The Spiderwick Chronicles appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film consistently offered positive visuals.
Not too many issues affected sharpness. Some wide shots tended to be a smidgen soft, but those instances were acceptably minor and infrequent. Overall, the movie appeared accurate and well-defined.
No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I thought edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to materialize, and the movie came with a nice layer of grain.
In terms of colors, Chronicles provided a subdued palette. It veered toward a mix of blue and amber. Within its sense of design, the hues looked appropriate.
Blacks were dense and deep, while shadows seemed clear and concise. This was a satisfying transfer.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Chronicles proved to be similarly pleasing. With all its action and creatures, the soundfield boasted a number of good sequences.
Various beasties cropped up from all around the spectrum, and they added good life to the flick. These created a nice sense of place and activity throughout the film.
Audio quality was also positive. Speech appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other flaws. Music sounded bright and lively, and effects worked well, too.
Those elements were accurate and dynamic. Bass response came across as deep and firm. This wasn’t a killer soundtrack, but it seemed good enough for a “B+”.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio boasted superior range and impact, while visuals seemed better defined and more natural. Though the DVD worked fine for its format, the Blu-ray topped it.
The Blu-ray repeats the DVD’s extras, and Spiderwick: It’s All True! presents a seven-minute, four-second featurette. We get notes from director Mark Waters as he covers the movie’s fantastical characters and concepts.
This is a cutesy piece that doesn’t tell us much we can’t already figure out from the movie. It seems unnecessary to me.
It’s a Spiderwick World goes for eight minutes, 44 seconds as it features Waters, co-creator/author/executive producer Holly Black, co-creator/illustrator/executive producer Tony DiTerlizzi, the Kennedy/Marshall Company’s Kathleen Kennedy, producer/screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick, and producer Mark Canton.
“World” tells us a little about the inspirations for the novels as well as how the books made it to the screen. This is a rudimentary look at the background behind the movie, but it satisfies.
Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide can be accessed in two different ways. There’s an “In-Movie” version that allows you to check out the information as the film progresses, and there’s a separate non-interactive edition as well. I prefer the latter, as it offers the less intrusive way to obtain the details.
In the “Field Guide”, we find facts about the various magical creatures seen in the film. We learn about boggarts, brownies, sprites, goblins, hobgoblins, ogres, griffins, trolls, the Seeing Stone, and protection from magical creatures. These appear as pages from Spiderwick’s book, and they’re a fun addition.
Spiderwick: Meet the Clan goes for 13 minutes, 54 seconds and includes remarks from Waters, Kennedy, Kirkpatrick, and actors Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, Seth Rogen, and David Strathairn.
The show looks at cast, characters and performances as well as some technical notes about the “twins” shots and makeup. Some of the expected “everyone was great” fluff appears here, but we find more than a few interesting notes about the actors and their work. This turns into an enjoyable piece.
Next comes the 20-minute, 53-second Making Spiderwick. It provides comments from Black, Kennedy, Waters, DiTerlizzi, Bolger, Highmore, Kirkpatrick, Parker, production designer James Bissell, director of photography Caleb Deschanel, illustrator Meinert Hansen, property master Claire Alary, creature supervisor Phil Tippett, ILM visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman, stunt coordinator Dave McKeown, composer James Horner, and special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri.
The program covers sets and locations, props and various visual design choices, effects concerns, stunts, cinematography, music, and other complications. While not a particularly in-depth program, “Making” does a competent job. It examines a good mix of subjects in a satisfying manner.
The Magic of Spiderwick goes for 14 minutes, 23 seconds as it features Waters, Tippett, Helman, Tippett Studio lead animator Michael Brunet, Tippett Studio visual effects supervisor Joel Friesch, Tippett Studio CG supervisor Russell Darling, ILM visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander, ILM visual effects art director Christian Alzmann, ILM animation supervisor Tim Harrington, and ILM digital artist lead Jean Bolte.
“Magic” examines character design and visual effects. Obviously it takes a technical tone, but it looks at the material in a reasonably lively manner. A lot of good notes appear in this enjoyable show.
Lastly, A Final Word of Advice… runs a mere one minute, 51 seconds. In it, Waters simply “reminds” us that everything in the movie is real, so we’d better keep an eye out for crazy critters.
Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 14 seconds. These include “Mom and Jared” (0:59), “Boys in Bedroom” (2:13), “Messy Kitchen” (3:01) and “Meet Lucinda” (2:01).
These offer a couple minor character bits and some additional exposition. The clips prove to be interesting but they wouldn’t have added much to the final flick.
A few ads finish the set. Nickelodeon TV Spots presents nine snippets that aired on the cable channel and they run a total of five minutes, four seconds.
Most are basic promotional material, but a few unique bits with the characters make things more interesting. Two Theatrical Trailers conclude the package.
The Spiderwick Chronicles doesn’t always excel, but it entertains more than I anticipated it would. The film provides an involving fantasy world and keeps us interested. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a few useful extras. This is an appealing family flick.
To rate this film visit the original review of SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES