Some of the best kids films are not for kids at all. Look at Toy Story. Adults enjoy that more than the children do and Bridge to Terabithia is no different.
Instead of the brash and rude approach to filming movies, that seems to be the standard today with effects driven movies, Terabithia focuses on the characters, the story, and the heart when telling this beautiful tale. Which, is part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much. Too often nowadays the story is built around the effects, not around the characters. A rather cumbersome and annoying way to tell a story, or be told a story, if you ask me. Instead, Terabithia uses the talents of both the amazing young actors, and its adult cast to enthrall and absorb the viewer in the magic of imagination and the reality of every-day life.
Now it's hard to review this movie without giving anything away, because if I did, the film would be totally ruined. More so than any other film because the surprise in this film is the best thing about it.
What really struck me as brilliant was the limited, yet still perfect number of glimpses into the children's' imaginations. We don't see a lot of Terabithia, which is good, because it is more about the journey of the characters, than the land of Terabithia. That said, it still has quite a few more scenes of adventure than the book by Katherine Patterson, all of which add to, not take away from the story.
The movie touched on my every emotion, bringing me to tall peaks of happiness and leaving me teary-eyed and disconsolate, but still had a perfect and satisfying ending. I also, personally thought, the scenes and situations were more powerful, poignant, and realistic, than the book, which surprises me. Usually, the movie can't live up to the book. In this case, the phrase seemed switched around. The book didn't live up to the movie. As weird as it is for me to say this about a movie, Terabithia touched my heart like no film has ever before. And I doubt any film will give me quite the same feeling, ever again.
And once again, I urge you to watch this film without any research into it. Just go into it blind and you will love it that much more.