Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Bridge To Terabithia

directed by Gabor Csupo

Bridge To Terabithia poster  
Some of the publicity images for Bridge to Terabithia might give the impression that this is a high fantasy romp involving magic and giants. In fact most of the drama is set in the real world and is based around the life of a schoolboy called Jess.

Jess is a fast runner, as well as a keen and talented artist. But he has few friends and gets bullied at school because of his poverty and hand-me-down clothes. At home he shares a house with four sisters and his parents, and muck in with lots of chores. It's a dreary and demanding life for the young lad.

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.

Film Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Films

  Kids     Fantasy

Classification: PG

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Gabor Csupo


winston     28th June, 2007 21:46pm

loved it can wait for the sequel

Sadie     7th September, 2008 13:38pm

Yeah Im wonderin myself why isn't their a sequel it's such a wonderful story it doesn't have to end with [spoiler edited out - R.J.] does it? my wish is simple a sequel, please I'm begging anyone who has the same feeling as me to make a statement on how much we demand for it.

Ros     7th September, 2008 17:07pm

I think the best you can hope for is more films from the same team, because I don't think this movie really lends itself to sequels. It's an adaptation of a novel by Katherine Paterson, and she's written quite a few others. She's won various awards for her books, so I imagine some of them would make good movies as well.