Preconceived notions are like mother nature — a bitch. Especially to someone who likens themselves to an unbiased critic. So with a heavy heart, I admit, I went into the theater to see Bridge to Terabithia thinking it was going to be a weak runner-up to “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” After all, the trailers and print ads all show children in a fantasy land in the midst of fantastic creatures. What would you expect?
Happily, I can say that Bridge to Terabithia is nothing of the sort. The similarities end with the fact that both movies are book adaptations. Where the world of Narnia is in fact a world within the real world, the world of Terabithia is purely imagination. It is a place where a young boy, Jesse (Josh Hutcherson) and a young girl, Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) go to escape real world conflicts and to develop solutions to those same said problems. It is here where a lost boy ultimately discovers who he is.
For the story to work as well as it does, it was critical to cast capable young actors and actresses. That’s because the adult parts play very little into the scheme of the movie — they’re there more as a backdrop — Robert Patrick as the father of Jesse (seen originally as a bad entity) and Zooey Deschanel, as their music class teacher Ms. Edmonds (seen originally as a good entity) are played well enough to not ruin anything. The real story is told from the interactions among the kids at school and at home. Josh Hutcherson plays the pivotal role of Jesse convincingly. You can clearly see the trouble he is having adjusting and fitting in at school and at home. His cries for acceptance fall on deaf ears by all within earshot. The crime of it all is most of his problems could be solved if he just received the love from his father that he is craving. AnnaSophia Robb plays the wide-eyed, imaginative friend Jesse has never had. Her belief that everything can be solved and there is good in everyone are uplifting messages. Without her guidance and friendship, Jesse would be lost forever.
The lone drawback of Bridge to Terabithia is it is fifteen minutes to long. Literally. The movie should have ended shortly after the semi-unexpected plot twist. Instead, we’re mired in additional story telling that causes the movie to drag to a halt. The only thing we needed in this footage was the reconciliation between father and son. The movie would have ended perfectly there.
All told, this is a great story to watch unfold. As a parent, you can gain insights into how not to treat your children. Your kids need you — be there for them. As a teenager, Bridge to Terabithia sends the message that even outsiders can escape temporarily from everyday hassles and that in the end it is okay to be different. Some of our greatest minds were those picked on in school, so hang in there . . .
March 23, 2007 @ 3:31 pm JerseyMike
This is not a movie for young kids. The “plot twist” is an adult theme and the movie trailers make it out to be a kids movie. Shameful.
May 12, 2008 @ 6:04 am jambajoose
I totally agree with JerseyMike. I watched this movie with a few friends just because we had nothing better to do that day (I’m glad I didn’t bring the kids with me).
This movie is not for kids, and the ‘plot twist’ (don’t want to give away what happened) was upsetting. A few of the children that were watching the movie left the theater literally in tears. The story and moral was great, but I would not rent this movie for my kids.
October 8, 2008 @ 2:01 pm Amie
This movie or book, sucked. I regret wasting my life reading it(:
May 7, 2009 @ 7:42 pm Patience
I do think it’s an asset for colledge students.The friendship between Jesse and Leslie is pure,I don’t think it has much to do with “love” in quotes.”You are who you are”and “keep your mind wild open”are the great suggestions for young people nowadays.I do think we are have a terabithia in mind.How to take advantage of it?It’s up to you!