Many movies based on books come out each year. However, few and far between ever achieve recognition for actually improving upon the original. And regardless, there will always be many who prefer the book versions for a multitude of reasons.
This year, some of the best movies were based on books, among them Best Picture Oscar nominees, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, and No Country For Old Men. However, I would like to endorse a less acclaimed movie from 2007: Bridge to Terabithia.
Walden Media has gone from an unknown to prominent film production company since its inception in 2002, helping to create more mature and sophisticated movies in a family genre that has been riddled with horrid slapstick comedies and poorly-acted wastes of time and money. Among Walden Media’s films are the acclaimed books-to-movies, Holes and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. While they aren’t all perfect or even extraordinary, Walden Media’ films have at least made the choice to produce meaningful tales as opposed to garbage.
I believe the movie version of Bridge to Terabithia conveys all the meaning of the book and then some. The original trailers for the movie were awful and misleading, causing some to believe that the beloved book had been turned into another sloppy kids movie. Why they chose the tactic they did I’ll never know. Fortunately, the movie plays nothing like the previews did, and the heart of the book is left intact.
This blog has always been about viewing the world differently, about not taking things for granted, and about creating one’s own identity. Somehow, I managed to find a movie that combines many of my beliefs into one. I’ll be the first to admit that some of the production values were less than perfect, and some of the soundtrack was a bit awkward, but the message got through more successfully than in some of the best movies I’ve seen.
This movie was clearly directed towards children, as was the book, but the idea of keeping an open mind and utilizing your imagination is often much more effective directed at an older age group. That’s why this movie makes a perfect family film. Too often people forget as they’re growing up what it’s like to dream. They’ve already accepted reality and whatever life seems to be laying directly in front of them. Those are the people who should watch this film.
By the way, I think AnnaSophia Robb made a fantastic Leslie Burke. It’s not an easy task to create someone that leaves such an impact near the movie’s end.
Keep an open mind. Find beauty even in the things you don’t believe. And for the love of all, we should invite Leslie next time. She’d like that.