Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Genre(s): Adventure / Drama / Family / Fantasy
Disney || PG - 94 minutes - $29.99 || June 19, 2007
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2007-06-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Gabor Csupo
Writer(s): Katherine Paterson (book); Jeff Stockwell and David Paterson (screenplay)
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler


Theatrical Release Date: February 16, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Filmmaker Commentary
  • Stars & Producer Commentary
  • Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life
  • Behind the Book: The Themes of Terabithia
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Ever watch a movie that is so different in content and tone than you had been led to believe it would be that you had a hard time analyzing exactly what you've just saw? That was my position briefly after viewing The Bridge to Terabithia.

Bridge is the story of a young boy named Jesse (Josh Hutcherson). Jesse is a small-town boy that doesn't fit in at school and has very few friends. That all changes when he befriends the new girl in class, Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb). Leslie teaches Jesse about being proud of his sense of imagination and about friendship and the two get into various little social adventures throughout the film. They also like to go to a "magical land" called Terabithia (well...not really. More on that later.) Zooey Deschanel plays a "hip" music teacher and Robert Patrick plays Jesse's strict but ultimately kindhearted father.

First of all, someone has to give Disney a hand for playing one of the shrewdest and most clever marketing tricks of the year. Disney promoted this film as if it's "Narnia 2" and really it's not that at all. Without getting spoiler-y I can tell you the film is indeed ultimately about friendship but it's also about death(!), child abuse(!!!), and the existence or non existence about God, heaven, and hell(!!!). Yeah, I know. What? Where are the trolls and whatnot? Umm...they appear for about 5 minutes. I really can't say more than that without spoiling it.

So... it's not what it seems but is it any good? To a point. As a film, it's quite wonderful at times. The acting is pretty good and it's well directed. The dialogue between the children characters is all written well and comes off like real kid-talk (for the most part). After the big death of the film, it's quite emotional and really tugs at the heartstrings. Even though it's a kid's movie, it never panders or talks down to them as an audience and I found that refreshing in this day and age.

What doesn't work? Well, the problem isn't so much that as it is that Iím simply not the audience for the film. It was made almost exclusively for children or fans of the book of which I am neither so it all felt very humdrum at times to me no matter how well made it was. Then there's that score which is so over the top "heartwarming" that it made me want to throw up. I hated the score. I kept wondering what the film would sound like with no music whatsoever. And when there wasn't a score there were a couple of really awful pop songs. *Shudder* And although it's not really a problem, i felt really burned by Disney's false advertising. It was not at all what I expected and that bothered me some.

But all in all, I can still recommend it. It's like one of those flicks they make you read the book of in school as a child and you watch the movie version on a Friday afternoon. It's one of those. If you have kids, they'll get more out of this then some CGI crap with fart jokes.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Digital Imagination: Bring Terabithia to Life - A very short 5 minute documentary about the special FX used in the film. Weta, the same company that did Lord of the Rings, did them all and for the most part they look really good. Short but since the movie doesn't really have too many FX sequences it's forgivable.

Behind the Book: Themes of Bridge to Terabithia - This doc is only about 15 minutes long but it's very interesting. There are interviews with the cast, crew, and several English/reading teachers from around the country who talk about the importance of the book and what it means to children and others. I really liked hearing what the teachers had to say. Their perspective on it was something I didn't expect and I liked what I heard.

Music Video "Keep your Mind Wide Open" by Anna Sophia Robb - A cheesy pop song performed by one of the lead kid actors in the film. Yawn.

Commentary with Director Gabor Csupo, Writer Jeff Stockwell, and Producer Hal Lieberman - The first of 2 commentaries, the films' creators are very excitable guys who obviously had a real love for the book and the film they created a like. I expected to be bored stiff but wasn't at all.

Commentary with Actors Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb and producer Lauren Levine - Equally as good is the 2nd commentary. I was weary of listening to a commentary done by kids but they are surprisingly very professional without being boring and gave fun little anecdotes about the making of the picture.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This movie looked good and sounded very good too. I think part of it maybe just it was shot really well but the DVD looks great.



.::OVERALL::.

Bridge to Terabithia is a very good and very smart children's movie that never panders to it's audience. It may've been sold under false pretenses and it wasn't mind-blowing but it's definitely something I can recommend especially for families.