I never read the children’s novel by the same name and after watching the movie, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s not that the movie was bad or anything, but it turned out to be such a downer, that I wouldn’t want to go through that as a kid. I have to admit that I was really struggling to get into the film during the first half, but when the ending hit, I found myself sobbing like a little schoolgirl. Go figure.
Unfortunately, the film suffers because of the ending. Again, I’m not familiar with the book, but the film wasn’t long enough for the audience to really appreciate the type of ending it gave us. There wasn’t enough substance there to make the movie anything more than an “ending”. In other words, in two weeks the only thing I’ll remember about this movie is the incredibly sad closing act.
Aside from the out of place ending, the movie still struggled. The actual world of Terabithia is, of course, a made up place the kids go to escape the troubles in their life. Unfortunately, the world is never developed and therefore the audience struggles to “see” what the kids see. We end up watching two kids play make-believe for 90 minutes. I would have liked to see the world actually created and explored. That would have enabled us to get into it more and would have relieved some of the awkwardness in the film.
The acting in the film was pretty decent all around. Zooey Dechasnel is great in everything she does and here she plays the supporting character pretty well. The kids got on my nerves in the beginning, but as the film went on, they seemed to get a little more comfortable with their characters. The highlight in the film was the directing of Gabor Csupo. I had never heard of Csupo before, but he did a good job with the material and I liked the little touches of originality he threw in there.
Commentary with Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb and Lauren Levine: These guys are great. It was funny because I was immediately surprised by how deep Josh’s voice was compared to the film and right after I thought that, he actually talks about it. He and AnnaSophia do a great commentary track and if you watch the film, I highly recommend making time for this commentary track. Regardless of what you think about the film, you’ll enjoy listening to these two.
Digital Imagination (5:57): This is pretty sub-par as far as behind the scenes featurettes go. It briefly touches on the work involved in bringing Terabithia to the big screen, but nothing that’s going to wow you.
Behind the Book (14:34): I’ll be honest with you, I had no intentions of reading the book, but I liked this featurette because it told me how great it was and all about what the book has to offer. I’m still not going to read it, but now I feel I can convince people I have.
There are also some Previews and a Music Video