Featuring: Josh Hutcherson, Robert Patrick, AnnaSophia Robb, and Zooey Deschanel
Fantasy and reality collide in this second, bigger-budgeted film adaptation of the classic Katherine Paterson children’s novel. The story, updated to the 21st century’s pop-culture aesthetic hardly takes any real liberties with the book and instead stays faithful to it— not only in essence, but throughout scene after detailed scene. The child performers (Hutcherson and Robb) are wonderful, and miraculously the film doesn’t pretend all adults are insipid villains ready to make children’s lives miserable, rather each character comes across as genuine, especially when tragedy occurs and must be faced and dealt with. In his first live-action film, Gabor Csupo (of Klasky-Csupo animation studios), acquits himself well… making the film a fantasy with a firm footing in everyday reality, making the characters rounded and sympathetic, while creating a believable child’s world view of conflict resolution and grief. It’s a wonderful family film that doesn’t rely as heavily on CGI elements to tell its tale.
The beautiful MPEG-4 AVC transfer from a hi-def element makes this an essential Blu-ray release for the hi-definition family film library. The 1.85 theatrical widescreen ratio has all the detail of the large theater image with no film grain apparent. If anything the film looks almost too perfect with excellent black levels and a well-saturated appearance. The audio has been nicely transferred with options of a terrific uncompressed Dolby PCM 5.1 mix that gives an excellently balanced sound spectrum partial to dialog without the music soundtrack overwhelming everything. There’s also a DD 5.1 mix (English/Spanish/French, as are the subtitles) that also sounds quite nice but lacks the depth of the PCM track. Features are nearly the same as the standard-def release (concurrent with the Blu-ray… no HD DVD of course per Buena Vista’s commitment on the Blu-ray side of the hi-def equation).
· Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life
· Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge To Terabithia
· Music Video “Keep Your Mind Wide Open” Performed by Anna Sophia Robb
· Audio Commentary with Director Gabor Csupo, Writer Jeff Stockwell and Producer Hal Lieberman
· Audio Commentary with Actors Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb and Producer Lauren Levine