The other thing I did this weekend, besides the Derby party, was watch some high quality children’s movies. On Friday, due to a canceled date, I stayed in to hang out with my roommate Sriram and watch Inkheart, which is about a man who, when he reads aloud, causes people and things to jump into and out of books. He loses his wife in this way and gains a gang of bandits for his trouble. The graphics are pretty good on the many fantastical things that get read out of the books. The story also winds its way around a bit, and keeps some suspense for a movie with a foregone conclusion.
The foregone conclusion is what I forgot about with Bridge to Terabithia. I ended up spending Sunday night relaxing with the house to myself and rain threatening outside. Inkheart at put me in the mood for another imaginative tale, and imaginative it was! They did a great job with the subtle use of special graphics to reinforce that Terabithia exists only in the minds of the two main children. The little girl, by the way, AnnaSophia Robb, is a dead ringer, at least in the movie makeup, for a 14 year old Keira Knightley. I had forgotten how the movie came to be on my watch list in the first place, but was reminded in the credits that its because the always wonderful Zooey Deschanel is in it. She plays a music teacher with an interesting take on teaching, and an arbitrarily invitation to take one student to a museum in the city. This suddenly leads the movie down an unexpected road. In retrospect, I remember Richard Roper warning parents about this in his review, but I had forgotten. This only helped my appreciation for the film, however.
Bridge to Terabithia sits somewhere on the same scale as Pan’s Labyrinth. That is a scale between realism and fantasy. Pan’s Labyrinth spends far too much time in the real world, but it’s fantasy world is quite vivid. Bridge to Terabithia spends less time in the real world; well, maybe not film time, but the real world is less harsh and so that counts for it. However the fantasy world is not quite as beautiful, and again, like Pan’s it is but a taste. Somewhere on this scale exists a perfect escapist fantasy. The Chronicles of Narnia movies had a shot at this, but they screwed the pooch with the bland interpretation of the fantasy world.