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The Spiderwick Chronicles vs. Zathura – Battle of the Redundant Geek Movies

Last week, while watching my review DVD copy of (wait for it… here comes the plug in 3… 2… 1…) The Spiderwick Chronicles 2-Disc Field Guide Edition from Paramount, I realized… hey! This is basically the same damn movie as Zathura.

(Which is essentially the same damn movie as Jumanji. But that would have led to a three-way battle, and I’ve sworn off three-ways out of respect to all three future ex-Mrs. Great White Snarks, whomever they may be.)

So what common threads tie these two movies into synchronicity? Survey says:

  • Two young brothers who couldn’t be more different.
  • A skeptical and mildly-bitchy older sister.
  • The discovery of a mysterious object in their big, old house prompts a series of sometimes-fantastic, sometimes-terrifying supernatural events.
  • An adult who has been trapped in time guides the children through their adventures.
  • Based on an illustrated children’s fantasy book.
  • Monsters and shit.

Point: British actors speaking in American accents is only cool on House.

When a film like Spiderwick deprives audiences of hearing an English child actor speak in his native accent, a newborn puppy dies of bird flu.


Point: Casting Dax Shepard = FAIL.

He’ll get his Employee of the Month cooties all over your perfectly good movie. And those particular cooties come with the pungent stink of Dane Cook + Jessica Simpson + Andy Dick. The kind of cooties that will give you a permanent case of simian pink eye.

ADVANTAGE: Spiderwick

Point: Jon Favreau directed Zathura.

In spite of Zathura‘s box office take, Mr. Can Do No Wrong will be riding the goodwill created by Iron Man, Elf, and Swingers for at least another three years.

Hell, you can add PCU to that list, as far as I’m concerned. (But his stint on Friends is where I draw the line.)


Point: Spiderwick features actor Freddie Highmore convincingly playing both the roles of twin brothers.

I haven’t seen special effects trickery this effective since 1998’s The Parent Trap obscured any notion that either Lindsay Lohan ‘twin’ would grow up to be a crack whore.

ADVANTAGE: Spiderwick

Point: It’s quite a trick to get directly compared to Jumanji and to simultaneously not suck at all.

See above, “Jon Favreau directed Zathura.”

(Yes, I know, I haven’t acted like this much of a fanboy since Kristen Bell at Comic-Con maybe, possibly looked in my general direction.)


WINNER: Zathura

When Hollywood produces high-quality children’s fantasy flicks that fanboys of all ages can enjoy… everybody wins.

At least until two of those movies go head-to-head and one of them comes away smelling like a fake-American-accented loser from Losertowne. Then there’s just one winner. Zathura.

Talkback: What say you? Did I miss any points?

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1 comment… add one
  • Nathan D July 12, 2008, 12:08 am

    I guess it’s an australian accent not a british one, but BSG has to count for something on this blog, neh?

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