Bridge to Terabithia was released in February of 2007. According to IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398808/awards), the movie was nominated for 8 awards and won 6 of those. It won 5 Young Artist Awards and it also won the Camie award for a Theatrical Film at the Charater and Morality for Entertainment Awards. As of 28 June 2007, the movie had grossed a little over $82,000,000 in the United States. On its opening weekend, the movie took in a little under $30,000,000 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398808/). The majority of the filming took place in New Zealand (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398808/locations). The move is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America.
This movie includes many actors and actresses that you have seen in other movies. Josh Hutcherson plays Jesse “Jess” Aarons. Josh played Sean Anderson in Journey to the Center of the Earth and Laser in The Kids Are All Right. Robert Patrick plays Jack Aarons (Jess Aarons father). Patrick has been in movies such as The Men Who Stare at Goats, Walk the Line, and Spy Kids. AnnaSophia Robb plays Leslie Burke (becomes Jess Aarons best friend). Robb has been in movies such as Race to Witch Mountain and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Zooey Deschanel plays Ms. Edmunds (Jess and Leslie’s music teacher). You have seen Deschanel in movies such as Yes Man, The Happening, and Elf. Bailee Madison plays May Belle Aarons (Jess Aarons little sister). You have seen Bailee in films such as Saving Sarah Cain, Brothers, and Phoebe in Wonderland. See IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398808/) for more information about this movie.
At the beginning of the movie we see that Jess Aarons has not quite found his place at home or at school. His home life is complicated because of his four sisters and his school life is far from perfect because of the bullies. Aaron’s world starts to make sense when Leslie Burke, the new girl at school, enters the picture.
Leslie lives right across the road from Jess and Leslie, like Jess, is not exactly the most popular girl at school. One day as Jess and Leslie are walking down a dirt path, they find a rope swing that swings over a small creek. After playing on the swing for a few minutes, they decide to swing across the creek. After swinging across the creek a few times, Leslie eventually persuades the already creative Jess to enter the make-believe world of Terabithia. Terabithia is basically the land beyond the creek and it becomes Jess and Leslie’s fantasy world with wild animals and mythical creatures. It also doesn’t hurt that school yard bullies are not present in this world.
Despite the flourishing of Jess and Leslie’s friendship, Jess continues to struggle to find his identity within his family. Jess enjoys drawing but his Dad (more on this later) and the rest of his family never recognize or enourage Jesse’s artistic ability. Jesse’s parents spend most of their time doting on Jesse’s baby sister and May Bell. While on the surface it seems that Leslie has a great family, one gets the feeling that maybe things are not entirely as they seem within the Burke family. Leslie’s parents are authors and do not always have a lot of time for her.
After conquering the school bully (Janice Avery), one might start to believe that Jess and Leslie ride off into the sunset. Jess gets a great suprise one weekend morning when his teacher (Ms. Edmunds), who he also has a little crush on, calls to invite him to go with her to the musuem in the city. Ms. Edmunds comes to pick Jess up and as they leave to head toward the city it is easy to see that Jess is having some regrets about not inviting Leslie on their little trip.
When Jess gets back from his great day with Ms. Edmunds, he finds his family in the living room crying. They make the comment that they thought he was dead and this hits Jess like a bag of rocks. They explain to him that Leslie fell and hit her head while trying to swing across the creek and that she has died. Jess refuses to believe it and runs over to her house where he sees police cars.
When Jess returns to school, he gets into a fight with some of the bullies in his class. Janice Avery, a former enemy/now friend because of Leslie, punches one of the bullies in the nose and causes him to bleed.
One day May Belle asks Jess if he will take her to Terabithia. She even follows him when he says no and when Jess sees her following him he even pushes her down he is so mad. Eventually, he apologize to May Belle and builds a bridge across the stream where the rope used too be. He invites May Belle to Terabithia and makes her the new prince of the magical land.
There are a few things I want to mention. I could not help but wonder if Jesse’s character mirrored the life of certain people working at Disney. Jesse’s dad would sometimes make fun of him because he liked to draw and I would almost certainly say that many of the creative people working at Disney must have felt the same way growing up. Also, the lady who plays Jess Aaron’s mother reminded me of an older (45 year old) Jessica Beal. Maybe that was just me.
Bridge to Terabithia is a great family movie. I would say that it is geared toward people between the ages of 5 and 14 but this 25 year old definitely enjoys watching it. For those of use who lived in a magical dream world when we were little, and sometimes even at an older age, this movie reminds us how much fun we had when we entered that magical land that no one could take away from us.