There are fantasies, and then there are stories about children who fantasize. There's a big difference between the two, and Bridge to Terabithia, which concerns two children who invent an imaginary kingdom in a hidden forest, is definitely the latter. But at times the filmmakers seem to think this movie ought to be a full-blown fairy tale, instead; that is certainly how the marketing team has tried to sell it, with posters and trailers that emphasize the special effects and refer to the kingdom of Terabithia as a place that is "discovered" rather than created by the children.
The result is a film that may turn away two of its biggest potential audiences, and for very different reasons. On the one hand, fans of Katherine Paterson's 30-year-old novel—which emphasizes the importance of children imagining things for themselves—may be turned off by the ads, which are filled with CGI creatures as if to say that children need not worry, the imagining has been done for them. And on the other hand, people who are drawn to the movie by the special effects may be disappointed to find out that the film actually stays fairly true to the book, much of which takes place in a poor farmer's home and the school his children attend.
Those who take a chance on the film, however, may find it a reasonably mature and even poignant story about friendship, family and tragic loss. It's about a boy named Jess Aarons (Zathura's Josh Hutcherson), who has both artistic and athletic aspirations: he loves to draw, and he wants to be the fastest boy in school. Jess doesn't get along with any of the other boys, and he doesn't get along too well with the females in his life, either. Not only is the biggest bully at school a girl by the name of Janice ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Bridge to Terabithia
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.