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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Gabor Csupo
Cast:
Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler, Devon Wood, Emma Fenton, Grace Brannigan
Writing Credits:
Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson, Katherine Paterson (book)

Tagline:
The beloved novel comes to life.

Synopsis:
From Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media comes Bridge to Terabithia, the exhilarating and heartwarming fantasy-adventure about the power of imagination and the magic of friendship. Tired of being bullied at school and neglected at home, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke escape into the woods, where Leslie opens Jess's mind to the amazing kingdom of Terabithia. It's a secret land where they reign supreme among the giants, ogres and other fantastical creatures they create. As their imaginations soar and their friendship deepens, they discover how to rule their own kingdom, fight the forces of darkness and change their lives forever. Based on the Newbery Medal-winning book, Bridge to Terabithia will take you on a journey you'll never forget.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$28.536 million on 3139 screens.
Domestic Gross
$81.723 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles::
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 6/19/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Gabor Csupo, Writer Jeff Stockwell and Producer Hal Lieberman
• Audio Commentary with Actors Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb and Producer Lauren Levine
• “Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life” Featurette
• “Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia” Featurette
• Music Video
• Sneak Peeks


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Bridge To Terabithia (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 14, 2007)

A family-oriented drama with fantasy elements, 2007’s Bridge to Terabithia introduces us to two pre-teen outcasts. Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) lives with his poor farm family and gets hassled by his classmates. New arrival Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) doesn’t get a warm welcome from the other kids either, partially since her parents are crunchy granola free spirits.

After a rough start with each other, new neighbors Jess and Leslie become pals. They start to hang out after school and explore the nearby woods. Along the way, Leslie’s natural storytelling abilities take hold, and she weaves a tale about the kingdom of Terabithia. Jess buys into these notions as well. The film follows their imaginary adventures as well as the impact these fantasies have on their normal lives.

When I went into Bridge, I didn’t know what to expect. Would this be some cheap kiddie drama or a tacky, predictable fantasy? The ads I’d seen didn’t tell us much, so I wasn’t sure where it’d go.

Whatever I expected, Bridge wasn’t it. Instead of some pandering, dumbed-down kiddie flick, the movie offered a surprisingly rich and emotional affair. For one, it offered an honest view of kids. The film doesn’t make its characters precocious wisecrackers or abnormal basket cases. Our leads are minor outcasts, but they’re not cartoony freaks. They’re just kids who don’t quite fit in with the norm, and they deal with that as best they can.

This side of things allows the Jess/Leslie relationship to prosper. Given their pubescent ages, we suspect some romantic feeling between them, but Bridge doesn’t zap us with those notions. They remain subtext at best, as it treats the kids in a frank, clean manner.

This goes for all the relationships and characters. Bridge depicts the supporting roles in an almost shockingly three-dimensional manner. Even the usual bullies get some realism to them and aren’t stuck as wild-eyed psychos. There’s nothing broad or caricatured on display here.

When Bridge enters territory that could be seen as Afterschool Special material, it continues to remain simple and unassuming. For instance, midway through the flick, one of our leads chats with a bully and learns some dark secrets. We don’t see this conversation, and the film doesn’t give us some weepy “emotional breakthrough”/bonding moment. Instead, the sequences play out in a quiet, thoughtful way that allows us to enjoy them even more.

I like the depiction of the fantasy elements as well. I feared that Bridge would turn into one big, goofy adventure story, but instead, it uses those moments as embellishment, not as the main thrust. We remain deeply rooted in the kids’ lives and those concerns, which means we get the fantasy scenes as a treat that fleshes out the main action.

As for the emotional side of things, those pack a big punch. I don’t want to get into them in too much detail, since foreknowledge will possibly mar the impact. Suffice it to say that I didn’t expect the twist, and it really leveled me.

When that occurred, I realized just how much I’d been sucked into Bridge. Oh, I’d enjoyed the film up until that point and thought it worked well. However, only when the tale took its turn did I come to understand how much I’d come to care about the characters. I don’t get weepy at movies very often – hardly ever, really – but this one got to me.

All of this occurred due to the wonderfully natural and true way that Bridge plays. You won’t find a forced emotion or a melodramatic moment in this simple, honest and powerful film. Given that I thought it’d be a dopey kiddie flick, all this was a very pleasant surprise. This is the kind of film that forces you to run to your friends and insist they see it.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Bridge to Terabithia appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, the movie boasted a strong transfer.

Only a few minor issues affected sharpness. I noticed very minor softness in some wife shots, but those examples occurred infrequently. The majority of the flick looked concise and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized. Both edge enhancement and source flaws also appeared absent.

Bridge went with a warm, natural palette that looked very good. The tones seemed very well rendered, as the film made them glow in an appealing manner. Blacks were deep and full, while low-light shots seemed clear and well developed. This was an appealing image.

I also found much to like from the flick’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Given the character-oriented nature of the movie, much of it went with general ambience. However, all of the fantasy bits allowed the mix to broaden in a satisfying manner. The elements spread across the various channels and presented a nice sense of place and action. All the different components created a solid package.

Audio quality was quite positive as well. Speech was crisp and natural, with no edginess or intelligibility issues. Music appeared bright and dynamic, while effects came across as realistic and bold. The fantasy pieces packed a good punch, especially when they kicked deep bass into the action. Overall, I thought the audio succeeded well.

When we look at the disc’s extras, we open with two separate audio commentaries. The first presents director Gabor Csupo, screenwriter Jeff Stockwell and producer Hal Lieberman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss cast and performances, story and character issues, the adaptation of the source novel, shooting in New Zealand, visual effects and other technical elements, and a mix of other production subjects.

The three participants create a reasonably engaging commentary. They toss out a little too much of the usual happy talk, and the piece doesn’t ever become terribly deep, but it digs into appropriate topics and does so in a likable manner. This allows the track to keep us interested as it tells us a little about the flick.

For the second commentary, we hear from actors Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb and producer Lauren Levine. Those three also sit together for their own running, screen-specific chat. They cover general topics like experiences during the shoot and their impressions of various elements.

Actor commentaries often don’t work very well, and the inclusion of kids usually makes things worse. Happily, this trio offers a pretty decent discussion. No, it never becomes especially involving or rich, but it remains peppy and likable. The kids and Levine provide just enough useful info to make this one acceptable.

Two featurettes follow. Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life runs five minutes, 56 seconds and presents movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We locate notes from Levine, Csupo, Hutcherson, author Katherine Paterson, executive producer Alex Schwartz, producer/screenwriter David Paterson, Walden Media CEO Cary Granat, digital effects supervisor Dan Lemmon, Weta Workshop’s Richard Taylor, art director for visual effects Michael Pangrazio, visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken, and lead animator David Clayton.

“Life” looks at various digital effects used in the movie. At less than six minutes, it’s way too short to offer a substantial examination of these issues. It manages to provide some interesting moments but it needs much more time to delve into the material.

Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia lasts 14 minutes, 28 seconds and features Robb, Katherine and David Paterson, Hutcherson, Los Angeles Public Library Director of Children’s Services Ilene Abramson, teacher Leanne C. Marquez, Cal State University Children’s Literature adjunct professor Nonie Smith, librarian Melissa Messner, and actor Zooey Deschanel. They discuss character and story issues in Bridge.

The best parts of “Book” come from the Patersons. They offer insights into the real-life experiences that influenced the novel. Otherwise, “Book” comes short on substance and long on praise. We hear about what a fine piece of work Bridge is as a text, but we don’t gain many real insights.

We find a music video for “Keep Your Mind Wide Open” by AnnaSophia Robb. Both the song and the clip are generic and completely forgettable.

At the start of the disc, we get ads for Underdog, The Jungle Book, Meet the Robinsons and High School Musical: The Concert – Extreme Access Pass. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Santa Clause 3, Hannah Montana and Disney Movie Rewards.

I went into Bridge to Terabithia with the expectation I’d find a low rent version of Narnia. However, I found much, much more from this rich, layered and moving tale. The DVD offers very positive picture and audio as well as a mix of acceptably useful extras. I highly recommend this excellent film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2391 Stars Number of Votes: 46
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02:
51:
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