Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Movie Review: The Chronicals of Narnia the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

When my wife and I saw Narnia , she loved it but she had also read the book as a child. I on the other hand did not, I was reading JRR Tolkien and thus have mixed feelings about the film, I'll take her word that the film is faithful to the novel. The opening sequence in WWII England was fabulous and the final battle against the White Witch had some interesting similarities. Narnia is a great fantasy movie for children, like Harry Potter I hope this movie sparks an interest in reading the books. Tilda Swinton (The Beach) was amazing as the White Witch! As good as Ian Mckellan was as Gandalf, Tilda was just as good as the White Witch. My only gripe was that I think the film should have spent a bit more time with Jadis so the connection between her and the White Witch was a little clearer. I got it but I think it might be missed by "Joe movie goer". As I stated earlier this movie is for children but there are aspects adults will catch while the kids are mezmerized by talking bevers and lions. I am extremely pleased with the casting of the four children, they could've gone all Hollywood but opted to with truer actors, these kids fit the roles perfectly. Georgie Henley (Lucy) is delightful on screen and Skandar Keynes has just the right look as Edmund and does a good job portraying the character and all Edmunds emotions. There are many sickly sweet scenes, but I don't fault the film, it's that we adults aren't used to it anymore, we're jaded and synical. Children will see this film differntly than we do.But then there are scenes that felt unbalanced, most notably the Aslan sacrafice. It resonates a specific scene in Passion of the Christ. Whether intentional or not by C.S Lewis I made that connection, for kids it may be a bit too scary in my opinion.Another scene that seemed odd for me was when Father Christmas showed up out of thin air and gave these kids weapons. This scene seemed edited and didn't work quite as the extended scene in LotR when Galadriel gives the Fellowship gifts as they depart from Lothlorien.The final scene that didn't sit well with me was Lucy's first encounter with Mr Tumnus, but as I said earlier what I saw will not be what children see. When Mr Tumnus invites Lucy to his home for tea and cake I instantly had warnings going off in my mind. I somehow doubt children would have that same forboding.As I watched the final battle I kept thinking of William Wallace.....why? HmmmmThe fight between Peter and the Witch was enjoyable to watch, the sets were all magnificent, the aerial scenes with the Gryphons were cool, Liam Neeson doing the voice of Aslan was the right choice. There were some obvious super imposures that I spotted, but didn't detract from the overall experience. In the end the thing that stuck with me the most was something Professor Kirke told Lucy, during the credits, when she asked if she could ever go back to Narnia. It was the youngest of the four who first discovered Narnia, it was then that I realized as we get older we loose our imagination, we become jaded and see the world differently. So is the case with the audience, the children in the audience will be able to believe in Aslan and Mr. Tumnus and the beauty of Narnia, we will see four kids wisked away to the counrtyside to escape war torn england and thru there boredom create a fantastic world that mirrors the real world around them.