Based on the popular novel from 1977, this beautiful adaptation springs from the quasi-philosophical magic that is quite similar to the chronicles of Narnia, but takes place in the woods of the neighborhood that we humans live in, and it's more American and 100% less British. Instead of siblings, it's about friendship. The characters Jess (Josh Hutcherson) and Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) are portrayed as realistic relatable characters, because they truly reflect the personal life dilemmas that we deal with, like difficult families, bulling, no friends, and loss, That's because, the serious themes relating to loneliness and loss, but they're treated thoughtfully. The friendship between Jesse and Leslie is sweet and it was handled very well, and not to mention that the acting from the whole cast is definitely first-rate. The movie has strong messages about individuality. Both of these two characters use their imagination when they are in the woods at the end of the road, and when we Jesse walks cautiously into the woods for the first time, we have some dark woodland scenery and forest noises, it makes us feel uneasy and we're instantly sucked in. The film also has some eye-popping passages that the screenplay provided (when the dark master runs and disappears, it gives you the feeling of either imagination or hallucination). Just like the chronicles of Narnia, the special effects are wonderfully executed, and brings the magic to life. The film mixes real situations and fantasy imagination, by using mythical creatures that are threatening and scary to represent the bullies and the issues with a parent, in that way, the film has the potential to motivate children in the audience to use their imagination when they are outside playing and they will also relate to the issues that the characters have. Not only that this film is about fantasy imagination and friendship, the movie also has a strong Christian worldview that's profound and incredibly touching (it has elements of Christianity). Without giving anything away, Jesse's father at the end of the film talks about the mistake that Jesse made and what he heard about God and Jesus. The majestic music score is by Aaron Zigman, and his score for this movie is striking and beautiful. As for flaws: The writers made Bailee Madison as Jesse's little sister say a mildly bad word (the D word twice in one scene), and there are a few times where 2 boys who are bullies keep pushing and running past Jesse (It was as if they were used as funny "running" gags). A modern fantasy adventure that has imagination through the eyes of children, and deals with real-life issues that everyone can relate to. Recommended.
14 people found this review helpful
My kids and I absolutely loved this movie. When my older children we're younger they loved it so I introduced it to my 5 year old yesterday and he loved it so much we bought the movie. This movie is a true WINNER!!!! Please take the time to watch this movie with your family. You will experience laughter, sorrow, hope, and all other emotions in this films. Enjoy.