Monday, March 12, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia

As a child I read Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, but I only have vague recollections of it. I remembered it was sad at the end, and I remembered the magic was only in the creditable imaginations of the children. This was a bit of a disappointment to someone who was always trying to crack through the backs of wardrobes, knowing Narnia DEFINITELY existed. I do also remember that it was the first Newberry Award book I read, impressing upon me as a child that Newberry books were good but not always the most fun.

That said, when I saw the trailer for Bridge to Terabithia, I was aghast. Something was very wrong; it appeared that Disney had taken the book, more about childhood friendship and struggles than fantasy, and turned it into some kind of unrecognizable CGI atrocity to capitalize on the recent popularity of Peter Jackson's butchering of The Lord of the Rings (which I still refuse to watch because I love the books so fervently) and Disney's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (in which I quite liked the young actress who plays Lucy but was otherwise underwhelmed without being particularly offended).

Fortunately, I read this review by a writer who shared my own concerns, and I was pleased to hear that the trailer was misleading and the movie was indeed faithful to the book (aside from changing the time period and location). Memories of the story came back to me when I was watching the movie last night, and I may have enjoyed the movie as an adult more than I did the book as a child, probably because I was too young to appreciate the pathos. I certainly cried an ocean of tears, and I was impressed by the principal actors (young, independent, and likable without seeming cloying or melodramatic). I must say, my favorite person in the movie was little May Belle, who was so adorable she sent me into spasms of delight. She may have been even more endearing to me than the little actress who played Lucy in LW&W. It's hard to say because I'm so overcome with my recent May Belle love.


Phil K. said...

Wow. I seem to recall your hold-out on the Rings trilogy but it's unfounded, at best.

I've never met a fan of the books who didn't think Pete Jackson got at least MOST of it dead-on...until I met you. :)

We'll get you someday.

Watoosa said...

Oh, man, you're just hanging out with the wrong people, Phil! I can think of 5 LOTR fans right off the bat who saw the trilogy and were ultimately very disappointed. All of them told me I made the right decision by not seeing them and several wished they had done the same. Most of the book fans I've talked to at least agreed that there was no way to successfully translate all the richness of the books into film. Ickie did like the first movie okay but not the second and third. When he and my best friend came home and told me about the changes Jackson made in the 2nd book, we were all furious. My dad (a reader) watched the first movie and didn't bother watching any more. I'm just not willing to compromise on these.

hambone said...

Hey, Phil -- you sound just like another friend of ours. :)

Despite going into the films with genuine open-mindedness, by the end of the LOTR trilogy, I was unhappy with them. The first was fine, and I liked TTT the best of all, but I felt that Aragorn's character had been butchered, as had his relationship with Elrond and Arwen. Despite how beautifully done the movies were, by the end of ROTK, I was bored and angry.

Anyway, Beth: There was an interview with Katherine Patterson on NPR's ATC a few weeks ago that made me feel so much better about the movie. The trailer makes the movie look so deceiving, and I didn't realize that her son actually wrote the screenplay. The interview was lovely. You should try to find it and listen to it...

Have you read Jacob Have I Loved? I'd be interested in knowing what you think of it.