April 09, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia

I don't usually start entries in this manner, but I'm just going to say it now; people should see Bridge to Terabithia. I know it's a children's movie, but I think even adults will pick up a thing or two from it. To start off, it's a really, really good film. I know I always say how easy it is to impress me, but this one is probably one of my top children's movies of all time, including animated films. That's how good this movie is.

It's a giant metaphor to a lot of things: the combination of the innocence of a child, the obstacles children go through, the vast range of our imagination, and a lot more. The characters of the two main protagonist in the film embody what being young is about. The fascination kids have for things they haven't seen, the longing to belong to a group of people (preferably the cool kids), the ambition to create a better living atmosphere - one that does not involve monetary problems, bullying, pain - their own Terabithia.

I think what made the film relatable was the fact that it portrayed real scenarios and real emotions. It showed how Jess longed for the affection of his father and I think everyone went to that phase where we wanted to get the approval of our parents and did not want to disappoint them. There was also infatuation and how it made us feel. Of course, there were also frustrations of being picked on, and having people not like you. We all wanted to impress, and most of us failed miserably at that. I also kept on re-watching the scene where Jess' told about what happened to Leslie, and the scene where his father talks to him in the forest. Those scenes were genuine, and those scenes, I would assume, were the scenes where emotions were provoked and contemplation started. Those two scenes were the standouts for me.

Of course this film wouldn't have worked if it didn't have the strength the cast had. Five people made this film that special because of the level of brilliance they showcased. AnnaSophia Robb, who also starred in Race to Witch Mountain, really is a great actress. She channeled a strong girl facing the challenges of being a kid. I read it somewhere that she wrote a letter expressing her desire to play the role of Leslie. I'm just happy that whoever got that letter took notice cause she was perfect in this movie. Just the perfect balance of weird and charming.

It's funny how in the two movies I've seen Josh Hutcherson star in, his characters are a little weaker than that of the female lead (Jennifer Lawrence/Katniss in The Hunger Games and AnnaSophia Robb/Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia). Setting that aside, knowing that the film was made when he was much younger made me envious to a certain degree. At a young age, he had the maturity to take on a role like this, a kid dealing with bullying, guilt and death. Not just that, he was actually believable in his portrayal of his character. I wish I was as talented as he is. He displayed a wide variety of acting in this movie, ranging from comedic scenes to intense drama. He managed to channel all these different feelings and translate it to the camera while still keeping it genuine. That's a clear sign of his talent.

Robert Patrick as Jess' dad just came out of nowhere. I personally didn't care for the character in the beginning, and just when the film was reaching its climax, he made the character matter. As I've mentioned before, one of the stand out scenes for me was when he was talking to Jess in the forest about death and hell. Seeing that scene was a little depressing actually, but that's just cause the two actors were doing everything right. The funny thing is, I have seen a few of his movies, but he only had a small role in those movies. It was nice to witness the caliber of his work.

Bailee Madison provided comic relief throughout the entire film. She was just too funny in this movie, and I meant that in the best way possible. She had this charm that is impossible to resist. At such a young age, she has shown that she is a capable actress. It was a delight to see her in the film.

Zooey Deschanel didn't get a very big part of the film but I loved seeing all her scenes. Her scenes were always fun and light, and like a breath of fresh air to an otherwise heavy atmosphere(in the school setting). I wish the film featured her more. I thought the scene when she went to the museum with Jess might be boring, but I was wrong. Then I realized it was impossible for it to be boring because Zooey Deschanel was in it.

It took me a while to digest this movie, probably because it hit me hard. It's a depressing movie, in a sense that I was able to relate to the problems featured in this movie.  It's that kind of movie that keeps you smiling and lets you have a great time before dropping this enormous bomb right in front of you. A big part of it was the fact that I didn't read the book and had no idea what it was about. I just knew that when I found out about it when I was in high school I wanted to watch it. (We were supposed to, but my friends and I weren't able to go through with it.) Seeing the story develop caught me a little off guard.

I probably am overselling it to some of you, but trust me when I say it is a good film. It may probably get a little confusing at times, especially the scenes in Terabithia, but sit through it and you'll appreciate it just fine. Terabithia encapsulates that utopia we all want and the film did an amazing job in utilizing that.

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