Whenever I think of Nickalodean and things like kid's shows and cartoons, I usually wince. They don't put out some of my favorite stuff.
I didn't know "The Spiderwick Chronicles" was one of their movies when I went to see it. For all of that, though, I was reasonably happy with the movie.
Of course, it had some of the usuals--misfit boy who's a pain to his mother and siblings sees things that no one believes, brother and sister who think the misfit brother is the cause of their problems, mother who's dealing with her own problems while trying to help her three children and move to a new place, absent father with his own secret that he hasn't told the son who wants him back why he's not around.
The movie's effects are pretty good, and the story is a bit convoluted at first but does clear itself out as the movie goes along. One is in a sense thrown into the middle of the story from the first, as there is little attempt to explain some of the things the family is going through when we are introduced to them. Be patient, though, as things do get explained.
The bad guys are mostly not very scary, except maybe for the troll and the main bad guy. The fairies are, of course, delicate and flowery and seemingly incapable of defending themselves from the threat the big baddie will be to them if it gets its claws on the thing it needs. So when you need dirty work done, get the emotionally-troubled ten-year-old boy to do it for you.
Hey, sounds like a plan :-)
No, not really.
There are some interesting things in it. The problems in the movie begin with one man's obsession in gain knowledge of the secret world of fairies and other mythic creatures, and one ogre's attempts to get that knowledge to use to kill off all the fairies and after that to somehow take over the world.
Assuming, of course, he doesn't get splattered by tomato juice along the way.
That's a joke, too.
The hurts caused by marital separation are shown to be real in all the members fo the family, and while there are somewhat stereotypical moments, it's mostly rather well handled, not soft-soaped but not overdone, either.
Family connections and love are shown in a good light. Despite separations and stresses and sibling conflicts and misunderstandings, the family is obviously close and they care for each other.
As far as kid's movies go, it's actually pretty good.