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Bridge to Terabithia - family DVD review
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick
Director: Gabor Csupo   Studio: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 19 June 2007   Runtime: 94minutes, 1 disc
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1), Educational documentary "Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia," "Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life" featurette, "Keep Your Mind Wide Open" music video performed by AnnaSophia Robb, Commentary with Gabor Csupo, Jeff Stockwell & Hal Lieberman, Commentary by Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb & Lauren Levine

Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is a kid many of us can relate to. He's artistic and picked on by more than one bully in a school that seems to have a disproportionate ratio of bullies to victims. He gets pushed down in the hallway, made fun of in class, humiliated on the bus and seems to just endure it somehow. He trains to run in a school race, but his mom throws away his threadbare shoes and makes him wear his sister's old shoes with pink accents.

In walks Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb), the new girl in school. She effortlessly bests him in the race, which does nothing to earn his friendship, but when she reads a report she wrote on scuba diving, his artist's mind pictures elements of her story perfectly. Her words are precisely selected and inspire the mind's eye. They become the best of friends and create an imaginary kingdom called Terabithia in the woods near their rural neighborhood. They must swing over a creek to access this fantasy realm, and they spend their free time together developing the world - it's creatures and politics. There are giants and trolls and birds of prey to defend their stronghold from; Jesse draws much of this, while Leslie is good at fleshing out the details.

We discover that Leslie's parents are writers and mostly leave her to her own devices while they're working on a book. Jesse's parents seem perpetually worried about money,lways at the kitchen table with a calculator. Jesse's father (Robert Patrick) is stern with him and can't really relate to his soft-hearted son and his artistic endeavors. "Why don't you draw me some money?" he says at one point.

Ms. Edmonds (Zooey Deschanel) is Jesse and Leslie's music teacher, the kind you don't encounter too often. She plays the cool music and lets all the kids in the class bang away on instruments. She recognizes the talent in Jesse and takes him to the museum one day. She seems out of place in this cruel little school, too talented and full of light.

Something happens later in the story which I will not reveal, but it tests Jesse in a way children should never be tested. His solution is beautiful.

Bridge to Terabithia is a great fantasy film, but it left me wanting more. I wanted to see more of the mythical creatures Jesse and Leslie created and get to know them. The film doesn't take the time to let us love them before moving on. Maybe I just want to live more in the mythical world than the real one; I don't think I'll ever be too old for this kind of movie.

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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