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Headscratchers / Bridge to Terabithia

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  • Why did Leslie Burke's parents move?
    • Too many horrible memories associated with the place. The loss of a child is the worst thing in the world to a parent, and has been called the 9/11 of parenting. They wouldn't want to live in a place where everything reminded them of the death of their only daughter.
  • I don't remember if it's explained in the book, but in the movie, who found Leslie's body? Where? When? How? Where was it resting?
    • I assumed it was her mom or dad, calling her in for a meal or just going to check on her because she was going out alone.
  • It Just Bugs Me that Walden Media chose to move the setting of Bridge to Terabithia to The Present Day while they kept The Chronicles of Narnia in-period since, 1) World War II is really only used as an excuse to get the kids up to the Professor's house while The '70s and the whole post-Vietnam mindset looms large in the background of BTT, and 2) They were re-creating the US in New Zealand, it wouldn't have been that much harder to throw in a period setting
    • I don't know, but these are some likely factors:
      • 1) Just because Walden Media did both films does not necessarily mean they both had the same creative team.
      • 2) Narnia was written in 1950, so it was always a period setting, even if it was only by ten years at the time it was written. Terabithia was set in the present when it was written.
      • 3) When the movie was set was presumably decided while the script was being written. They might not have even known they were going to be shooting it in New Zealand at that point.
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    • I heard an interview of the scriptwriter for Bridge to Terabithia; he said the main reason is that setting things in "period" can get quite expensive. He also said they tried for a timeless feel by not including specifically modern gadgets (Ipods etc.)
      • Also, Chronicles of Narnia might be more famous, and in any case, its seeing is a lot more engrained in what the reader remembers of the story. Terabithia seems very timeless — even the stuff about the Vietnam War and hippies can go over the head of a little kid.
  • I saw the 2007 movie without reading the book, all the advertisements seem to promote it as an epic adventure with monsters and giants, I suppose the aesop in it was good and all, but the bait and switch left me feeling kind of ripped off.
    • Apparently this was due to Executive Meddling, as they seemed to want to draw in a broader audience to watch the film. Considering the age of the book and how such films usually fare these days, it might not be totally unjustified, but I understand the frustration. However, I personally actually enjoyed it more when I learned it wasn't a cliche fantasy romp, and I found the use of fantasy-in-CGI to bring the film to life a stroke of genius, even if it did lead to Misaimed Marketing. The author herself said she felt the film stayed true to the heart of the book - though considering her son was on board and that a major event in his life inspired the book, this fact isn't surprising.
      • Having read the book several years before the remake came out, this troper was quite confused and immediately decided that the movie was crap before seeing it because of the marketing. I only watched it when I found out it wasn't an epic adventure. So, since the marketing left the fantasy fans ripped off and the book fans feeling it wouldn't be true to the material, it seems the marketing alienated everyone...good job, Executives...
      • Not to mention the people renting out the movie because they feel down and want something lighthearted to make them feel better. Cue the tear-jerker...
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  • I've run into a number of people who confuse the book with Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling or think that the same author wrote both books. At least one told me they distinctly remembered reading that Ivy dies falling out of a tree. It does have a number of very similar elements but it's not that close.
  • Since I saw the film, I ask myself why Janice not letting the other students use the bathroom unless they paid her was such a big deal. Instead of making a "Free the Pee" movement and humiliating Janice with the letter, it wouldn't have been much more easier to tell a teacher or the principal about what Janice and her friends were doing? The teachers of the school seem to be excellent just like those of my school, where a problem like this would have been resolved very quickly, so I don't see why any student thought about report Janice's actions...
    • Early 2000s setting in the film, 70s setting in the book. Bullying was just not taken as seriously at schools (I remember the Phoebe Prince case and it was shocking to hear that the bullies were charged with homicide) and due to the large amount of students, bullying can easily be overlooked by a small amount of adults who have up to six years' worth of children to keep track of - especially in a limited amount of time like recess. Most times, kids don't report bullying because they think it either won't be resolved or the bully will come at them even worse (and Janice did have a violent reputation). Telling an adult won't automatically solve the problem - as there's plenty of opportunities for Janice to get revenge when the adults aren't looking (again, way more children to keep track of) and Leslie appears to be a very independent child (her parents leave her to her own devices when they're working) so she probably felt better trying to solve the problem herself.
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    • Exactly. For schoolkids, telling a teacher on another kid is practically a breach of the Geneva Convention. It's simply Not Done.
  • When one of Willard's friends mock Janice for believing that Willard loved her and send him a love letter (which Jess and Leslie had actually written), why the bus driver didn't kick him out of the bus? He previously kicked Jess out of the bus when he supposedly tripped Janice, though Janice had actually thrown herself, so why when one of his passengers mock another one he doesn't do anything?
    • Maybe because it was just verbal and not physical. Maybe the driver will accept that kids will tease each other but he'll kick them off the bus if they get violent.
  • I still cannot understand why did the author change Leslie's death from lightning to drowning. Lightnings kill few people, but it happens, and everyone knows that. By contrast, the final variant is just one big Contrived Coincidence: The rope snaps just on a day when it has been raining for a long time before and when Leslie is alone and in a way that she lands in a river but hits that rock with her head (and who built the rope directly over suck rock, anyway?? This makes her death even less believable than in reality, and in addition, gives big impetus to denial: unlike lightning death, which is typically felt as Final this variant outright provokes LDD (Leslie didn't die) reaction, rather than force the reader to deal with her death.
    • An old rope continually used practically daily by two kids over most of a school year would easily snap. We can easily assume that she went there plenty of times when he did not, making it not much of a coincidence. The rope was over the river specifically to cross the river, most likely set up by some kids long ago for the same reason Jess and Leslie cross over it. The rock she hit her head on was in the river, most likely part of the edge if I had to guess. So she drowned after she hit her head on the rocky edge of a moderately-deep river that she crosses on a daily basis using an old dangerous rope and you think getting hit by lightning on a clear sunny day in a forest filled with tall trees is less of a Contrived Coincidence? I believe it.
    • Actually, to me it made it more heart wrenching, getting struck by lightning is one in a million type of accident. The events, the rope snapping, it flooded, she hit her head. Unlikely events coming after the other like God himself wanted her dead. It really hits home that ANYONE CAN DIE, even little girls, even your best friend. And it could have been him as well, survivor's guilt coming into factor as well. The hope spot was intentional, he believed she wasn't dead, so the audience believed it as well, until you realize the horrible truth.
    • Also, lightning seemed like an act of God against daydreaming kids. To be secular, they have to change it.
    • But that still doesn't really excuse the poor consideration that went into the localization for that rope. It still also comes of as Contrived Coincidence, and it doesn't excuse either that, apparently, Viewers Are Morons is in such effect that the author felt Reality Is Unrealistic should have been taken into account. Sometimes, things like these seem enforced for the sake of an angst outlet, which is part of the reason why some may find themselves unmoved by the events. Either way, the scene does evoke a Mood Whiplash in stark contrast to the rest of the work.
      • It seems logical to me that a group of kids would set up a rope to cross a river. The location is in fact where one would think a group of young adventurous children would put it when they lack the materials to make a bridge.
    • This Troper cannot honestly comprehend your pet peeve with this. It portrays a part of grief that we do often go through. The Contrived Coincidence of the rope snap the day Jesse decides he wanted the day alone with his music teacher adds to the guilt that he could have invited her with him (as he did considered briefly) or could have been there to help her. A lightning strike would certainly feel enforced for the sake of angst outlet (which can be well done, it would be much more unrealistic that Jesse does not angst at all) the same but just more accurate.
    • I always assumed it was a freak, tragic accident. A rope secured to a branch in the middle of the woods. Who knows how long that rope hung there, exposed to the elements. As a troper a few entries up said, that rope was there long before Jesse and Leslie came along and started swinging on it for a whole school year. I had a bad feeling that something bad would happen.
    • Death by drowning also would have added to Jesse's denial and anger over the whole thing. If Leslie was struck by lightning, there's not much that she, or anyone for that matter, could have done. But as for drowning, Jesse knew she could swim. And if someone were in his position, no doubt they'd have felt they could have saved their friend. The setting also probably was familiar and friendly enough to Leslie (a rope swing that she'd used numerous times) that she'd feel brave enough to do it in conditions that were less than optimal. Not to mention, the rope snapping after a lot of rain makes sense, since the wind and rain probably weakened the rope.
    • And old rope like that would be natural fiber, not synthetic. Natural fiber, hence vulnerable to mildew and rot: the kind of damage that's worsened by moisture.
  • After Maybelle runs away from Jesse to tell her dad that Jesse pushed her, why Jesse starts leaking the paint tubes Leslie bought for him on the river? I get that he's sad, but he should understand that what he is doing is wrong, because 1) Those paint tubes are possibly the last thing he got from his friend and 2) He is contaminating the river.
    • People cope in different ways. Jesse was first lashing out in anger and that just happened to be what he ended up doing. At his age, if you've lost a friend, are blaming yourself and also dealing with the angst about being bullied and neglected at home - you aren't going to be thinking like an environmentalist in the middle of your grief/rage.
  • Why Jesse's dad is portrayed as the Dark Master in his imaginations in the movie?
    • Because Freud? There's something Freudian about this, and it has to do with his dad being a "Well Done, Son!" Guy.
    • Jesse probably recognizes it's his Dad, he just doesn't want to face his father because he knows it'll mean confronting his own grief and guilt to talk to him about it. The Dark Master had always represented things he didn't want to face.
    • Also, particularly in a fantasy/quasi-fantasy setting, the Big Bad and the protagonist's father being portrayed by the same actor is a well-known trope in itself, cf. Peter Pan and Jumanji for additional examples.


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