Bridge To Terabithia (2007)

THE SCOOP
Director: Gabor Csupo
Plot: A pre-teen's life is changed after befriending the new girl at school.

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Fantasy
Awards: -
Runtime: 95min
Rating: PG for thematic elements including bullying, some peril and mild language.

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IN RETROSPECT
From the marketing gimmicks, one can't be wrong to assume Bridge To Terabithia to be the kind of movie you bring your kids to. After the debacle of The Chronicles Of Narnia, most will approach this with caution. Surprisingly, the creators of Narnia manage to face-lift the fantasy adventure genre with one of this year's better offerings. Bridge To Terabithia surpasses Narnia in every way but still falls short of the remarkable standards set by the Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth. While Pan's Labyrinth isn't made to entertain young kids, Bridge To Terabithia appeals to both kids and grown-ups.

The film is upbeat from the start, with Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb giving excellent displays, personifying their roles to the extent that they become believable in a world of fantasy. While it's not entirely a fantasy film (in fact only about a fifth of the screen time is limited to it), Bridge To Terabithia gives a good account of what defines imagination and reality. Towards the middle, there's a dramatic turn of events (I'll not reveal any spoilers) that allows the film to work at the emotional level apart from our physical senses. One setback, however, is the abrupt conclusion that somewhat feels ill-timed, one that makes viewers go "You mean that's all?!" when the end credits roll.

The CGI employed is useful and thankfully, not overdone. It's more expertly accomplished than in Narnia (which looks fake in most scenes), and does correctly not to overshadow the leading cast's exceptional performance. Bridge To Terabithia is a rich and involving story about friendship and imagination, a fresh family feature that will surprise many as it did surprised me. It's a simple concept furnished in a manner that justifiably makes Terabithia an early summer hit.

SCORE: 7.5/10

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