A home without books is like a room without windows.
-- Horace Mann

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

The previews for this beloved movie tried to trick people into thinking it was an adventure movie with lots of special effects. The real "special" effect is going to be the one it has on people who watch.

When I went to see the "Charlotte's Web" movie at the theater, I saw a preview for "Bridge to Terabithia". I had seen a huge display before entering the theater and I got excited. Back in 1985, a made-for-TV movie of the book Bridge to Terabithia was made. It was not impressive. The acting was not very good. However, the worst part was that there were a lot of things changed. Many teachers (myself included) have used the book and the old movie to teach students to compare and contrast versions and events. Almost always, students agree that the book version was better.

I had been hoping that this new movie would "fix" the discrepancy and give us a good movie version of this powerful book. When I saw the previews, my hopes were SHATTERED! The preview looked like a "Chronicles of Narnia"/"Lord of the Rings" rip-off! Lots of fantasy views and magical creatures coming to life! And it was described as an "adventure" movie. I was thinking to myself, "Okay, did the movie makers even READ the book?!?!" It's a friendship story!! All the "adventure" takes place in the imaginations of the two lead characters. The point of the book is about being friends, NOT about swinging across a river and entering a fantasy realm where you must fight for your life!!! When I saw the preview, I expected the worst!!! I am happy to report that my expectations were wrong.

This movie version (2007) actually hit the nail pretty squarely on the head. That means, they did it right! All the fantasy elements in the preview take up about 10-15 minutes in the movie and the rest of it is taken straight from the book. (In the book, the fantasy is there, but it's not spelled out for the reader like it is in this movie.) Just like the book, you get drawn in to the friendship between Jesse and Leslie and, like the book, you really feel the impact of the ending. The movie, though it was really well done (especially compared to the 1985 version), was still not a great one. I might give it a 7 out of 10. But, it was very good. However, if you are going to watch it, I still recommend reading the book first!

(Last modified:08/24/2007)

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