Spiderwick - Chronicles is an American film released in 2008, directed by Mark Waters and inspired by the eponymous series of books by Tony Terlizzi and Holly Black. In 2009, at the Saturn Award, the film was nominated in the best science fiction film category while Highmore in the best young actor category. Highmore won the award the year bfore as best young actor. Sony has also produced a video game inspired by its story. The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fantastic adventure, which is set to the present day, filled with extraordinary creatures from a world never seen; this becomes clear through the words said to the protagonist: "You will know the creatures that are a feast for the eyes". The film tells the story of the Grace family and the vicissitudes of its members who find themselves face to face with magical creatures of all sorts.
The story revolves around the three children of this family, Jared, his twin brother Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore), and Mallory (Sarah Bolger), the older sister, and the mother, Helen (Mary-Louise Parker), recently divorced. In order to start her new job, Helen moved to the dilapidated house of her great-uncle Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn) and great-aunt Lucinda (Joan Plowright).
Each child reacts differently to this transfer. Jared begins to see strange things happening around the house, and not believed, decided to investigate; while doing that, he found, in a old trunk in the attic, a strange book, written almost 70 years earlier by the great-uncle: “Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You”. Ignoring the warning not to open it, warning left by Thimbletack (Martin Short), an enchanted creature who lives in the walls of the manor and loves the honey, the only substance that can calm his excesses of anger, Jared discovers, in spite of himself, that this book is unusual and potentially dangerous.
Pandora's Box, that emerges from this situation, reveals and unleashes a world, which surrounds the Spiderwick Estate, inhabited by some weird and wonderful creatures, other dangerous: an intelligent and friendly, a Hobgoblin named Hogsqueal (Seth Rogen), but also a group of elves and beautiful fairies. Only those who look through a "magical stone", or receive the Hogsqueal spit in the face, can see these creatures. Mulgarath (Nick Nolte), the evil and smart ogre, represents the biggest threat.
The boys begin to realize that the Field Guide doesn’t come form the imagination of the great-uncle, but it is, instead, the key to understand the mysteries of all the great beings they encounter, and the tool to understand their secret power. And this is the reason why Mulgarath wants the book.
A film full of fantasy, emotion, suspense, and action, which tells the desperate attempts to protect the book to make sure it does not fall into the wrong hands. And as in all fairy tales, it has an inevitable happy ending. An eventful film, which cleverly emphasizes the importance of family togetherness, without giving up, however, anything but intrusive moments that are very close to an horror atmosphere.
After a pleasant first collaboration with the sculptor, and friend, Stefano Mocchetti in the creation of the dreary and disquieting "Alice Madness Return" characters, we decided to dedicate ourselves to something more classic. The intention was not only to take a certain distance from that fantasy universe stereotype, which is always very dark and gothic, but also to create something that would have been appreciated by a wider public. Starting from these assumptions, Stefano and I decided to realize our three-dimensional version of some characters belonging to the Spiderwick Chronicles saga.
We immediately realized that reproducing the characters of Spiderwick (the movie) would not have been the right choice as Tippett Studio had already masterfully realized them. We have therefore chosen to reproduce the beautiful Tony Diterlizzi’s illustrations. So we carefully studied the best way to represent the characters so that each on of them would give the impression of coming out from a book page, as if it was a pop up book. As far as it concerns the painting, I tried to faithfully stick to the original colours. making the mixed technique of pencil and watercolour with acrylic colours was certainly the most complex aspect. For example, in order to recreate as precisely as possible the warmth of the original illustrations, I used a combination of very light colours on a white base and textures where light and colour variations shadows were made with the overlaps rather than painted with a specific colour, made on the palette.