Bridge to Terabithia (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jess (Josh Hutcherson) has a rough time at school, with bullies always on his case, but he tries to do his best. At home, he finds little comfort, as a lot is asked of him, but his parents’ attention seems to fall on his four sisters. But Jess does what he is told and to escape, he opens his notebook and creates a world with his artwork. Soon however, he finds another way to escape when he forges a friendship with new student Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), who is also not popular with the bullies. The two find a rope swing and on the other side, use their imaginations to create a world of their own, known as Terabithia. The two rule the land as King and Queen, but they have to fight off the Dark Master, giant trolls, and other creatures. At the same time, a teacher takes notice of Jess’ art and tries to encourage him to pursue his talents. Jess seems to finally found a balance in his life, but if that newfound happiness is threatened, can he push on and keep the hidden world of Terabithia alive?

I had high hopes for this movie, as the book was a favorite of mine as a child and seemed to be an ideal candidate to be brought to the big screen. As it turns out, while a little rushed overall, Bridge to Terabithia is a great movie for the entire family, one of the better made family friendly films in recent memory. The movie doesn’t talk down to kids at all, which is refreshing and manages to tell a superb story in a way that will keep viewers of all ages interested. If I had one complaint, the movie seems too short, almost rushed, but then again, perhaps I just wanted more. Even so, the story doesn’t seem abridged and really plays out well, simply fantastic work on a project that deserved a great cinematic treatment. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb are spot on, with performances good by any standard, not just one based on younger workers. Bridge to Terabithia is an excellent example of how to entertain the entire family and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Video: How does it look?

Bridge to Terabithia is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a spectacular presentation, one that really brings both of the movie’s worlds to life in dynamic fashion. The image is clean from grain and debris of course, while detail is high and provides ample depth. You’ll notice fine details on closeups as expected, but the depth really adds realism to the visuals, especially in the forest world of Terabithia. The colors are bright and bold, but within a natural scope and as far as contrast, black levels are accurate and never waver in the least. This is a just a top notch presentation and one that shows us why high definition is so worth it, great work from Disney.

Audio: How does it sound?

While not as dynamic as the visuals, the included uncompressed Dolby Digital 5.1 option is more than up to the task and provides an immersive experience. The soundtrack is reserved in most scenes, but comes to life in Terabithia, so you’ll feel like you are in the forest world yourself. I was impressed by the surround presence in those scenes, as there was power, but also subtle things that really enhanced the atmosphere. In most other scenes the audio is more laid back, but still sounds very good. I found dialogue to be crisp and clear, while the music has power and presence. This disc also includes a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track, French and Spanish language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Though not advertised, this release does include an audio commentary track, two of them in fact. Up first is director Gabor Csupo, who is joined by writer Jeff Stockwell, and producer Hal Lieberman. This is the option for those of you interested in the more technical side of brining Terabithia to the screen. Never dull by any means, but the track is more focused on production details, as opposed to personal stories or memories of the shoot. But if you want a more personal experience, then check out the second track with producer Lauren Levine, who is joined by stars Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb. This is a more laid back, fun style track that gives us an “on the set” perspective. Behind the Book is a special look at how influential the novel was and as a treat, we even hear from author Katherine Paterson. Its cool to hear from various cast members as well as teachers and other education related workers, as to the power of this story. This disc also includes AnnaSophia’s music video Keep Your Mind Wide Open, as well as a brief look at the film’s special effects process.

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