I FINALLY got to go see Bridge to Terabithia this weekend. I cringed everytime I saw the trailers to this movie because they focused so much on the fantasy part of Terabithia. I had read in a Katherine Paterson interview that the trailers were deceiving. The movie was very true to the book.
The fantasy parts of the movie (that you see in the trailer) are the film version of the imagination. Most of us who read the books as kids saw the imaginary Terabithians in our minds. We had our own idea what Terabithia looked like. Since film can't show what might be in our imaginations, it had to spell it out for us. And I understand since it's a visual medium, that it was necessary to show the Terabithians, etc. Of course it was different than in my imagination, but there's never been a film based on a book that has ever matched my imagination exactly.
The number one thing people have said to me about the movie is: "It's so sad!" They are shocked and astonished that a child would die in a kids' movie. Most people that are shocked are people who have never read the book. The people who have read the book would be mad if the changed the ending in the movie.
The great thing about the book being made into a movie is that you find out about this classic book all over again. I loved this book as a kid, so it's been wonderful for me to relive my memories of it.
Check out these great links:
Katherine Paterson's Newbery speech
Article in School Library Journal
Washington Post Article