BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA  [Blu-ray] [USA Release]
Soars with Fantasy and Imagination!
Fantasy/Adventure tale is presented by the Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, comes ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA,’ that soars to exhilarating new heights on this Blu-ray disc. Based on the Newbery Medal winning book “Bridge to Terabithia.” This heart-warming classic about the power of friendship and the magic of imagination that is most inspiring than ever in this breath-taking format.
Tired of being bullied at school and neglected at home, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke escape into the woods, where Leslie opens Jess's mind to the amazing kingdom of Terabithia. It's a secret land where they reign supreme among the giants, ogres and other fantastical creatures they create. As their imaginations soar and their friendship deepens, they discover how to rule their own kingdom, fight the forces of darkness and change their lives forever. It's a secret land where they reign supreme among the giants, ogres and other fantastical creatures they create. Now, seeing and hearing is believing and especially with this Disney Blu-ray disc, it virtually "transforms" this imaginary realm into mind-blowing reality with astoundingly rich picture clarity and resounding spectacular enhanced audio. Live the adventure, cross the "Bridge" as if for the very first time, and allow yourself to be transported with Disney Blu-ray in the Magic of High Definition!
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2007 International Film Music Critics Award: Nominated: Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film for Aaron Zigman. 2007 St. Louis Film Critics Association: Nominated: Best Animated or Children's Film. 2008 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Nominated: Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Josh Hutcherson. 2008 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Nominated: Best Young Actress for AnnaSophia Robb.
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler, Devon Wood, Emma Fenton, Grace Brannigan, Latham Gaines, Judy McIntosh, Patricia Aldersley, Lauren Clinton, Isabelle Rose Kircher, Cameron Wakefield, Elliot Lawless, Carly Owen, Jen Wolfe, James Gaylyn, Ian Harcourt, Brandon Cook, Tyler Atfield, Maisy McLeod-Riera, Hudson Mills, Matt Gibbons, Phil Grieve, Fernando Gonzalez (uncredited), Mikaila Baumel (voice) (uncredited), Aaron Beard (uncredited), Luke Burnyeat (uncredited), Zoe Cramond (uncredited), Dwight Wilson II (uncredited) and Shelby Young (voice) (uncredited)
Director: Gábor Csupó
Producers: Alex Schwartz, Brigham Taylor, David Kaufmann, David Paterson, Hal Lieberman, Kevin Halloran, Lauren Levine, Meyer Shwarzstein and Tim Coddington
Screenplay: David Paterson (screenplay) Jeff Stockwell (screenplay) and Katherine Paterson (book)
Composer: Aaron Zigman
Cinematography: Michael Chapman, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Uncompressed Surround Sound
English: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
French: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 96 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment / Walden Media
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Family films that deal realistically with friendship, imagination, isolation, and childhood dynamics are few and far between. When it does happen, they often go overboard to a crushing realistic style that results in something that is an ordeal to sit through. ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’  film drama adaptation of the 1978 Newbery Medal winning young-adult book by Katherine Paterson, strikes the right balance between the two extremes.
The film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ stars Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel and Robert Patrick. Here we find two young outsiders, that includes Twelve-year-old Jesse Aarons [Josh Hutcherson] who befriends a new girl at school named Leslie Burke [AnnaSophia Robb] and the pair begin to create their own imaginary kingdom in a secret place in the woods to escape the difficulties of their real lives and find sanctuary in a world of wonderful imagination in this charming film fantasy, that an emotionally rich testament to the life-changing power of friendship. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb are wonderful as young misfits Jesse Aarons and Leslie Burke, who are drawn together by their mutual alienation and delightful creativity.
After an awkward introduction, they become inseparable, inventing a magical imaginary kingdom known as “Terabithia” and is a homage to C.S. Lewis's world of the “Chronicles of Narnia” in their local woods, which to them personally it is there magical empire full of fabulous excitement and imagination. This attractive magical realm and its fantastical creatures provide a showcase for a wealth of enjoyable digital effects. Yet, ironically, it's the duo's mundane daily experiences and the way their secret exploits gradually empowers them at school that are the story's greatest strengths. In his debut film as a director, Gábor Csupó tackles pre-teen issues with both wit and sensitivity, while the film's unexpectedly tragic turn makes the final segment particularly affecting. Together, they spend a wonderful and exciting time in the realm of “Terabithia” that is until Leslie one day crosses the bridge to Terabithia alone.
Holding pretty close to the book’s plot outline, fifth-grader Jesse Aarons [Josh Hutcherson] draws and runs to escape the world where he feels like an outcast and he is the only boy among five children, his father Jack Aarons [Robert Patrick] struggles to keep the family’s financial head above water and has no time for the seemingly unproductive activities his son pursues, and the school bullies pick on him for being poor, distracted, and artistic. The only allies Jesse Aarons has are his cute as a button younger sister May Belle Aarons [Bailee Madison] who adores him even as he shuns her company and his music teacher Ms. Edmunds [Zooey Deschanel] who encourages his artistic side.
Jesse Aarons seems destined for a childhood as an outsider until the arrival of new female friend Leslie Burke who is totally opposite to Jesse in many ways but her independent attitude and style also put her on the outs at school and Leslie Burke recognises Jesse Aarons as a kindred spirit. This is the kind of family film that can make you think about “kindred spirits” without throwing up. The two become very close friends and Leslie pushes Jesse Aarons to use his imagination to create a land in the woods near their houses, which they dub “Terabithia.”
The scenes in ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA,’ where Jesse Aarons and Leslie Burke briefly battle creatures which echo their struggles at school and home, is the movie’s only fantasy element. The rest is firmly rooted in the reality of school yard and home-life troubles, familiar to anyone who didn’t quite fit in during these formative years. Jesse’s relationship with Leslie, does not become a romance but a true friendship, gives him confidence to do what he enjoys while facing down some of the roadblocks in his life.
Director Gábor Csupó, a long-time animator, takes the helms on this feature length film for the first time. It’s almost amazing since the strength of the film is not in the special effects, although the sequences are important to the film, and some say the special effects themselves are slightly cheesy, but I totally disagree, but again director Gábor Csupó puts a lot of effort mainly into the performances and relationships with the real life characters. Every character is given at least a few layers. The father is not just a tyrant, but a loving man at the same time who is trying to be practical about what is important in life, the school bullies and teachers have their own problems, and Jesse acts selfishly at times despite all that Leslie has done for him. The realism in these characters overshadows the occasional poorly rendered hawk creature in “Terabithia.”
For those looking for sword fights, mythical creatures and grand themes of revenge, then the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ will seem slightly tame, and some might say even boring. But for every film advertised as being about “friendship” and “imagination” this film actually seems to understand what the words really mean. Like the book, the film expects that a well told story about self-expression, being yourself, and the joy of being with someone who both likes and challenges you. The special effects of the film are quite imaginative. While I wouldn’t say there is anything technically landmark about them, they are artistically very cool and especially when you see forest creatures turned into fearsome imaginary creatures, trees turned into trolls, and much more. If you like special effects or fantasy, you will want to check this out without any hesitation.
Also very ground-breaking and startling in a family film for 2007 is the willingness to handle religious themes in an even handed way, especially about the existence of God, Jesus, the afterlife, and the joy in searching for an answer in open minded way. The dialogue, spoken extremely well by strong young actors like Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb is very enlightening no matter what the age of the viewer. The film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ should please all fans of the book and especially anyone that likes fantasy films, you will definitely want to view this really excellent Blu-ray disc. Also please note that the film takes a rather dramatic turn towards the end like many “beloved children’s novels” often do. I don’t want to spoil it for you here, but that twist, may be more appropriate for older children. One thing is for sure, as near the end of the film you will definitely want to get hold of the Kleenex tissues, as you definitely shed a few tears of sadness and joyous fulfilment of seeing a film that covers all types of emotions and knowing you have seen a film that you will want to watch time after time.
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA MUSIC TRACK LIST
TRY (Written by Matthew Gerrard, Robbie Nevil and Mike Krompass) [Performed by Hayden Panettiere]
KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN (Written by Dave Bassett and Michelle Featherstone) [Performed by AnnaSophia Robb]
I LEARNED FROM YOU (Written by Matthew Gerrard and Steve Diamond) [Performed by Miley Cyrus]
A PLACE FOR US (Written by Bryan Adams, Eliot Kennedy and Aaron Zigman) [Performed by Tyler James and Leigh Nash]
ANOTHER LAYER (Written by Jon McLaughlin and Jamie Houston) [Performed by Jon McLaughlin]
SHINE (Written by Rob Bonfiglio) [Performed by The Skies of America]
WHY CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS (Written by Sylvester Allen, Harold R. Brown, Morris Dickerson, Leroy Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott and Jerry Goldstein) [Performed by Zooey Deschanel and The Terabithia Choir]
SOMEDAY (Written by Steve Earle) [Performed by Zooey Deschanel and The Terabithia Choir]
HAPPY BIRTHDAY (Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill)
OOH CHILD (Written by Stan Vincent) [Performed by Zooey Deschanel and The Terabithia Choir]
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS (uncredited) (Written by George Bennard) [Sung by Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb]
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Blu-ray Image Quality – Walt Disney Home Entertainment Blu-ray disc presents us again with a continuously successful 1080p very sharp image transfer on the highest level, as well as the usual excellent 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It also boasts of a generally very pleasant picture quality with a very good depth of field effect. It also boasts of great crisp colours thanks to some good brilliant contrast image presentation. But some hues, particularly oranges and greens look slightly over-saturated, giving flesh tones a sort of waxy look that only shines with the close-up shots. On the plus side, detail is quite strong, blacks are nice and solid, and make no mistake overall, ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ looks really excellent and so once again the Walt Disney Home Entertainment have done a top notch job.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – This Walt Disney Home Entertainment Blu-ray disc presents us the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ not only convincing in terms of the picture quality, but it can also claim almost the entirely a number of high points with a brilliant 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound acoustically presentation. The dialogue track is extremely clean and crisp. The surround audio mix is filled with wildlife that truly comes alive that we get to hear a very nice mix of sound, which can especially show in the fantasy scenes in the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.’ Especially in the scenes the composed film music score and but also the sound effects combine to great effect, but never really aggressive sound field. Even so, here the depth of the bass sound is used to good effect and quite effectively. The scenes in reality, on the other hand, are more front-heavy, but thanks to the perfectly recorded voices, they have also been very successful all round presentation. So all in all the soundtrack is also top-notch and truly brings us to believe in the land of Terabithia.
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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary with Director Gábor Csupó, Writer Jeff Stockwell and Producer Hal Lieberman: Here we are first introduced to Gábor Csupó, the director of the film, and informs us that he is sitting next to Hal Lieberman and Jeff Stockwell, and also says that they are going to have a lot of fun talking about the film, which are all glad to do so. One of the commentator said he saw a preview of the film, that did not have the credit sequences in the start of the film, but eventually saw the finished film and was knocked out by what he viewed. They say that they wanted to show at the start of the film we are viewing now to show that Jesse Aarons is really living in a different world from the rest of the family who do not really understand his way of thinking, which they find his outlook very alien. Although the film was filmed in New Zealand, they wanted to give the impression it was set in America. When you see for the first time the classroom, we are informed that about 90% of the children are New Zealanders, but had to re-dubbing the voices the children who speak to sound American. Also when you see the race in the field, if you look very carefully a lot of the children in the background are native MÄori. When you see the two children climb to the top of the tree and see in the distance the land of Terabithia, with the mountains, the river, the waterfall and the birds in flight, this was all created by CGI Computer Generated Imagery. When you see Josh Hutcherson carry the animal caught in the trap in the greenhouse, they point out that you can tell the film was shot in New Zealand as the big possum in the trap is native to New Zealand, whereas the a possum in America is totally different. When Josh Hutcherson stars to see The Dark Master running parallel to him through the wood and finds out that it represents his Dad, which eventually you see them together and when you see Josh crying, this was real tears. Throughout the film we are informed that certain families and crew members appear in the background. As we get near the end of the film and Josh takes his little sister across the Bridge to Terabithia and the Terabithia wood people appear, the very large troll, as well as the castle in the background, and we are informed that this was all produced by CGI Computer generated imagery. As the credits and the beautiful drawings roll up the screen, the director thanks us for joining them in watching the film with the audio commentary, and hoped you enjoyed all of their comments and was I felt this was a very nice audio commentary and one I know you will also enjoy listening to their comments and a very nice bonus towards a really wonderful magical film experience and definitely gets a five star rating.
Audio Commentary with Actors Josh Hucherson, AnnaSophia Robb, and Producer Lauren Levine: When we see the Walt Disney Castle appears at the start, both the young actors thinks it looks cool and wants to visit it. But as the actual film starts, first up to introduce themselves is Lauren Levine, and next up is Josh Hucherson, and finally AnnaSophia Robb. Both young actors saw the first preview and thought it was cool, but finally saw the official released film and thought the start of the Title was even cooler and so much better. They talk about the actor Robert Patrick in acting so hard in the film, but then the cameras stopped rolling they both said he was one of the nicest people you ever met and was so kind to everyone. When you see AnnaSophia Robb wearing the coloured woollen items on her arms, we are informed they are actual socks with the ends cut off and when the film was released every teenager especially in America had a craze for this style of item to wear at the time. When you see the squirrels attacking the two children in their secret tree house, well we are informed that there are no squirrels in New Zealand and they were of course created by CGI computer generated imagery. When the little sister says her lines, we find out that at the time the little girl could not read, so someone stood just beside the camera and read he lines out loud, which of course immediately repeated instantly, but after the film was released had started to read. As we get to the end of the film and the film fades to white, you hear all three clap their hands and cheer and the producer says, “Well done.” We also hear that there is a spelling mistake in the end credits, which you have to wait a very long time and when we finally get to see the wrongly spelt word, which is “Squorge” and should be “Sqougers,” but they do not mention what the right spelling is. As we get to the very end all three of them thank us for sitting through their audio commentary and say goodbye. As a passing thought, I thought this audio commentary was sort of okay, and definitely not as interesting as the first audio commentary, as the three of them did not do as interesting information about the film, and was just ordinary general stuff of what went on when the director shouted “cut.” Of course it was not all bad, and of course it would be entirely up to you whether you would be interested enough to sit through this particular audio commentary and sort of get a sort of three star rating and it was a good job the producer was there to hold it altogether, as if it had just been the two young actors, I should imagine there would have been a great deal of silent gaps, as they would of run out of anything to say.
Special Feature: Movie Showcase  [1080p] [1.78:1] [4:04] Here you get instant access to the filmmakers most cinematic moments from the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ that showcases the ultimate in High Definition picture and sound. As usual, you can either watch each individual film clip or Play All.
Special Feature: Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia  [1080p] [1.78:1] [14:29] Here we get teachers and even some cast and crew members praising Katherine Paterson's book "A Bridge to Terabithia." The teachers really hit on the subject matter in the book and how important it is to teach young children the values that Katherine Paterson has instilled in her book. My favourite part of the feature is Katherine Paterson herself talking about the book and relating to different aspects of the film. What is also nice about this special feature is that you get to see a few clips from the film that relates to what people talk about the characters in the film. Contributors include: Ilene Abramson [Director of Children’s Services at Los Angeles Public Library], Mrs. Leanne C. Marquez [Teacher at Kornblum Elementary School, Hawthorne, California], Zooey Deschanel [Ms. Edmunds], AnnaSophia Robb [Leslie Burke], Nonie Smith [Adjunct Professor of Children’s Literature, California State University, Dominguez Hills], Melissa Messener [Children's Librarian at Manhattan Beach Library, County of Los Angeles Public Library], Katherine Paterson [Author], Josh Hutcherson [Jess Aaron] and David Peterson [Producer/Screenwriter].
Special Feature: Digital Imagination: Bringing ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ to Life  [1080p] [1.78:1] [5:56] This is a very short feature highlighting the making of the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ and the Visual Effects behind it. Sadly it is far too short to offer a substantial examination of the film’s intricate special effects, but it sure manages to provide some very interesting moments, but it definitely needs much more time to delve into the material provided. Despite the length of the special feature it sure packs in a lot, as you get to view some basic line drawings, stunning illustrations, rare behind-the-scene filming as well as some basic computer generated special effects. Contributors include: Katherine Paterson [Author], Lauren Levine [Producer], David Peterson [Producer/Screenwriter], Gábor Csupó [Director], Cary Granat [CEO of Walden Media], Josh Hutcherson [Jess Aaron], Dan Lemmon [Visual Effects Artist/Supervisor], Richard Taylor [WETA Workshop], Michael Pangrazio [American Art Director for Visual Effects], Matt Aitken [Special Visual Effects Supervisor] and David Clayton [Lead Animation Supervisor at WETA Digital].
Special Feature: Music Video: AnnaSophia Robb: "Keep Your Mind Wide Open"  [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:37] "Keep Your Mind Wide Open" is a song written by Dave Bassett and Michelle Featherstone and featured in the film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.’ It is sung by American actress AnnaSophia Robb, who plays the character Leslie Burke in the film. A portion of the song is heard playing over the radio during a scene where family is celebrating Jesse's birthday. It was released as a single and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 90. Here you get to view the actual music video that was originally shown on the Disney Channel to promote the film.
Finally, ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ is a fantastic film. I absolutely fell in love with the two characters as they created a personal world together, and a place where they can get away and become whatever they can with their imagination. I was absolutely drawn into the story in every way. The film ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ is not only one of the best family films of 2007, it is also one of the finest film adaptations of children's literature. I highly endorse ‘BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA’ to anyone looking for a great glimpse into a child's imagination. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
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