If you’re expecting Bridge to Terabithia to be a special effects saga of epic proportions like the Harry Potter series or Chronicles of Narnia, clear your mind of such expectations. While each of these films are based on novels, the comparisons end there.
Adapted by Jeff Stockwell and David Paterson from a Newbery Award-winning book, Bridge is the story of a blossoming friendship between imaginative new kid in school Leslie (Robb) and shy artistic Jess (Hutcherson), overwhelmed by his four sisters and overbearing father.
The two forge a special bond when they swing across an enchanted rope into a magical realm of make believe where they reign as king and queen, Terabithia.
Not an alternate universe, mind you, but a glorified tree house where they can go to escape bullies, absent parents and the perils of junior high while they battle imagined creatures and try to evade the Dark Master.
An atypical kids’ movie, Bridge is more about the relationship between the characters and the struggles of youth than it is about flashy special effects and cheesy one-liners, unlike so many of its counterparts. This movie is meaningful, sweet and touching.
But with the camera lingering ominously over the water as the kids swing back and forth between the real world and the one they’ve created, you’ll know soon there’s a hard lesson to be learned here so keep your hankies handy. This one’s actually a tear-jerker of My Girl-like proportions.