Adaptation of Award-Winning Children’s Novel Arrives on DVD
Winner of the Newbery Award as the best children’s book of 1978, Bridge to Terabithia is a bittersweet, if ultimately uplifting, coming-of-age tale touching on a litany of themes, including fantasy, friendship and family. This faithful Disney adaptation of the Katherine Paterson best seller stars Josh Hutcherson, as Jesse, a shy ten year-old fed up with being teased at school. To garner a modicum of respect, he’s been in training all summer to be the fastest kid in the fifth grade.
AnnaSophia Robb co-stars as Leslie, a rough-and-tumble tomboy the same age who has just moved to town from the city. After she humiliates Josh by beating him in a boys-only foot race, he grudgingly accepts her overture of friendship. Gradually, the two hit it off, sharing ideas about dealing with bullies, and exploring darting into the woods behind their homes.
In the forest, they discover a rope swing across a river which leads to a tree house where they find Terabithia, a magical land that’s a product of their mutual imaginations. Unfortunately, tragedy eventually strikes, as the codeword ‘bittersweet’ often implies, and the ensuing grief provides the empathetic survivor a growth opportunity, and both an emotional and physical bridge to adult sensibilities.
Though only rated PG, the mature subject matter might prove to be too upsetting for younger tykes accustomed to happily-ever-after fare. Otherwise, this well-acted, CGI-driven drama is recommended as an optimistic, sensitive saga about mourning and renewal.
Bridge to Terabithia
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for scenes of peril, mature themes including bullying and mild epithets.
Running time: 94 minutes
Distributor: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Audio commentary by the director, the producer and the scriptwriter, another commentary by a different producer and co-stars AnnaSophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson, a music video, a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette, plus “Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life.”