The Tempest (2010) Trailer

The Tempest is a fantasy romantic comedy film based on the play by William Shakespeare. In Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor’s version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect. Starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney, Felicity Jones, Tom Conti, The Tempest opens on December 10, 2010.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) – Movie Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a 2008 fantasy film adaptation of Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi’s bestselling series.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger play Jared/Simon Grace and Mallory Grace respectively in The Spiderwick Chronicles
Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger play Jared/Simon Grace and Mallory Grace respectively in The Spiderwick Chronicles

The film starts with a man named Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn) who somewhat seems hasty in writing a book filled with weird stuff. It seems like something is pursuing him that makes him hurriedly seals the book to keep it safe. Then the film goes back to the present, 80 years later where Mrs. Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) and her family has arrived to their new house. Mrs. Helen Grace wants a new start for her family, her daughter Mallory (Sarah Bolger) and her twin sons, Simon and Jared (both played by Freddie Highmore). They move into the Spiderwick Estate which is given to them by their elderly great-aunt Lucinda, Arthur Spiderwick’s daughter.

Jared does not like moving to the new house. Since he has often being perceived as the naughty one, every now and then when something unpleasant happens, he tends to be blamed.

Jared finds a monogrammed key behind a wall after Mallory accidentally uncovers a dumbwaiter system. He later discovers Arthur Spiderwick’s studyroom and he finds a chest which he opens with the monogrammed key and finds Spiderwick’s Field Guide written by Arthur Spiderwick. Despite the attached note which warns him not to read, he does it anyway. The moment he opens the book, a strong signal is somewhat felt by the entire estate, which sends a signal to Mulgarath, a shape-shifting ogre who wants the book so he can kill all the faeries and mankind to take over the world.

Later, Jared meets a brownie named Thimbletack, who explains that magical creatures are normally invisible but can reveal themselves at will. He tells Jared about a protective circle that Arthur Spiderwick placed around the house and gives him a stone with a hole which allows him to see faeries. Simon, mistaken for Jared, is kidnapped by Mulgarath’s goblins, while Jared meets Hogsqueal, a hobgoblin who gives Jared the ability to see all faeries without the aid of the stone. Simon is released by the goblins with the condition that he must steal the book from Jared. Upon his return, Jared and Simon fight over whether they should give the book to Mulgarath without realizing that the goblins are running towards them. Although they manage to fend off the goblins, Simon’s leg is badly injured by the goblins. Mallory, meanwhile is wandering outside the circle and does not heed the warning of his brothers until the goblins attack her. Jared throws the stone with a hole so she can see the goblins and when does, she finally believes what Jared has said earlier.

Thinking their great-aunt Lucinda (Joan Plowright) can be their only hope, Jared and Mallory escapes to an underground tunnel while Simon distracts the monsters. Lucinda is in the nuthouse for telling Arthur Spiderwick is kidnapped by faeries, which is somewhat the truth. In fact, Arthur Spiderwick was “rescued” by Sylphs, a type of faerie when the goblins attacked. Lucinda tells them they must find her father to have him destroy the book. Suddenly, Mulgarath’s goblins attack them from the windows and manage to steal several pages from the book before they are driven off.

The siblings use the book to summon Arthur Spiderwick’s pet, a griffin, which takes them to the realms of the Sylphs. There, Arthur Spiderwick is still alive and has not aged since the day he was “rescued”. Spiderwick tells Jared that the only person who can save the world is Jared himself since he has the knowledge of the book. Spiderwick distracts the faeries to enable Jared and Mallory to escape from the land of the Sylphs.

On their return, Hogsqueal warns them that one of the stolen pages will allow Mulgurath to destroy the protective circle when the moon is full. Mrs. Grace, initially does not want to believe what their children tell her since she knows the children is probably under some kind of pressure after they move. Somehow, when Thimbletack appears and when Jared gives the stone of hole to see enable her to see the attacking goblins, she believes her children without doubt. The family arms themselves with steel knives and tomato sauce. When they are forced into the kitchen, they place all of their tomato sauce and salt into the oven and hide before detonating it, killing all of the goblins.

Then Mr. Grace enters the house and tells Jared that he came to apologize; however, Jared discovers that he is an imposter and stabs him in the stomach. He turns out to be Mulgarath in disguise. Jared escapes with the book through the dumbwaiter while Mulgarath transforms into a python and gives pursuit. On the roof, Mulgarath turns back into his ogre form and almost captures Jared when Jared throws the book onto the lawn; as Mulgarath transforms into a raven to catch it, he is snatched and eaten by Hogsqueal.

The Graces family bring Lucinda back to the house; and the Sylphs appear, bringing Arthur. However, since he cannot remain, because his age would return to him all at once and kill him, Lucinda asks to be taken with him, and so the Sylphs transform her back into her six-year-old self and spirit the two away.

Overall, the movie is somewhat short of expectation. But, it’s a good movie for the whole family.

My ratings: 7 out of 10.