Highmore has no trouble grasping the task at hand. As both the thoughtful Simon and the brash Jared, he transports himself into this literal faerie tale with such convincing enthusiasm, he turns us into believers, too.
I kept wishing for another scene with Mulgarath in the form of Nolte, because, well, you can never have enough Nolte, and because his particular brand of kinetic insanity would have been just what the movie needed to shake up its clockwork smoothness.
It has plentiful whimsy, a big enough heart and Joan Plowright in one fine scene, burbling magnificently. It treats its archetypes with all due seriousness: Good must engage evil in a final stand. And fatherless children must try to save the world.
A top-drawer cast, sympathetic script, a director known for delicious teen edge and one of the great cinematographers of our time have conjured up a topical, whimsical and occasionally magical action-romp through a world we know, but don't fully see.
There's enough here to keep adults engaged, which is an important component of any motion picture that wants to be known as 'family entertainment.' I would place The Spiderwick Chronicles comfortably in that category.
The Spiderwick Chronicles may not be in the same fantasy league as the tales of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling. Yet the family flick based on the books of Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black is an all-around class act.
An enjoyable adventure fantasy that pushes all the requisite buttons while still managing to throw in a pleasant surprise or two, Paramount's big-budget gamble has impressive talent to burn on both sides of the camera.