Bridge to Terabithia

Tuesday May 29, 2007 in recent cinema | children

For our Bank Holiday film treat, my daughter asked if we could see Bridge to Terabithia. I agreed, although I wasn’t expecting great things from this film, and was ushered into the cinema imagining a poor rehash of The Chronicles of Narnia. After the titles had rolled I realised we were in for something different. The trailers and posters had wildly misrepresented the film; no abuse of CGI, no over egging of the Fantasy pudding and no British actors in mildly villainous roles. Bridge to Terabithia is a quite brilliant children’s film that doesn’t simply rely on technical wizardry and British thesps hamming it up.

This is an adaptation of Katherine Paterson book, where Jesse (Josh Hutcherson) is a quiet schoolkid who befriends new girl Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb). While only child Leslie’s parents are dreamy authors, Jesse has three sisters and his parents are struggling with their debts. His father (played by Robert Patrick – still as creepy as he was in Terminator II) berates his son, a gifted artist, for dwelling too long in imaginary worlds and not gaining a foothold on reality. Indeed, Jesse and Leslie do make a fine pair, escaping from the harsh real world of classroom anguish and school bullies to their imaginary world of Terabithia, just a short rope swing across a backyard river.

Bridge to Terabithia keeps its special effects in check, relying instead on the two excellent leads. It’s a very well paced and thoughtful film. There’s also one of the most shocking twists I’ve ever encountered in a children’s film. No spoilers here – but be warned. This is a film that might bore the under-eights, especially if they’re expecting their fill of imaginary creatures and fantasy. But my daughter, thinking we were in for another Narnia, really enjoyed it. Something different from the usual Multiplex fare and well worth seeing.

Very interesting. My daughters wanted to see Pirates OTC 3, and as they are of an age where they can go by themselves, I was pleased to let them do so, on Sunday. As the rain poured down yesterday (Monday), in desperation I looked at the programme. The film you’ve just reviewed is the only one on at our local multiplex (groan) that they could both see, but they just were not interested. I even offered to go with them but could not prevail. Sadly, though they probably would have enjoyed it much more than Pirates (which they received lukewarmly at best), marketing is so effective at the younger end of the spectrum. Maybe, having read your post, I’ll just go on my own.

Maxine    Tuesday May 29, 2007   

Bridge to Terabithia was one of my favorite books when I was child. I didn’t even realize they had made a film – I’ll have to rally the nephews and see if they like it.

verbivore    Tuesday May 29, 2007   

I often find that the little films are the most rewarding, especially when POTC seems to have taken over the world. I’ve nothing against blockbusters – and would even quite like to see this one if only for Keith Richards – but I’m niggled by the lemming factor where cinemagoers only feel comfortable when they’ve joined the longest queue.

The Book Tower    Tuesday May 29, 2007   

I watched the Bridge to Terabithia on Friday expecting, well, not much really. I’d not heard anything about it or had the faintest idea of what it was about and assumed it was typically formulaic. I was wrong.

I can’t express how I felt about it without giving something away, so I’ll refrain, but I would say that having sat through (and slept through) a great many children’s films, this one had me glued. The film even dares to address some issues that are typically out-of-bounds for a film of this genre and it does so in a constructive and sensible way. My 3 year old sat through the whole thing too, which is unusual. I was pleasantly surprised.

Grant Broome    Tuesday June 5, 2007   

Grant: Yes it’s difficult to talk about without spoiling it.

By the way – now that my daughter is 8 I spend less time sleeping through children’s films.

The Book Tower    Wednesday June 6, 2007   

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