Brilliant, heartwarming, an unexpected treat.
Fifth grader Jesse Aaron’s (Josh Hutcherson) hopes of becoming the fastest runner in his class are dashed when new girl Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) outruns everybody, including him. However, they soon become friends and create an imaginary world called Terabithia, filled with fantastic creatures.
Firstly, I will admit that I have never read the book so I cannot make comparisons. BUT . . .
The most important thing when watching this film is to remember being a kid. As soon as the pair embark into the forest and create Terabithia, it made me nostalgic of when I once played crazy adventures in the garden.
At first, we see the kids using their imagination and pretending pine cones are grenades BUT as they keep going back, the forest becomes bigger and bolder. Their imaginary kingdom comes to life. The special effects are varied, from slightly cartoonish to visual delights (Understandable to an extent as it is now seven years old).
The film begins with the usual story of isolated bullied school kids who become friends, which makes for a slightly corny if very watchable first hour. The pair tackle their bullies, confront their fears and find escapism from their preoccupied families and stressful situations in a small forest near their homes.
It is a clever touch to see the ‘inhabitants’ of Terabithia reflecting a lot of their problems, with some of the evil crow creatures and trolls mimicking their bullies. An enjoyable romp that in one moment became so much more. I don’t want to say too much about the story because I want people to see this.
There was a twist that actually surprised me. *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* An unexpected tragedy transforms this film from a simple journey of two friends bonding and escaping their worries to one of preparing for the dangers of the real world, grief and growing up.
A subject matter that is delicately dealt with and brilliantly performed with emotional gravitas. A beautiful drama that mixes fantasy with the real world that may be unexpected for the little ones, so be warned.
An uplifting, emotional family drama that is worth a watch. Great writing and a great cast featuring the likes of Robert ‘T-1000’ Patrick as Aaron’s emotionally detached father and the beautiful Zooey ‘New Girl’ Deschanel as the zany music teacher (Why am I not surprised?).
It is great to see how far the young leads Hutcherson and Robb have progressed from this beautiful little film to featuring in bigger affairs such as Hunger Games and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
A surprise for a change.