Casabloga: Bridge to Terabithia

When I started this series years ago (has it really been over five years since my first entry in this series!?), there were a few titles I knew I would never review for various reasons. Some of them were things like the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies. I just felt it’d be wrong to consider them some of the greatest movies of all time. My mind is weird.

But one of them I made sure to never review was Bridge to Terabithia. Reason being that ever since I saw it for the first time in 2007, it’s been one of my favourite films of all time. For the longest time after seeing it, it was actually my number one favourite.

You Don’t understand, I was seriously obsessed with this movie. I bought the original book it was based on and read it, I wrote my own fan fiction (a prequel which explains how everything got there in the woods, but I ended up hating because it took away Leslie’s creativity), and actually wrote letters to some of the cast (I never sent any of them, but all of the letters were rather lengthy).

My point is that I didn’t want to review it because of my own bias. Nostalgia Critic reviewed the film and he tore it apart, and most of the comments were agreeing with him. So it’s definitely not a popular opinion to like this movie, much less consider it one of your favourite of all time.

So why am I doing this? Because it’s my rules, I can change them if I want to. You didn’t even know about that rule until I told you just now!

Last night, I found out that the 2007 Disney/Walden movie I have loved all these years (has it really been twelve years!?) was not the first film adaption. As obsessed as I was back in the day, I never even knew there was a Canadian movie made in 1985. It’s available in it’s entirety on YouTube. It’s just under an hour long, and I watched it last night. Let me tell you my thoughts on that movie.




The following is from the Wikipedia article for the 1985 version:

The story was based on the death of Lisa Hill, the best friend of Katherine Paterson‘s son David, who was struck and killed by lightning when she was eight years old.

In a 2007 interview, David, who later co-wrote the 2007 movie version, referred to this version as being “like the crazy cousin in a mental hospital that nobody talks about” and goes on to say that “no one on our side was either involved with it or happy with the final product.”

So, it’s so bad that the family had nothing to do with it (and has nothing to do with it). It hurt having to sit through that, because the acting was terrible, writing was terrible, and there’s a part at the end where they had to dub in the kid playing Jess and it sounds like a voiceover.

Tonight, I found out that the good Terabithia is on Netflix. How I didn’t know that already is beyond me, but I decided to watch it since it’s been like six years since I’ve last seen it.

Seeing it after watching the 1985 mess makes me appreciate the 2007 masterpiece so much more! It’s essentially the same story, and even some scenes are word-for-word for the most part. But the 2007 version has much better acting, and is shot better, and everything.

Not going to lie; the book, while really good, is kind of empty. The 1985 film follows the book more than the new one did. But this time it’s actually a good thing. For the 2007 film, they took what the book offered and expanded on the story, added characters and scenes, etc. The original movie actually seems to hurry along as fast as it can. Janice upsets Maybelle, Jess and Leslie promise to get her back, they write a fake love letter, Janice falls for it, cries, Leslie finds out Janice’s father hits her. It goes by that fast. In the new movie, they slow down and what I just described takes at least ten minutes to unfold. If I hadn’t seen the 2007 one already, I would have been completely lost while watching the 1985 one.

The soundtrack is also another thing I love about this movie. The opening theme is incredible, and has an epic sense of wonder to it. If I didn’t know it was from a movie, hearing it by itself would make me want to go on a fantastical adventure. Then you’ve got the songs they chose, all of which seem to feel just right for this movie.

There’s even an all-star cast. AnnaSophia Robb (Because of Winn-Dixie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jumper), Josh Hucherson (Zathura, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Hunger Games series), Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, Elf, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Fire in the Sky, The Unit), Bailee Madison (Wizards of Waverly Place, Once Upon a Time, The Fosters) and Latham Gaines (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, King Kong).

The 2007 film had me bawling the first time I saw it (heck, almost every time I see it). The last half hour was done so well, that it’s literally impossible to not at least feel sad while watching it. The 1985 film was so poorly done that I couldn’t help laughing at how bad it was. Especially at the end. That’s not the reaction you’re supposed to have while watching that.

To end this, I will say that I highly recommend watching the Disney/Walden Bridge to Terabithia from 2007 if you get a chance. As I said, it’s on Netflix.