The Spiderwick Chronicles’ Rotten Tomatoes Score is More Tragic Than Magic for Roku’s Remake

Early reviews pan Roku’s The Spiderwick Chronicles for failing to capture the whimsy, imagination, and wonder found in the 2008 film of the same name. Like that film, directed by Mark Waters, the new series, which premiered on April 19, is adapted from the acclaimed children’s fantasy novels by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. Both adaptations follow the Grace siblings, twins Jared and Simon, and their sister Mallory, as they move into the Spiderwick Estate, where they are pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.

While the source material is the same, Christian Slater, who stars in the Roku series as the villainous ogre Mulgarath (who can shapeshift into a human for alter ego Dr. Dorian Brauer) says the series is a departure from the film. In a recent interview with, Slater discussed the series and Nick Nolte, who voiced the same character in the film:

“Nick Nolte is definitely one of my favorite actors. You know, he’s incredible and did a fantastic job in the movie. But I felt like this was really a complete and total departure from the movie.” He adds: “I think obviously the characters were able to be greatly expanded upon, and that whole storyline of Mulgarath trying to weave his way into this lovely struggling family was a nice element, I think, to introduce into this story. I like that dynamic. I loved working with Joy [Bryant]. The kids were great, got to do a lot of fun scenes with those guys. And I got to be as nuts as I wanted to be, which I always loved to do.”

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Follows the Grace Family, as they move into their ancestral home and unravel a dark mystery about their great-great Uncle who discovered the parallel, secret faerie world to their own.

Release Date April 19, 2024

Seasons 1

Studio 20th Television, Disney+, Paramount Television Studios

Streaming Service(s) The Roku Channel

Unfortunately, a notable difference between the film and the series is their critical reception. The 2008 film, which starred Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Bolger, Nolte, Seth Rogen, and Martin Short, earned mostly positive reviews (it holds an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), which praised the cast, and the film’s heart and imagination. If the 2008 film seemed to falter anywhere, the “family friendly” film may have been a tad too scary for younger children.

Christian Slater is The Spiderwick Chronicles’ Standout Star


The Spiderwick Chronicles series’ reception is landing at the other end of the spectrum. It currently holds a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (faring just a bit better with audiences at 57%). Paste Magazine’s Josh Sharpe urges “would-be viewers” to “stay far away,” adding:

“Between its distractingly bad dialogue and the tedious story, there is no magic to be seen here.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Angie Han agrees. Han shares:

“Unicorns frolic in a glen. Sprites flutter alongside fireflies at dusk. Just outside the doors of a nondescript grocery, a goblin market trades in mythical weapons and pumpkin spice lattes. But if such extraordinary sights are everywhere, the sense of wonder that ought to accompany them proves to be in disappointingly short supply.”

Related The Spiderwick Chronicles: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know About The Canceled Series Disney+ recently pulled the plug on its highly anticipated series, The Spiderwick Chronicles. Here is everything we know about the scrapped series.

Despite a negative review that blames “repetitive plotting, lumpy pacing,” and “underdeveloped characters” for the show’s failure, Han shares that Slater is “hands-down the single best reason to watch ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles.'”

The Daily Beast’s Coleman Spilde also gives Slater high marks, calling him an “Epic Bloodthirsty Ogre” (a rare compliment, indeed) and the show’s strongest element. He even draws a comparison to Slater’s iconic role in Heathers, noting, “Not since Heathers has Slater had so much fun disguising nihilistic sociopathy behind self-effacing charisma.”

All eight episodes of
The Spiderwick Chronicles
are available to stream on Roku.

The Spiderwick Chronicles stars Joy Bryant, Lyon Daniels, Noah Cottrell, Mychala Lee, Jack Dylan Grazer, Slater, and Alyvia Alyn Lind. Aron Eli Coleite serves as showrunner.

You can view the original article HERE.

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