Bridge to Terabithia
September 17, 2013
Nostalgia Critic: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Well, ever since I did my Princess Hate video, I kinda maybe sorta said I'd do Bridge to Terabithia at some point. The responses have ranged from "Oh, boy, when're you gonna do that?" to "If you touch that timeless treasure, I will impale your testicles on a set of toothpicks." Ha! Joke's on you! I haven't felt any feeling down there because of scenes like this!
NC: Well, I'm not one to disagree with other people's opinions... unless they're stupid and not mine. This is Bridge to Terabithia.
(Cut to clips from the movie)
NC (vo): Based on the beloved children's novel from the 70's, Disney decided to use this story as a means of realizing that their family death toll is a little too high -- at least in age. We can kill 'em younger, can't we? Isn't that our goal? To show kids what a beautiful world it is by making them realize death can take it away from them at any moment? When you wish upon a-- The reaper's coming, bitches! Hide!
NC: But to be fair, that's not the only reason to find it underwhelming. The others? Well, let's take a look at Bridge to Terabithia.
(The movie starts)
NC (vo): We open with our main character named Jess, played by Josh Hutcherson, who lives next to a greenhouse run by his father, Robert Patrick, still upset he'll never be allowed to do a role as good as the T-1000. But at least he's been working on his Red Green impression.
(We briefly see a later scene of Jess' father Jack)
Jack: They make them the same. You know, these vegetables are part of our livelihood. You got your chores done?
Red Green: You ever notice how winding your window down by hand makes you look lower-middle class?
NC (vo): Jess is getting ready to participate in a track race today. The only downside? He doesn't have the right shoes.
Mary: You could hardly call them sneakers anymore. I threw them out.
Mary: There's a perfectly good old pair of Brenda's that I put out for you.
Jess: These are girls' ones.
NC (vo): Oh, come on. Just write "Friendship is Magic" on the side, and at least the Bronies will leave you alone.
(Jess stares at an ant as his family talks in the background)
NC (vo): Wow. Apparently, the movie's already so bored, it decided to follow an ant. That's a bad sign. But Jess's plan to cover up his shoes doesn't work as the stock bully gang is ready to pounce on him.
(In the school classroom, two bullies, Scott and Gary, sit behind Jess and begin to taunt him)
Scott: Sweet sneaks, Aarons. You wear your sisters' hand-me-down underwear, too? Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep-beep-beep-beep-beep. Know what that is? My loser detector.
NC: Um... zing?
Gary: He asked you a question, twinkle toes. You're dead meat.
NC: (in goofy voice) Huh-huh. I hold my insults towards after-school specials of the 80's.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: ♪ There's a million wild and wonderful ways to say no ♪
NC (vo): Actually, this does bring up one of the major problems with the movie. The book was written in the 70's, which is fine. But if you're gonna update to present day, you have to do exactly that: update it. And some of the dialogue here is clearly very dated. I mean, when's the last time you ever heard a kid say "dead meat"? But this kid acts like it's the holy grail of insults that nobody will ever be able to top him on. Listen to him. He's obsessed with the phrase.
(Spliced-together clips of Gary Fulcher saying "dead meat" are shown)
NC: (in goofy voice) "Dead meat"! Huh-huh! Oh, I'm so texting that zinger to my friends! (phone rings, NC answers)
Guy on other end: "Dead meat"! Hilarious!
NC: Yeah, I know!
Guy on other end: Huh-huh!
(We first see the film's other main character, Leslie Burke)
NC (vo): We then see the entrance of our other lead Leslie, played by AnnaSophia Robb, who I swear is the first human being to be physically Photoshopped to look like a plastic Disney product. I'm serious! Look at her! Just make a toy out of that face! It'll sell!
Leslie: I don't use my Barbies so much anymore. If you want, you can have them.
May Belle: Thanks.
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) What do I need them for? I am the Barbie.
NC (vo): She's like a complement of lesser child stars to create the ultimate in purified Disney unholiness.
NC: I hear there's even a plot among the Disney Princesses to take away all her enchanted perfections.
Cinderella: First we'll start with her cheekbones.
Snow White: Yes. Then her perfect little eyes.
(A rustling off-screen, and the four Princesses look angrily at the camera)
Cinderella: Ariel. Deal with it.
(Ariel pulls out a glock and fires at the camera, cutting back to the movie)
NC (vo): But is she just as perfect and endearing as the other Disney female leads? Does this movie like to dress their heroines like an imploding Punky Brewster?
(Clip of Leslie beating Jess in a relay race)
Jess: (voiced over by NC) But wait! I'm wearing girls' shoes! Shouldn't I, like, absorb their power?
NC (vo): So it turns out Leslie lives right next door to Jess. But he doesn't let that quirky nothing-wrong-with-herness get the best of him, as he's got the hots for someone else: a teacher, played by Zooey Deschanel, star of the hit television show Filler After the Mindy Project. Check your whitest friends for listings.
(We are shown the teacher, Ms. Edmunds, and her class of students singing a morning song together)
Ms. Edmunds and students: (singing) ♪ Why can't we be friends/Why can't we be friends/Why can't we be friends/Why can't we be friends/I seen you walkin' down in Chinatown... ♪
NC (vo): Um... Are you sure this movie wasn't meant to be called "Bridge to Non-offensia"? This world is so blandly upbeat, I'd swear it was a gum commercial.
(Cut to a clip of Leslie offering Jess a stick of Juicy Fruit)
NC: (looking flabbergasted) ...Really, Disney? You don't have enough money for backing that you had to go to Juicy Fruit?
Spokesman Voiceover (by Malcolm Ray): Juicy Fruit -- The Gum of Contrived, Unmotivated Disney Moments Everywhere.
(The classic Walt Disney Pictures jingle is heard, while showing a caption "That Just Bought Us 5 More Disney Sequels!")
NC (vo): While Jess still has the hots for "500 Days of Blandness", he does find his interest in Leslie does seem to grow as he finds out more about her, especially when the teacher calls her up to read a paper she's very fond of entitled...
Teacher: "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus" by Leslie Burke.
NC (vo): Wow! Um... this reading brought to you by the Incredibly Ironic Institute of Pulling at Your Collars Going "Nyo-ho-ho-ho!"
(As Leslie reads her poem, Jess watches her, while imagining a fantasy about the poem brought to life via traditional animation in the style of Jess' drawings)
Leslie: "I'm floating in silence. Above me, there's nothing but shimmery light, the place where I've come from and will go back to when I am done here."
NC (vo): Oh, come on! This is like John Bobbitt's favorite song being "Walk Like a Man"!
Leslie: "...where a school of silver fish wait. As I swim through the water, bubbles burst from me, wobbling like little jellyfish as they rise."
NC: Uhhh, what does his father grow in his greenhouse again?
NC (vo): Actually, this would be an interesting idea if he fantasized like this, as the credits make it look like that's actually sort of the angle they're going for. Like maybe his drawing is the visual style of his fantasy. But strangely enough, the rest of the movie is done with 3D CGI. So this is the only time this style is ever used. Yeah. Kind of inconsistent, huh? It's like if, for some reason, I change up styles in the middle of the review to reflect something like Frank Miller.
(Shot of NC on a rooftop with a sprawling city as the backdrop; there are bandages on his face, and besides him stands Malcolm Ray dressed in Nazi attire; everything is in black and white, with sirens and gunshots in the background)
NC: Hey, Samuel L. Jackson.
Samuel L. Jackson: I'm a Nazi for some reason.
NC: I in no way question that.
NC (vo): He starts to hang out with Leslie more and more, and they find they have quite the rapport. And by "rapport", I mean she says something enchanting and he stares at her with awe.
Leslie: Show me that you hear us!
(Movie's musical score swells as Jess looks enchanted at Leslie)
NC: Okay. Can we have a name for this look? You know, this one? (imitates Jess' enchanted face)
NC (vo): That dumbass expression when someone says something that the movie obviously wants to shove in your face was magical so they give an awkward, quiet pause? Can we have a name for that, please?
(Caption appears on-screen reading "Whimsical Digestion")
NC (vo): "Whimsical digestion". Those painful moments where a character has to reflect on just how wondrous the movie they're in is.
(We see NC making the "whimsical digestion" face several times)
Leslie: Race you to the end of the road. On your mark, get set, go!
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) Come on! Over here is a moment anyone not going through a midlife crisis would find pointlessly endearing!
(We see Jess and Leslie running down a grassy road)
NC: Oh-ho! Running's magical!
(The two encounter a rope hanging on a tree)
Leslie: Hey! Look at that! Cool!
Jess: That's been there forever. I wouldn't trust it.
NC (vo): With foreshadowing music like that, I think we could call it the death rope.
(Leslie swings from the "death rope", which is presented in slow-motion slowing Leslie's wonderment)
NC (vo): Okay. Even as enchanted moments go, this is really pushing it. It's a friggin' rope! When you look back on childhood, you might see this as something more remarkably innocent, but when you're a kid... it's a friggin' rope!
Leslie: Let your head hang back and watch the clouds.
NC (vo): Well, maybe Jess can pop some sense into her overly whimsical ways-- (Jess swings on the rope and is just as enamored as Leslie) Oh, come on! Is fucking everything gonna be like this? Is every little mundane thing gonna be an incredible adventure of laugh and whimsy? Imagine if I did every little mundane thing like this!
(We see a close-up shot of NC making the "whimsical digestion" face into the camera; a pan out shows him sitting on the toilet gaily waving his arms around, complete with fart noises. Outside the bathroom, Rachel Tietz and Malcolm pound on the door)
Rachel: Come on, Critic! We really have to go!
NC: But it's so whimsical in here!
Malcolm: Live your childhood fantasies somewhere else!
(The toilet is heard flushing, and NC emerges with a pout)
NC: You guys are so not enchanting.
(As NC walks past, Malcolm slips into the bathroom and closes the door)
Rachel: Oh! Wha-!
(Rachel presses her ear to the door and hears Bridge to Terabithia's sweeping musical score)
Rachel: OH, COME ON!
NC (vo): So Leslie, being so inspiringly wow, suggests that they make up their own little world.
Leslie: We need a place. Just for us. What if there was a magical kingdom that only we knew about?
Leslie: Come on!
Jess: Wait up!
Jess: (voiced over by NC) Help! Your talk of obvious fictional worlds in a public forest during the incredibly sunny daytime is scaring me!
Jess: What am I looking for exactly?
Leslie: Just close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.
Jess: What do we call this place?
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) I'm so perfect and inspired, I came up with that fitting name in one try. I also have an idea for a young adult series that rips off Battle Royale.
Jess: (voiced over by NC) Sounds trite.
NC (vo): Leslie continues to make up details about her fictional world. But is it me or is her dedication sounding less charming and more psychotically specific?
(We are shown various scenes of Leslie getting into the world of Terabithia, describing it and imaging it all throughout)
Leslie: Too bad for them. They got so close.
Jess: What are you talking about?
Leslie: To the kingdom.
Jess: What's that?
Leslie: That's the sound of the prisoners rattling their chains.
Jess: What prisoners?
Leslie: The prisoners of the Dark Master.
(As the scenes continue playing, we are shown a shot of NC looking disturbed)
Leslie: Jess, you and I have been sent to free them. / Prisoners of the Dark Master! We have come to free you! / See them? Up there?
Leslie: Do you? Really?
NC (vo): Yeah... Maybe a little too into our little world, aren't we?
(More scenes continue playing)
Jess: Try dragonflies.
Leslie: No, they're warriors. / We rule Terabithia, and nothing crushes us! / You better not let the Terabithians hear you.
Jess: I don't know this game.
Leslie: What game? This is for real.
NC (vo): Why do I see years later a very disturbing reunion when they meet up again?
(Cut to a sketch of future Jess (played by Doug Walker) and Leslie (Rachel) at a dinner table)
Future Jess: Well, Leslie, thank you so much for dinner. You know, it's so good to see you've been doing so well after all these years.
Future Leslie: Of course, Jess.
Future Jess: God, it takes me back to when we were little kids. Oh, hey! Remember that, uh, fantasy world we made up when we were younger?
Future Leslie: Terabithia?
Future Jess: Yeah, yeah. God, those were magical times. Remember how we used to pretend we used to live there?
Future Leslie: What are you talking about? I'm still there.
Future Jess: ...What?
Future Leslie: The Terabithians miss you, Jess. They would like their king to rule with their queen once more.
Future Jess: (After a long beat, realizing future Leslie is still insane) ...Oh, wow! Look at the time! Uh, I gotta go do some, uh, sane things... away from you.
(Future Jess backs into the door and quickly lets himself out. A still-smiling future Leslie goes into another room where a scared Malcolm is rope-bound to a chair and struggling to free himself. Future Leslie, still smiling, stands next to Malcolm, completely ignoring his scared behavior. The whole scene is a parody of Francis Dolarhyde torturing Freddy Lounds in Red Dragon)
Future Leslie: Let me show you more about Terabithia.
Malcolm: Please, I'm hungry and I need food!
Future Leslie: This is where the evil trolls lived. Do you see?
Future Leslie: Do you see?
Malcolm: No! There's nothing there! They're blank slides!
(The camera cuts briefly to show that what they're looking at is a blank slide, which Leslie thinks is the "trolls' home")
Future Leslie: Oh, dear. The Terabithians are telling me that someone might need another scrotum waxing.
Malcolm: I mean, yes! Yes! I see! I see!
Future Leslie: Oh, good! I thought you'd be like all the others that didn't see.
(Future Leslie and Malcolm look off-screen toward a pile of skeletons as Malcolm whimpers in shock)
Future Leslie: We rule Terabithia, and nothing crushes us.
(Malcolm starts crying as the still-smiling future Leslie puts herself close to him. We go to commercial. Return from commercial)
NC (vo): So, sadly, both of our stars have to return to the real world, where things still seem less than perfect. Though, to be fair, still pretty damn close to perfect.
Leslie: Don't you think we should give her a hand?
Jess: Uh... she's... she's fine.
NC: HA! Oh, never change that joke! Never do any variation with it! I dunno what it is, but it's just timeless! You just got it! You got the perfection of laughter in that one little collection of words! Oh! Ingenious! Absolutely ingenious! HA! Keep it up, and this (shows picture of Rob Schneider) could be your future, pal!
(At the school bus, a girl name Janice falls next to Jess' and Leslie's seat)
Student: You okay?
Bus driver: What's the problem?
Janice: Jess Aarons tripped me!
Janice: On purpose!
Bus driver: Okay, Aarons. Hit the road.
Leslie: But he didn't do anything.
Bus driver: Go.
Bus driver: (voiced over by NC) You have your magical kingdom you're in charge of? Well, I have mine. Bus World! Where I can throw any kid off with no legal repercussions whatsoever! Don't mess with the king, baby! Bus World!
NC (vo): But they still manage to find peace in their fictional realm where friggin' everything seems to amaze them.
Jess: How come you're so good at that?
Leslie: Good at what?
Jess: Building stuff. I mean, you're really good at it for a girl.
NC: I mean, hammering a nail into a door? Fucking witchcraft!
NC (vo): But even their world at times can come crashing down.
Jess and Leslie: Aah!
(A tree falls onto Jess and Leslie's "castle")
Leslie: It's a giant troll!
Jess: (voiced over by NC) Oh, will you shut up already?! We almost died!
Leslie: The sneaky foot soldiers of the Dark Master!
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) Let's cut open their teeny-weeny stomachs and feed on their nutty little entrails! Terabithia, goddammit!
NC (vo): But Jess decides his world isn't Rockwellian enough. A pointless animal sidekick will fix that up, as he adopts a dog out of nowhere and just... gives it to Leslie. Yeah. Kinda random. How do you think the parents feel about that? Well, apparently, they're just as everlastingly perfect as she is, so. of course, they don't mind. Don't believe me? Just look at how downright Utopian these loafs of Wonder Bread are.
(We first see Leslie's parents, Judy and Bill, as they invite Jess over to paint their house)
Judy: I am determined to have this wall finished so when the late sun hits it, we can watch it catch fire.
Bill: Now, that's one steady hand, Jess. That's an artist's hand. Am I right? You know, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. That's Teddy Roosevelt said that.
NC: It's just like my parents said before they left Bethlehem: "Son, do your best to cure cancer, hug puppies, and quote scholars with impeccable articulation."
(Stylized caption appears on screen reading "We Are Sperm of Jesus" as gospel choir sings)
NC (vo): Christ, can this world get any more sappy or schmaltzy-- (interrupted by upbeat pop music as a montage starts to play) Oh, God!
NC: Stop it! You're making Full House look like a Holocaust drama!
(As the montage of Leslie, Jess and Leslie's parents painting the house plays out, a caption appears on screen reading "Whiteness Level Reaching: Whole Foods Status"; "Whole Foods" changes to "Pointless Phone Apps", then changes again to "Fighting for a Group You Know Nothing About", then changes again to "ONE DIRECTION"; then the entire caption pops and turns into an image of One Direction, then the image explodes)
Judy: What did I tell you? Was it worth it?
Bill: (voiced over by NC) Well, we suck as painters, but at least we rock as a Sears catalog commercial.
(The montage starts to play again, until NC stops it)
NC: Don't you DARE show it again!
NC (vo): So now the dog is in their fictional world, which their imaginations seem to make more and more real by the day.
(We see Prince Terrien, the dog, tickling a giant troll between its toes)
Leslie: That's it! That's its weak spot!
Jess: It's ticklish! Troll toe jam.
Jess: (voiced over by NC) We should probably feed the dog.
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) No! He's a magic dog that doesn't need food, and can fly off cliffs whenever we toss him!
Jess: (voiced over by NC) Uh, that doesn't sound right--
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) Terabithia, goddammit!
NC (vo): This fictional world, I guess, strengthens their courage as they stand up to bullies who block people's entrances into the bathroom. Are there no adults in this fucking school?
Leslie: That's not fair, is it? Peeing's definitely supposed to be free.
Boy student: Free to pee!
Students: Free to pee! Free to pee! Free to pee!
NC (vo): (as deep-voiced narrator) Thus, the Free to Pee Movement was born. First they moved to Russia. Then they migrated to China. Soon, the world fought back against the evil commu-piss.
Jess: Do you know what would happen if I were to pick a fight with her?
May Belle: You'll get your butt kicked.
Jess: No, I'd get kicked out of school for fighting a girl. What's that gonna prove?
NC (vo): But they figure out another way to get back at her (Janice). They forge a love letter from a boy she likes, and she actually believes it's from him, making a fool of herself in front of everybody.
(Janice, having fallen for the prank, comes into the bus to discover all the students looking at her)
Student: Didn't Willard know he's totally in love with you?
(Students laugh at Janice, and May Belle looks exceptionally gratified)
NC (vo): Okay, his sister enjoyed that a little too much. That wasn't just a funny little moment; that was Count of Monte Cristo-style vengeance.
May Belle: (dubbed over by Rachel) Oh, her tears of despair fuel my inner goddess!
NC (vo): But they find out that maybe their joke went too far, as they start to feel sad for the bully and even manage to get some interesting information out of her.
Leslie: Her dad gets really mad at her. He hits her. And it got out.
Jess: Well, what did you say to her?
Leslie: I told her just to pretend that she had no idea what anyone was talking about, and in a few weeks' time, everybody would just forget about it. Then I gave her a piece of gum.
NC: Oh, well, I do hope it was Juicy Fruit gum! It is the almighty savior!
Spokesman Voiceover: Juicy Fruit -- Why Call the Police When You Have Gum?
NC (vo): Then -- get this -- they actually decide to bring religion into the mix. Yeah, I know. I'm scared, too.
Jess: Sunday we go to church.
Leslie: Can I come?
Jess: You'd hate it.
Leslie: No, I think it'd be cool.
Jess: Uh, girls can't wear pants.
Leslie: I've got dresses, Jess.
NC (vo): Girls can't wear pants? Uh, look, guys, I don't know when's the last time you've been to church, but unless you worship at Our Lady of Donna Reed, I don't think this is an issue. But, bizarrely enough, even their fictional world starts to play a part here, too. Hey, they are honoring a carpenter who brought people back to life and turned water into wine. No talk of magic will be allowed in here!
(At church, Leslie manages to catch a holy light into her purse)
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) I got Him! I got God! Quick! Call the religious leaders of the world! I got an eBay auction the likes the Vatican has never seen! GOOOOOOOOD!!!
NC (vo): And to make things even more awkward, they start talking about their religious experience on the way back. Just remember, guys: the last time Disney tried to talk about religion, (clip of The Hunchback of Notre Dame) we got a perverted old man jerking off to a sexy fireplace. Unless you plan to turn this into a creepy-ass song number, tread lightly.
(Jess, Leslie and May Belle are driving home from church while sitting outside in the back of the car)
May Belle: 'Cause if you don't believe in the Bible, God will damn you to Hell when you die. That's right, huh, Jess? God damns you to Hell if you don't believe in the Bible.
NC (vo): (laughs) Okay. Can I just say that forgiving Disney for the Jonas Brothers is made a little bit easier when they have a small child saying "God damns you to Hell" several times in their kids' movie?
(A looped clip of May Belle saying "God damns you to Hell" plays out, then the Walt Disney Pictures jingle is played along with the caption "God Damns Ya to Hell")
Leslie: I seriously do not think God goes around damning people to Hell. He's too busy running all this.
NC (vo): WHIMSYYYYYYYY!
(We cut to Jess and Leslie searching for Jess' father's keys around the woods)
NC (vo): And speaking of which, we have even more whimsy to partake in, as yet another trip down Imagination Lane takes place.
Leslie: Here. Open this.
(Jess opens Leslie's purse, releasing the holy light)
God: (as voiced by NC) Help! She says she won't let Me free unless I convert to Judaism!
(Several Terabitihan creatures appear to ambush Jess and Leslie)
NC (vo): But, oh, no! More poorly CG'd monsters off the port dumb!
(Jess and Leslie fight against the Terabithian creatures, but end up losing)
Leslie: (voiced over by NC) Wow. We suck even in our own fantasy.
Jess: (voiced over by NC) I can't be cool anywhere.
(Terabithian vultures suddenly appear in the sky, squawking "Dead meat! Dead meat!")
Jess and Leslie: Run!
Leslie: Come on! Faster!
(Jess and Leslie run through the forest while being chased by the vultures)
NC (vo): You know, here's my problem with these fantasies. If they were really using them to solve their problems or tie it in more to the story, I could forgive them more.
(A scene showing Jess being saved by a large troll that bears a resemblance to Janice is shown, before cutting back to other shots of this fantasy sequence)
NC (vo): But, apart from a monster having a bully's voice or a bully's face, there's no other connection to anything going on. So the movie just sort of stops dead in its tracks for these scenes that have no suspense because we know it's not real, and no investment because we're not learning anything about them. How much more interesting would it have been if they sat down and talked with the troll who looked like the bully, or maybe some of their adventures were connected to their real-life worries? Wouldn't that be more dramatic? Wouldn't that be more interesting? But, no! They use it to green-screen a background of them running against a forest, which... why didn't you just film them running against a forest?
Leslie: They'll catch us!
Jess: Leslie, we're the fastest in Terabithia.
(As Jess and Leslie run very fast through the forest, we intercut with a clip of the speeder bike chase scene in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
Luke Skywalker: Get alongside that one!
(Jess and Leslie eventually get away from the Terabithian creatures)
NC (vo): At the end of the day, they go back home and say goodbye to one another.
Leslie: See ya!
Jess: Yeah, see ya.
(Jess and Leslie look at one another as the rain falls and Leslie leaves)
NC (vo): (sarcastically) Well, I sure hope nothing bad happens to either of them after this totally random goodbye that isn't in any way being embellished for any reason whatsoever.
Admiral Ackbar: It's a trap!
NC: Okay, we got enough Return of the Jedi jokes.
NC (vo): The next day, Jess gets a call from his music teacher and sees if he wants to go alone with her downtown to an art museum. And, yes, that sounds exactly as creepy to you as it does to me.
Ms. Edmunds: I know it's a Saturday, but it's your teacher, Ms. Edmunds. I was planning on taking my nephews into the city to the museum, and my sister changed her plans last minute, so I had a thought.
NC (vo): Again, I don't know if this was a more acceptable thing during the 70's, but nowadays, this would raise some serious red flags. Don't believe me? Try watching it with this music instead.
(The scene of Jess and Ms. Edmunds at the museum is shown in movie trailer form, with a voiceover narrating it in a menacing tone)
Announcer (Malcolm): Witness the horror. Witness the terror. Witness a famous actor playing that scary role every famous actor wants to play at least once in their career. Zooey Deschanel. Hunger Games Joke. The Field Trip. Brought to you by Disney. (imitates Walt Disney Pictures jingle)
Ms. Edmunds: Mind like yours wide open, you could create a whole new world.
NC (vo): God, I'm sick to death of these forced whimsical moments! Can't once just something go incredibly wrong in this movie?
(We see Jess return home, with his parents upset about something)
Mary: Oh, my God, Jess!
Jack: Where in God's name have you been?
NC: Well, good! Somebody better be dead!
Jack: Your friend Leslie's dead.
NC: (pause) ...Send your angry e-mails to NostalgiaCritic@IdiotWithBadTiming.com.
NC (vo): Yikes! They killed her off? I mean... damn!
Jack: She drowned in a creek this morning. Apparently, she tried to swing across on a rope and it broke.
(As NC speaks, we see several scenes of Jess struggling to cope with Leslie's death)
NC (vo): Well... I'm sure they'll do a lot of over-the-top romanticizing with this, too. What, does he have flashbacks of seeing her, or, like, her spirit in the forest or something? Actually, to the movie's credit, the majority of the film dealing with the death scene is handled pretty maturely. He (Jess) goes through denial over his best friend being gone, takes long silent walks by himself, snaps at his sister.
(The scene showing Jess being chased by the Dark Spirit is shown, which is actually Jack, who comforts Jess as he starts crying)
NC (vo): Even the fantasy world plays an interesting role. He sees a dark spirit heading towards him that he tries to run away from, which is really his father forcing him to confront the reality of her passing, resulting in him finally breaking down.
Jess: (sobbing) I wasn't there to go with her. It's my fault.
Jack: No, no, no, no.
NC (vo): Where were these scenes earlier? This is really effective! ...Well...for the most part. There's still one or two moments that still seem a bit heavy-handed. For example, what song are they singing in class the next day?
(Jess is sitting sadly in the classroom as Ms. Edmunds and the class of students sing their morning song)
Ms. Edmunds and students: ♪ Someday I'm finally gonna let it go ♪
NC (vo): OH, COME ON!!!
Ms. Edmunds and students: ♪ I know there's a better way ♪
Ms. Edmunds: (voiced over by NC) Okay, kids, next we'll be singing the happy songs of "Hope Floats", "Under the Sea", and "Rolling Down the River". Jess, you look sad for some reason.
(The bully, Scott, not showing any empathy or feeling sorry for Jess at all, approaches Jess again to taunt him)
Scott: So, looks like you're the fastest kid in the class now, huh?
NC: (enraged at that scene) OH! Oh-- No! No! No, no, no!
(NC continues stammering angrily out of his seat and into the next room)
NC: No, no, no, no, no, no! No, he did not! He did not! He did not! No, no! There's "yoh", and then there's "no", and that was "no"! No! That was n...no! No, no, no!
(He returns to his room and sits back down)
NC: Okay! Normally, I wouldn't say that violence is the solution, but in this test, I say definitely choose answer F, for "fuck his ass up"!
(Jess punches Scott in the face)
NC: Don't make him get out his cake decorating kit!
(Jess is seen getting on the school bus)
Bus driver: Hey, kid. Sorry about your friend.
Bus driver: (voiced over by NC) Now get off. I don't want any evil spirits haunting my domain. Bus World!
(As NC speaks, we see the final scene of Jess and May Belle building a new bridge and entering into a new, grander Terabithia, with Jess as king and May Belle as princess)
NC (vo): But speaking of bridges, he decides to build one for himself. Obviously learning from that sorcery she taught him with hammering nails into wood, he builds his own bridge and decides to bring his sister into his fantasy world. And sure enough, her imagination allows them to once again see the exact same visions somehow.
May Belle: Is there a king? Are you the king, Jess?
Jess: Only if you're a princess.
May Belle: (voiced over by NC) Wait... Does that technically make me your daughter?
Jess: (voiced over by NC) Look, my best friend's dead, and my teacher's hitting on me. I don't know what's normal anymore!
(Jess and May Belle walk towards the new Terabithia as a large crowd of Terabithians cheer)
NC (vo): And to top off this story about realizing life by accepting death, how about a completely unfitting, up-tempo pop song?
(The credits roll as we hear the song "I Learned From You" performed by Miley Cyrus)
Miley Cyrus: ♪ I learned from you that I do not crumble ♪
NC (vo): Your best friend died, your world is a lie/You ask your God in a bag, "Please, why?"
NC: And you know, doesn't this music kind of sum up what's wrong with the movie?
(A montage of clips are shown as NC gets to his closing thought)
NC (vo): I give it credit for what it's trying to do and for actually succeeding in some areas. The death scene is handled well, the fact that our two leads aren't romantically involved is very rare, and the idea of creating a world to cope with the harshness of life is not a bad one. But the dialogue needed to be updated, the whimsical tone is just too over-the-top, and a story like this only works if the kids act like real kids, not like unrealistic heavenly archetypes that are only made that way so you can feel more bad when one of them dies. Imagine if the death scene of a child happened in, say, The Sandlot or To Kill a Mockingbird. It would've been much more effective because you identified with these characters because they were written as normal kids, not angelic memories of being a kid. So it would've hit you a lot harder. But when you make them too perfect, they don't seem real, and therefore, they're harder to feel for when something as heavy as this happens to them. So while I don't think it's among one of the worst movies I've seen, as some parts did get it right, I don't think it fully understood that fun little moments should just be portrayed as fun little moments instead of the most important, whimsical experiences life has to offer.
NC: Though, to be fair, it does make everyday activities seem a lot more exciting. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(He gets up and leaves. We then cut to NC making the "whimsical digestion" face while eating nachos; Rachel and Malcolm watch him from a few feet away)
Rachel: Wanna audition for CollegeHumor?
NC: (laughs) Terabithia, goddammit!
(End credits roll)
(Channel Awesome logo)
May Belle: God damns you to Hell...