Bridge to Terabithia
Directed by Gabor Csupo
Walt Disney Pictures, opens February 16
Don't be fooled by the CGI-laden, Narnia-lite trailers for Bridge to Terabithia: Far from a computer generated escapist fantasy, this film is an unpretentious and touching tale of preteen companionship and loss. Terabithia is the story of fifth-grade loner Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson), whose sensitive, artistic temperament isolates him from the towheaded bullies at school and his hardheaded father at home. Liberation from solitude comes in the form of sprightly Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), whose exaggerated anime cuteness bring Jess out of his shell. The pair form a bond based on a made-up world called Terabithia. Director Gabor Csupo of Rugrats "fame" steer clear of cutesy tween stereotypes, but it's Jess's relationship with his father, played by Robert Patrick, that elevates Terabithia from a good kids movie to a classic contender.