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81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crossing The Bridge Between Fantasy And Reality, March 19, 2007
I know absolutely nothing about the young adult novel that this film, "Bridge to Terabithia," is based on. For this reason, I will only review this film for its contents and not on how well it translates the book to the screen. With that said, I can claim that "Bridge to Terabithia" is just one more wonderful film that's been produced as of late for youngsters that's based on a book or book series. Produced by Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures, this film tells the story of Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson of "Zathura"), a boy who lives in poverty but escapes from reality through drawing fantastical creatures and worlds. When a new neighbor moves in who marches to the beat of a different drum, the two of them combine their imaginations to create the kingdom of Terabithia. The neighbor is Leslie Burke, and she's played by the likeable and enthusiastic AnnaSophia Robb ("Because of Winn-Dixie," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"). She and Jesse take their personal miseries from school and at home and turn them into trolls, evil squirrels, grenade-like pinecones and a whole slew of other creatures. All of the bad people of Terabithia are lead by the Dark Master, a smoky, phantom-like creature.

As the story unfolds, Jesse and Leslie form a strong friendship both in reality and in fantasy. When Jesse is asked to go to the museum by his music teacher (the excellent Zooey Deschanel), he intentionally leaves Leslie behind. Why? Because like any most boys in middle school he happens to have a crush on his music teacher (It's Zooey Deschanel, who wouldn't?). When a tragedy occurs, Jesse's worlds, real and fantasy, experience dramatic changes.

"Bridge to Terabithia" is essentially a coming-of-age tale where kids who aren't quite children but haven't yet reached adulthood come to feel the consequences of reality. Jesse and Leslie love their fantasy world, but each day brings more reality with it. The cast is headed up by Hutcherson, Robb, and young Bailee Madison (Jesse's cute little sister, May Belle). The supporting cast includes Deschanel, the always reliably gruff Robert Patrick ("Terminator 2") and Lauren Clinton. While the adults play key roles in this film, it's really all about the kids.

The special effects are very good, though most pre-teens will pick up on their limitations. However, the special effects take a backseat to the story, which is always refreshing to see these days.

Parents with younger children should know that the tragedy aforemetioned may be very tough for youngsters to take. I won't go into details, but just know that it's one of the gravest tragedies that can occur in anyone's life. There are also two instances of strong language. The "d" word is used repetively in both of them. One occurs in the back of a truck after church and the other happens in the greenhouse at Jesse's home when he loses his father's keys. Other than that, there isn't anything in the film that you really need to look out for.

As a fantasy tale, "Terabithia" works well. It works better as a film about a young boy and his friend who come to terms with reality. I highly recommend this film for families, just be prepared to do some heavy explaining with younger children (under eight) when reality really, really hits home. Fans of this movie may also enjoy "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe," the "Harry Potter" films (although as Harry gets older, the movies and books become geared more towards older children), and "The Neverending Story." Also, even though I haven't read this particular book, I have read plenty of other young adult books in my day. Pick up "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, any of the "Harry Potter" books, or any other wonderful child and pre-teen fantasy for your children to read if they enjoy this film.

Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 5, 2007 11:32:15 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 1, 2009 9:55:19 AM PDT]

Posted on Aug 5, 2007 9:13:46 PM PDT
Ken Fontenot says:
I was raised to believe that it's a curse word. I still do.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2008 11:08:20 PM PST
'CURSE' is a curse word, dam* you!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008 2:23:06 PM PST
Ken Fontenot says:
Thanks for the lovely comments. Peace be with you.

Posted on Apr 30, 2008 6:05:33 AM PDT
Ricky N. says:
A great review. I just saw it yesterday on Starz for the first time. I agree that the tragedy might be too much for younger children to take; it wasn't easy for me and I am an adult.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2008 12:12:11 PM PDT
Ken Fontenot says:
Thank you for reading and commenting on my review. Yes, it was pretty tough for my daughter to take in the fact that the tragedy happened. Still, if you can work it out with them, this is a good movie for youngsters to see.
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