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Bridge to Terabithia


Stars: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick

Director: Gabor Csupo

When 11-year-old Jess (Hutcherson), a sort of male Cinderella to his parents and four sisters, encounters bright, attractive new girl Leslie (Robb) at school, a loner like himself, their friendship is a no-brainer - in spite of Leslie proving the fastest runner in the school, while Jess finishes second.

The child of writers, Leslie uses her imagination, allied with Jess's talent for art, to create a forest world of their own, reached by swinging across a dangerous stream on an old rope. On the other side, they find an abandoned tree house, and invent a world full of trolls and monsters, while the squirrels that pelt them with cones become hairy vultures.

School bullies get their come-uppance and, indeed, this is all too good to be true. Until high drama beckons towards the end, the whimsy's a bit uneasy, with the stars looking a touch too mature to create an 11-year-olds' friendship, although Bailee Madison is cute and confident as the hero's six-year-old sister.

It's pleasant entertainment, all the same, if more suitable as afternoon TV or a video special for junior schoolers. The special effects, though, especially the panoramic view of Terabithia and its denizens at the end, are amazing in their detail.

David Quinlan

USA/New Zealand 2006. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour by Atlab.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 28 Apr 2007