movie film review | chris tookey

Bridge to Terabithia

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  Bridge to Terabithia Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
8.00 /10
Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel
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Directed by: Gabor Csupo
Written by: Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson

Released: 2007
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 95

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As a father, a writer, and a lover of the imagination, Iíd think Iíd be all over Bridge to Terabithia, director Gabor Csupoís big screen adaptation of Katherine Patersonís childrenís novel, a story that celebrates the magic of imagination. And yet thereís not a single minute of this movie that I liked, let alone admired. This is a horrible little movie, stupid and clunky and obnoxious through and through... Never mind the ridiculousness of having a couple of grade schoolers building a treehouse that would put professional carpenters to shame, or of having one characterís parents turning the chore of painting the living room into a funky dance party. These montages, set to a hipster soundtrack, are so corny and hackneyed that one half expects to see Sylvester Stallone somewhere in the background, training for the big fight. The story, bursting with potential, stumbles with every scene... Itís one thing to have a coming-of-age drama overloaded with all the wrong cliches (the gruff parent who just doesnít understand; the bully with powers of persuasion far beyond mere mortals; the sympathetic grown-up - in this case, Zooey Deschanel as a music teacher who teaches the class how to sing groovy classic rock; and, in the movieís most laughable offense, a classroom that, despite being in the whitest, most rural part of the entire nation, is made up like a Benetton ad - all that was missing was a kid in full Indian Chief headdress), but the ensuing mixture of drama and fantasy fails over and over again. You see, as Jesse and Leslie build their pretend world in their minds, we get to see their imaginations brought to life. Or maybe not, maybe their imaginations really have come to life - how else to explain Jesse being lifted by a troll and other such things? The film never explains where the line is drawn... This is one stupid, stupid movie, riddled with plot holes and hackneyed characters and some truly awful dialogue. Itís an obnoxious movie about obnoxious kids, and it hurts from the very first frame.

(David Cornelius, efilmcritic)

A great many problems with Bridge to Terabithia could have been solved by casting, and unfortunately director Gabor Csupo gets that wrong from the start. The protagonist, Jesse Aarons, a lonely fifth grader in a small town, is played with sullen inattention by Josh Hutcherson. His better half is Leslie Burke, the new girl in town, performed by AnnaSophia Robb with a bright and shallow perkiness that suggests a callow Keira Knightley 10 years ago. With not much going in the way of interpersonal chemistry between the two leads, it's difficult for the film's rather (on the surface) uneventful and deeply interior story to gain much traction... For Bridge to Terabithia to work at all, it needed a strong dose of something that is simply not here. The brightly generic camerawork, cliche-clogged screenplay, flat acting styles (though character actors like Robert Patrick and Zooey Deschanel do decent work in small roles), and a couple preachy nods to the wonders of religion reduce this potentially heartbreaking tale to something cheap and ordinary. This isn't art, it's product.

(Chris Barsanti,

When the special effects arenít getting in the way, the kidsí imaginary scenes have a hazy, shimmering quality, as if the potential of a long afternoon with no homework could be measured in waves.

(Marrit Ingman, Austin Chronicle)

Some literal-minded attempts at magical realism are redeemed by the film's emotional texture, winning chemistry between the tyke leads and scrupulous adherence to a childlike point of view.

(Justin Chang, Variety)
This family feature from the Christian production company Walden Media is something of a disappointment after its excellent Holes and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
(J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

For a movie about the power of imagination, Bridge to Terabithia is not as clever as you would hope.

(Claudia Puig, USA Today)

The movie - which never decides if it's a fantasy or coming-of-age story - spends a lot of time away from Terabithia; that also leaches out the wonder. The boy seems more excited that Zooey Deschanel is his hottie music teacher than he is to see tree men in the forest.

(Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly)

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