Sunday, February 18, 2007

Misdirection...In A Bad Way

Got in my quota of tween movies yesterday. There was Disney's 'Jump In' on Family Channel here in Canada...the highest rated family movie ever to premiere on the Disney Channel in the U.S. since 'High School Musical' (or maybe it even outperformed it). A by the numbers 'Rocky' meets rope-jumping story that didn't offend, but didn't push any boundaries. For that, my kids loved it.

Because first, it was off to the theatre with my ten year olds to see 'Bridge To Terabithia'. Word to the wise...all is not as it appears to be.

Marilyn at Glutton For Culture gave a heads up as to what to expect from the film. A few reviews also indicated it wasn't as it was being advertised (as in a 'Chronicles of Narnia' clone), and it was in fact, more like 'Stand By Me' or 'My Girl' (or for us old folk, 'Old Yeller').

**Spoilers Alert**

Terabithia is a serious coming of age drama, and one of the main characters (pictured above) dies. It comes out of left field, and you could've dropped a pin in the theatre....followed by whispers of 'X isn't really dead, right?'...followed by streaming tears when they started to realize that a main character really had died.

'I dropped a few,' my son admitted as we drove away from the theatre. But not before exclaiming 'Terabithia SUCKS!" My daughter was even more vocal in her displeasure.

They were SOOOOO incensed. On and on into the night, they kept asking why and how and who would make a movie that did that...and me trying to explain that what happened was maybe the point because life can be like that didn't help.

Because of their expectations when entering the theatre.

My kids are growing up. And starting to realize that death is part of life. But they didn't expect to or want to feel that at this movie. They felt blindsided...and rightfully so. The film was promoted as a fantasy adventure...I swear they used every frame of the 'magical forest creatures' in the commercials because there really wasn't that much. Very misleading.

That said, it's not a bad little movie - quite good actually...but not the bill of goods that was sold.

'Old Yeller', 'Where The Red Fern Grows', or 'Ring of Bright Water' are some of my earliest memories of films that left me upset, dropping some tears. But I don't remember being tricked, or feeling angry.

My kids, however, were PISSED. And for this, Disney should be ashamed for the way they advertised 'Bridge To Terabithia'.


DMc said...

That's a great point. I felt the same way when I saw "Man On Fire." Come on, Tony Scott, you all a picture "Man On Fire" and cast Denzel Washington in the lead, I expect to see Denzel waving his arms around at some point trying to put his head out.


Diane said...

It's Terabithia, by the way - b, not d. Based on a Newberry award winning book, which the author wrote to make sense of the senseless death of one of her son's friends.

Which doesn't excuse how Disney marketed the movie. Marketing a movie with a very different tone from the movie itself is pretty common, but pretty inexcusable especially when it comes to kids.

wcdixon said...

Thanks Diane...b's and d's, b's and d's...always confusing.

And I detect some mockage going on? Cuz I thinks I do.

Emily Blake said...

I was thining that when I saw the previews. This was one of my favorite books as a child because I could relate to it extremely well. I'm glad to hear the film is pretty good, but it's such a shame they marketed it poorly. It's a beautiful book. Hopefully word of mouht will give it some legs.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

'Old Yeller' scarred me for life. I first saw it when I was 7 or 8...didn't see the dog's death coming, even when that rifle was aimed right at the poor rabid pooch, I thought for sure something wonderful or magical would happen (hey, it is Disney, after all) and the dog would be OK.

I was wrong.

I was in my early 30s the next time I saw it -- and I still cried my eyes out. Fucking Disney, I should send them my therapy bills!