Monday, December 12, 2005

Movie Review for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I just had to post a picture of Hannah hugging the lampost :). Her lampost-hugging caught on the next day during a walk through our neighborhood. It seemed that every lampost we passed was hugged by one person or another*.

*Disclaimer: No lamposts were harmed in the process. Furthermore, the author of this post was merely a bystander in this activity and took no active part in the proceedings.

The picture with all 4 girls is of Lucy Pevensie, a dryad, the lampost, and the White Witch. I thought all the costumes were quite creative, especially the lampost hat that really turned on!

Whew! What a blur of a weekend. I planned on typing up my review on Friday, but various events prevented me until this morning. I took a 3 hour nap yesterday to finally recover from my loss of sleep on Thursday. I now feel refreshed and back to normal :).

So, did I like the movie? Well, yes, I definitely did! I also do have nitpicks to share, but overall I would say I very much enjoyed it and felt it was overall faithful to the original story. I will first share the pros of the movie, then the cons. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want details, then don't read my review :).


- The acting was excellent - considerably better than the BBC production.
- The special effects were good, and the centaurs and fauns really looked real. No cartoon winged horses in this adaptation :).
- The scenery was breath taking and fit my mental image of Narnia. The rendition of the castle of Cair Paravel was especially beautiful, although more regal than I had imagined. The mermaids leaping out of the water was a nice inclusion.
- The costumes were well-done. I especially liked Susan's and Lucy's Narnian dresses and the Narnian armor for battle, with the Red Lion emblem engraved on the metal. Very real looking. The start of the battle, with the two armies lunging towards each other, really looked like Pelennor Fields :).
- The story and overall message was preserved. The themes of sacrifice, redemption, loyalty, etc. were still very much there.
- There were a few little details, added for the bibliophiles, that were nice: the moth balls falling out of the wardrobe as Lucy opens it up and the book titles in Mr. Tumnus' library (Is Man a Myth?, etc.). I also thought the effect of Jadis' icicle crown was neat. It slowly melts as the movie progresses, symbolizing her gradual loss of power.


- One costume I did not like was Jadis'. Her dresses were really oddly shaped, as if the top was stuffed with styrofoam or something of that sort.
- The beavers were a tad annoying, but okay. The BBC beavers, while really corny looking, were much more loveable and faithful to the book.
- The depiction of the dryads was a little odd, imo. They were kind of a whirlwind of flowers that came off the trees. Hard to describe, but not to my liking. I especially did not like that the dryads told Peter and Edmond of Aslan's death before the battle.
- Peter's battle stance was odd - the way he held his sword was abnormal.
- The book quote "battles are ugly when women fight" was instead changed to "battles are ugly" when Father Christmas explains to Susan and Lucy that they are to use their weapons only in great need. This leaves the audience wondering why he told Susan and Lucy this, but not Peter. The quote would have been better left out completely since they decided to distort it.
- Aslan didn't seem to have the same aura that he does in the books. I can't put my finger on it, but something was missing. He was much more life-like than the BBC puppet, though ;-).
- Many scenes seemed rushed and undeveloped. It would have nicer if more time had been allotted for lingering.
- Finally, and perhaps most notable, it struck me as rather selfish the way the Pevensies spent almost the whole movie trying to get out of Narnia and the conflict as quickly as possible. They kept talking about getting home and leaving the problems to other people, etc. Not the same feeling one gets from the book.

Well, there you have it. My own list of pros and cons to the movie. I definitely have some complaints about the movie, but far fewer than I anticipated. Overall it was faithful to the book, and this is one movie I will definitely want to get on DVD. I'd be interested to hear anyone else's opinion of the movie.


Hannah :-) said...

I agree... my biggest problem was that the children kept wanting to go back home. The excitement, wonder, and child-like joy was partly lost. Instead of being the kind of a adventure that most children dream of, these children didn't seem to want to be there! I understand part of their hesitation to stay - they had just escaped from another war -, but they overdid their desire to go home.
In other thoughts (so as not to make this post all negative), I really liked the movie despite some objections. :-D I'm sure I would've loved it even more if I had never read the books.

Steven Wales said...

You make an excellent point about the "battles are ugly" comment. Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. Though my daughter just read the book, I haven't read it since 1979! I too liked the movie and likewise reviewed it yesterday. Found your review just doing a search.

Michelle said...

We saw the movie on Friday evening. I was very pleased with the overall movie and was surprised that Hollywood followed the story line as well as it did.

I guess I didn't see all of the children wanting to constantly go home as much as I saw only Susan wanting to leave. Going so far as to be a complete and total nag concerning the whole issue.
While Edmund was very convincing in his role of defiant brother, I felt Peter's role was rather weak and somewhat overacted. I enjoyed Lucy very well.
My personal review on my blog was somewhat diluted and I wish I had waited and mulled things over in my head a little more before posting.
I enjoyed your review very much. :)

Susan said...

Yes, I was also surprised by how un-Hollywoodized it was. Susan (Why does the character who ends up apostacizing have to be named Susan?) was definitely the ringleader in terms of nagging to go home, but it did seem like the others (excepting Lucy) participated with her in a way that was contrary to (or in addition to) the book. We thought Peter overdid his bossiness, but other than that I liked most of his acting, minus his battle stance :).

zan said...

I saw it and thought it was good. I haven't read the books in years so I really couldn't compare. I really enjoyed TLOTR better. I thought this story is more directed at children. I was very moved by the scene where Aslan die's. It was so obvious what the scene was really saying. It made my sister cry who didn't have a clue what the story was about. I was never crazy abou the story because I absolutely hated the BBC version. I thought it was weird and corny. Lucy needed to be drop-kicked, in my opinion. She was always whining. I am glad I read the book after I saw the BBC or I would have never even seen this movie. The witch in the new movie was really good at being bad. Really creepy. I would recommend it.

I especially liked the fact that it blew away the competition on opening weekend. (I mean, who wants to go spend money to see a movie about gay cow boys? Wait, isn't that an oxymoron?)