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Review: By Morgan Stewart
It is hard to put into writing just how marvelous and wonderful Bridge to Terabithia really is, yet as I attempt it, I can't help feeling disturbed at how ridiculous people are being about the marketing of this film. Thank goodness most real critics have looked past the agreeably deceptive marketing, into the heart and beauty of this film, which, with or with the misleading advertisements is impressive. After seeing it, I struggled to think of a better way of marketing this film, without giving away its ending or taking away the only audience that still seems to watch PG movies, kids.
After watching it, however, I couldn't imagine taking anyone under ten to see it, nor could I imagine anyone under ten enjoying it as much as young adults, or even older audiences would. So, as deceptive as the advertising was, I myself realize that the fascinating story, the charm and skill of the actors, and the good direction of newcomer to live action film-making, Gabor Csupo, more than makes up for the slightly skewed first impressions. And I am eternally grateful that it did not turn into what everyone seemed to want, a cheesy Narnia rip-off. If anything, the movie was a lot better than the preview made it seem to be, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Instead of the brash and rude approach to filming movies, that seems to be the standard today with effects driven movies, Terabithia focuses on the characters, the story, and the heart when telling this beautiful tale. Which, is part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much. Too often now days the story is built around the effects, not around the characters. A rather cumbersome and annoying way to tell a story, or be told a story, if you ask me. Instead, Terabithia uses the talents of both the amazing young actors, and its adult cast to enthrall and absorb the viewer in the magic of imagination and the reality of every-day life.
The story focuses on young Jess Aarons, whose school life and home life aren't all that ideal. He deals with bullies at school, and four sisters at home. Josh Hutcherson, who I haven't particularly enjoyed before, plays the part of Jess perfectly, his emotions and reactions spot on, throughout.
What is a school without the new girl? Leslie Burke, played by AnnaSophia Robb, takes on the part of the imaginative and friendly new girl and brings to Jess gifts of imagination and friendship. Robb truly does a superb job in bringing to life the thoughtful and imaginative Leslie Burke.
All of the supporting cast was also brilliantly portrayed. I especially enjoyed the performances of Robert Patrick as Jess's father, and young Bailee Madison as Jess's little sister May Belle.
Together, Jess and Leslie create a world to call their own. A place that no one else can get to, a place in their imaginations. Terabithia, a land of beautiful creatures and dangerous enemies, springs forth from their imaginations, and becomes a place to call their own, away from the bullies and monotony of everyday life.
What really struck me as brilliant was the limited, yet still perfect number of glimpses into the children's' imaginations. We don't see a lot of Terabithia, which is good, because it is more about the journey of the characters, than the land of Terabithia. That said, it still has quite a few more scenes of adventure than the book by Katherine Patterson, all of which add to, not take away from the story.
The writing, also is quite good. David Patterson, son of the novel's author takes great care when adapting the beloved work of his mother into a screenplay. Most of the lines from the book aren't there, but there are a few which make it in, revealing the care and love that was put into the scripting of this movie. Personally, I enjoy the screenplay of the movie more than the words of the book, but that is just my opinion. The movie's script greatly aided in the believability of the characters, and the motion of the scenes, which were crisp and well-planned.
The movie touched on my every emotion, bringing me to tall peaks of happiness and leaving me teary-eyed and disconsolate, but still had a perfect and satisfying ending. I also, personally thought, the scenes and situations were more powerful, poignant, and realistic, than the book, which surprises me. Usually, the movie can't live up to the book. In this case, the phrase seemed switched around. The book didn't live up to the movie. As weird as it is for me to say this about a movie, Terabithia touched my heart like no film has ever before. And I doubt any film will give me quite the same feeling, ever again.
Saw the premiere and the movie has all the earmarks of a major hit. You never know for sure with American audiences but this is a very beautiful and engaging film. It REALLY outclasses any number of recent movies marketed at kids and it is one of the few I've seen that shows honest portrayals of both children and adults. No one, not even the bullies, is a stereotype or caricature. The novel is a masterpiece, but this film holds its own. With so many films, you walk out, whether amused or annoyed, and soon forget most of what you saw. Not so with Bridge--it stays with you, as it should. Go and enjoy...and then pass the word.
When I heard back in August 2006 that they were making the award winning book "Bridge to Terabithia" into a movie, I immediately reread the book. But, it took my only a few hours, and I had months to wait. Today, February 16th, I saw it, and I have a few things all of you might want to know. This movie is very kid friendly, if you are very concerned about what your kids see, then, this might be good. There are a few imaginary "scary" figures, but it's not like a horror movie. The actors did so wonderfully well, it scares me. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia were always favorites of mine, but they surprised me anyway. They played the roles well. It teaches you a lesson, also, and it shows some how to use an imagination. I thought this movie was marvelous, and it deserves to be watched by millions. It couldn't have done better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film on January 23rd, 2007 in Indianapolis. I am one of the
judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A
Truly Moving Picture "
explores the human journey by artistically
expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland
gave that award to this film.
This is a story of a poor 10-year old boy who wants to be the fastest boy in his class at school. To his surprise, the new girl who moves in next door to him beats him out fair and square and wins the race. This is no way to start a relationship or friendship.
However, they have something in common. They are both being bullied at school. And they each react differently. The boy, Jesse, is passive and tries to stay out of harm's way. The girl, Leslie, is aggressive and challenges her tormentors. Who knows what the right way is to fight bullying, but they find their defense in friendship with each other. And, they find a wonderful way to experience this trying time in life via their vivid imagination and the creation of a magical and enchanting kingdom that is very real to them.
They are both creative people. He is an artist and she is a writer. These creative people are able to close their eyes, picture another world, and keep their minds open to fantastic visions.
But the bullying persists and they attempt to come to grips with their pain in various ways. They try to out smart their tormentors and do, but they don't enjoy being bullies and becoming like their enemies.
This story is based on a Newbery-winning novel. It is a child's story. But, it is also a story for adults. It will bring you emotionally to your knees. It is lovingly and professionally told, and the fantasy part of the story the magical kingdom is wonderfully and briefly shown on the screen. This keeps the story grounded and believable.
Jesse and Leslie are beautiful people regardless of their ages. They show us how to enjoy life, how to do the right things, how to be faithful to one's friends, and have hope for the future. We learn a lot from these ten year old children.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
Great movie for all ages I took my five year old and fiancé they loved it.....Josh Hutcherson was great in this and so was Anna Sophia Robb .....People actually cried and clapped after the show it touches your inner child...It will take you through a life experience that not all kids go through in life but you will be absorbed in the film as I was...If you are looking for a great film instead of all the kids movies that rely on jokes that are used over and over ...go to this film and you will be satisfied with drama, light comedy and maybe slight depression of the reality it faces, but your spirit will be lifted as will your child's.
When I sat down to watch Bridge to Terabithia, I did not know quite what to expect. From what I had seen in the trailers, I thought the movie would be about two kids that end up in some magical world, similar to the Chronicles of Narnia (clearly, I did not read the book). Needless to say that I was surprised when actually seeing the movie. I shall not spoil the story for those who have yet to see the movie, but I will say that, in my opinion, this movie is for a more mature audience than one would think. Rather than being a fairytale for youngsters, the movie actually gives the viewer an inside look in a young boy's life and all the troubles he faces, concerning school, family and friends. The setting overall was a lot darker than expected as well. I can be short about the acting. The child-stars that play the lead roles did a great job and really brought the characters to life. On this subject I must give some credit to the director as well, as it is very difficult to work with children and to get them to play the part exactly the way you want them too. One final aspect of the movie that deserves mentioning is the fact that it does not lean on special effects. Although there is a fair amount of nice CGI present in the film, the story dominates. Which in my opinion, is a lot better than the other way around. Overall, I found the movie very enjoyable, but I would advise parents of young children to find out more about the movie, before deciding on whether or not you'll let your kids watch it.
Bridge To Terabithia
I have not read the book and did not see this movie with many expectations.
To begin with, this is a story of Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson). Jesse is the fastest runner in his class and very proud of being so. Frequently picked on by the local bullies, troubled with the financial situation back home and oft ignored by all but one of his 5 sisters, he immerses himself within his drawings as an escape... Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb)is the new-kid in his class. She has a panache for writing which coupled by her ability to outrun all the guys in her class (including Jesse) ensures that she doesn't have the best luck making new friends. However, with their affinity to be picked on, Jesse and Leslie soon find themselves extremely fond of each other and off looking for a place of their own... This is Terabithia...
And this is where I'll end my summary for I do not wish to go into the spoilers for the movie.
All the kids in the movie really shine in their respective roles. As many reviewers have said before me, Josh and AnnaSophia are a wonderful pair! I would also like to mention the young Bailee Madison (playing Josh's younger sister) for her portrayal of May Belle.
However, what truly lifts this movie from "good" to "great" is the simplicity of the whole story. This is a children's movie through and through and but do not expect a typical Disney feel-good comedy. Do not also expect huge CG sequences like say, The Chronicles of Narnia.
This movie is full of heart and everything about it is shown from the eyes of a child. Life, is not a pretty thing and more than the magical kingdom of Terabithia, this is a tale of a young kids' coming to terms with matters of being bullied, being loved, having a true friend and even trying to understand death.
By the end of it all, many people around me were moved to tears and I myself was trying desperately to hold back. The movie, its message and its delivery are all beautiful.
On a critical note, the only thing about the movie that I didn't particularly love was the music. The music in general wasn't very well suited and certain songs were just not needed, but I suppose thats what the MTv culture demands.
In conclusion, I highly recommend it. Go and watch this movie and if you have them, take your children... They'll love it!
I went into this movie not knowing what it was about. From the trailers
I had assumed that it was kind of like The Never Ending Story, but I
found that the trailers were terribly misleading. Since I have never
read the book, I had no idea what it would really be like, but I was
very pleasantly surprised. I won't get into the plot because I'm
terrible at explaining plot lines well, but I hope that it will suffice
when I say that I left the theater with my mind blown. I turned to my
friend and was like, "Wow, I actually want to turn around and see that
again, right now." but I couldn't because I had to go to work. It's
unusual to be saying this because I normally don't like to re-watch
movies so soon, but I've found that ever since I left the theater, I
just want to go back. I've been trying to drag my friends there with me
because I think that everyone should see this, but unfortunately, the
add campaign may have ruined all chances of that happening. I find that
every time I ask one of my friends to go with me, they say that there
is no way they are going to watch that movie, which means I'll probably
have to see it alone when I watch it again (I will definitely be
watching this again). It was so good that I cried during the movie. I
only remember crying in one other movie ever.
Bridge to Terabithia just might be my new favorite movie. I wasn't sure if Spiderman 2 and Serenity would ever be pushed down in ranking, but Bridge to Terabithia is making it a close race.
A very well mastered family movie with a positive message that
addresses topical themes for children in a poignant, focused manner.
The children depicted are very real and likable (well, except for the
ones you're supposed to dislike, that is), and easy to identify with.
The movie is a faithful and touching adaptation of the beloved
children's classic book.
The two main characters, Jesse and Leslie (splendidly played by John Hucheson and Annasophia Robb) are typical pre-teens, steering their way through the routine ups and downs kids everywhere deal with, and they develop a friendship/first crush due to their common interests and challenges. They find an old tree house, and create a fantasy castle type kingdom complete with magic, and populated by creatures based on people they know. Unlike so many other fantasy movies, this world is just an amusement for them, not a refuge that they actually "enter." The animation effects of this fantasy kingdom are skillfully executed in such a manner as to point out the reality that exists alongside the fantasy. For example: a tree begins to move, comes to life and performs an action, then relaxes back into its "real" position.
The relationships of all the characters, and what they learn from their experiences, are the true focus, with the fantasy sequences only spicing what's happening. There are many themes touched upon: friendship, tragedy, adventure, creativity, bullies, competition, family life, even making an enemy to a friend. I liked all the characters and the actors that played them; each person helped build the story. Emotional, even heart wrenching in one case, this movie is a gem. Highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bridge to Terabithia, based on the book, is a story about two kids,
Jess and Leslie, who form a friendship over a shared outcast status at
their school. Bullied, they seek their own refuge from the world in the
form of their own kingdom, Terabithia.
I read a comment about this movie not being for children, and I have to say, I totally disagree. I think this movie is wonderful for adults and children alike. It deals with some major issues in new and creative ways. Jess and Leslie deal with their problems by recreating them in an imaginary world where they can be the things they aren't in real life. This gives them the strength to deal with them in the real world.
The more serious issues are handled in a way that parents can appreciate as not too "adult" for their children, and children as not too "grown-up" for them to grasp.
Fans of the book will be happy to know that CGI effects do not overshadow the themes of the book, and though they make up a large part of the trailer, they actually make up less than a third of the movie.
Kids and adults, be warned : bring the tissues.
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