Science fiction and fantasy
Bridge To Terabithia
directed by Gabor Csupo
Then one day a new girl arrives at school. At first Leslie upsets Jess by beating all the boys in a race, when winning it had been very important to him. But the two soon become friends. Leslie stands out because her parents won't allow her to watch any TV, and she tends to attract more than her fair share of abuse from the school bullies. However it's more than persecution that unites the two children. Leslie has a vivid imagination. When they explore the local woods, looking for a place that's their own, she keeps making up stories that bring the place to life. Together they create the fantasy land of Terabithia.
Terabithia is a place they can go in order to escape from the problems of everyday life, a place ruled by magic and fantasy. For Jess, it's somewhere to go when his father demands he get his head out of the clouds. Leslie's boundless enthusiasm and her ability to make detailed descriptions of unreal places and creatures begin to make the kingdom come to life for them.
The young actors put in some very convincing performances. It's in large part thanks to them that this story has a very powerful emotional impact, because they manage to make both the real and the unreal believable. This is a moving tale, a tear-jerker with a very human heart.
The special effects make a fairly brief appearance, but they are carefully done nonetheless. There are hairy vultures, squogres (a cross between a squirrel and an ogre), a giantess with vegetation for hair, and several other types of creature. For brief scenes the film is transformed from the dullness of the everyday into pure fantastical eye-candy, with stunningly photorealistic effects.
Bridge to Terabithia touches on themes of bullying, poverty and loss that will appeal to adults as well as older children. It's a well-paced movie with enough entertainment value to hold your attention. In places it's poignant, but the overall effect is utterly charming.
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Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Gabor Csupo