Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia

How about a decent film version of a classic movie for my first movie post? I guess I read this book as a kid, but I didn't remember it until I read it with my 5th and 6th grade special ed. students a couple years ago. It's quite a tear-jerker! I like the book a lot. The movie's not bad, but I'd just call it an above-average pre-teen/teen flick.

One quibble I had is the overdone fantasy sequences in Terabithia. First of all, the previews all made it look like that would be the focus of the film, but it wasn't at all. Second of all, they did not get so much treatment in the book. I think they must have wanted to build on the Chronicles of Narnia audience. Walden Media produced both, and there was a bit of "If you liked Lion, Witch, etc., you will like Bridge. . . ." in the promotion.

As a Christian I was intrigued by the theological interplay between Jess and Leslie. Leslie goes to church with Jess's family, and expresses her appreciation for the gospel. Jess and his sister, life-long churchgoers, aren't too impressed--offended by the "scandal of the cross." Jess says, "You have to believe it, and you hate it. I don't have to believe it, and I think it's beautiful." At the end, Jess's dad assures Jess, "I don't know everything about God, but I do know he's not going to send that little girl to Hell." Not really deep theology here, but certainly some fodder for discussion.

The best thing about this movie: my wife watched with me! Usually she's ready for bed long before me, as soon as the kids are settled in, leaving me to stay up watching with my headphones on. But we snuggled up and watched this one together. What a treat!

Bottom line, a strong two stars.

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