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Bridge to Terabithia (2007 PG)

June 14, 2007

Not the worst kids film I've ever seen.


The cast of Bridge to Terabithia had a couple familiar faces in Zooey Deschanel and Robert Patrick who, as expected, were both rock solid. The script wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but AnnaSophia Robb, Josh Hutcherson, and Bailee Madison all did surprisingly well with what they had in terms of lines and direction. No one put in an Oscar worthy performance, but I’ve seen far worse in similar movies.

Cast = 13


The score itself was nothing spectacular. Kind of a cut and paste fantasy/family movie feel. The soundtrack has a fairly lame song performed by HeroesHayden Panettiere, and a track from AnnaSophia Robb which is also lame as expected. What do you expect with a film from Disney, but more pimping from their young starlets?

What is of note (got to love puns), and unfortunately not available in the soundtrack that was released, is Zooey Deschanel. She performs several songs throughout the movie as the music teacher at the school. Her performance isn’t as good as it was in Elf, but she was understandably restricted by her role. I really like her voice, and I wish they would include her performances on the soundtracks. Still, because of her the score is far higher than it would have been otherwise.

Soundtrack = 15

Quote/Catch Phrase

One of the themes of the movie was encapsulated in a rather trite line that was unfortunately uttered in variant forms on more than one occasion, “Just close your eyes and keep your mind wide open.”

I personally thought the best line of the film was, “Free to pee.” It was chanted in a rather cheesy but still moderately amusing moment in the film.

Quote/Catch Phrase = 10


I only watched Bridge to Terabithia because I confused it with The Last Mimzy which I kind of wanted to see because Rainn Wilson is in it. With either film, I expected the typical, dumbed-down excrement that gets pawned off to kids in films. Why can’t these types of movies be more like The Princess Bride and less like The ButterCream Gang?

There were moments in Terabithia that left me stunned. One in particular leaps to mind. Robb’s character, Leslie, explains to Hutcherson’s Jesse why a bully had been in the bathroom crying all day at school. It turns out the bully was being abused by her father, and the other kids in her class found out. The bully was embarrassed, and kids being the nasty, foul creatures they are, heaped salt on the wound with constant ridicule. So far, so good in terms of believability and lack of absurdity.

Jesse then asks Leslie what she said to help soothe the agony of their former bully. Her answer made my jaw drop, and I was aghast that no adult was enlisted to somehow correct their deficient rationality later in the film. Leslie apparently told the bully that she, Leslie, had no TV, and that kids made fun of her for that. Thus, she knew how the slightly older, female bully felt. Apparently, it’s not the mental or physical scars from the abuse itself, but the mockery from peers that causes the victims so much turmoil. The obvious solution then is to just give the victims a television set. That’d make ’em feel better.

As lame as certain aspects of the story were, the plot development caught me completely off guard. I guess the fact that it was based on a book helped, because it’s atypical for films that focus on a younger audience.

Leslie and Jessie would play in a dream world that, in some respects at least, became real. The way into their fantasy land of Terabithia required a rope swing across a stream. The potential failure of the rope was foreshadowed quite clearly, but the ultimate fallout of the foreshadowing took me by surprise. Up until this point, I thought the movie lacked any value aside from Deschanel. It had nothing new to offer, dragged, and followed the cliched formula for family movies.

I don’t want to say exactly what takes place as it would lessen the effectiveness of the film. I kept waiting for certain things to happen, but they never did and my estimation for the film increased as a result. It still isn’t an earth-shattering cinematic experience, but even with some pacing issues and trite scenes thrown in here and there, I think a younger audience might be able to take some valuable life lessons from the film.

I want to say more, but I don’t want to ruin what little the movie has to offer in case anyone wants to see it.

Story = 15


I could see watching the film another time or two with children around, but otherwise I can’t see myself just having the desire to watch it. I take that back. I really like Zooey Deschanel, and might watch it once more for her, but not for quite some time. Besides, I could just slap in Elf or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for a Deschanel fix.

Rewatchability = 10

Total Score = 63


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