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Thursday, January 05, 2006

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I took my whole family to see it New Year's Eve. One of the reasons I went (and picked the most expensive theater) was I wanted to send a message to Hollywood that I will part with my hard earned dollars for movies like this. I also plan to buy the DVD the week it comes out.

That having been said, the experience was fabulous. Not since I watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time, and Dorothy opens the door to living color was I affected as I was when Lucy opened the wardrobe and stepped into Narnia.

Special effects-wise, excellent also. The facial effects of the animals were superb (I had the same feeling about Star Wars I where Jar-Jar's face was the absolute best special effect bar none).

The character development was fabulous. And the allegory, though in-your-face is perfect for our society today. Some people need to be hit with this particular religious allegory like getting smacked in the face with a dead mackerel before they "get it".

All in all, I can't say enough about the movie. I believe the lady who played the white witch also played the half-angel Gabriel in Constantine. She is quite the actress and can generate a decent amount of loathing.

All in all a worthwhile film at twice the price.

What's the heresy that says Jesus and Satan are equals? That's what I didn't like about the film. There are a number of lines cut and scenes altered that show, in the book, how unequal Aslan and the White Witch are.

Inconsistencies: why, on the island of the Dufflepuds in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is Lucy visible while Aslan is invisible in obedience to the spell? And why do the Dufflepuds carry weapons which are invisible but soup tureens which can be seen? And were the missing noblemen all on one big ship that dropped them off one by one on likely-looking islands? I don't get it. Not that I'm not enjoying it (I'm reading VotDT to my middle guys now -- can you tell?), there are just some parts of the story that seem slightly muddled.

I loved the movie, and left it feeling as though I was so glad the world could meet these characters who mean so much to me. They may not KNOW them as I feel I do from the books, but I'm so glad they can meet them now.
Heh. How's that for simplistic?

I love the series and can't wait to see the movie (I am going this weekend...FINALLY!)
I have been a fan of TLTW&TW for as long as I can remember. As a fifth grade teacher, I read it with my class every year. The movie was not given good ratings here, and I was really worried about seeing it at first. But, everyone that I know who has seen it has really enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to it now. I will let you know what I think...

PS-Sometimes, when I am reaching into the wardrobe at my parent's house for a blanket, I reach back really far just to see if there is a back. I always have a tiny hope that the wardrobe won't end...and that I will get to Narnia! (Though, I know, of course, that there are other ways to get there...and one never knows how they will arrive.....)

The Chronicles of Narnia and The Little House series were also my favorite childhood series. In fact, my younger sister often fell victim to "playing Narnia," or playing the role of Laura in plays in which my character, Ma, had extensive monologues!
We went to see the movie on the 23rd, which made it even more special. My most recent rereading of the series was over a year ago, so I wasn't comparing details, either, but think that overall they stayed true to Lewis' themes. I was particularly happy that they didn't cast any known actors for the leads (I'm usually good with voices but didn't realize Liam Neenson was Aslan until the credits) and agree about the actress who played Lucy--she blew me away.
I also went out and bought the soundtrack--I like just about every track on it.

All in all--loved it. Will buy the DVD if for no other reason than to encourage them to make the whole series. But I was feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end of it...long time fan of the books. I've been adapting literture to the stage and have long wanted to do Lewis so I'm a little bit curmudgeonly about the script (a touch of I could do that so better-itis).

Lucy was sufficiently endearing and Edmund self-righteously put out. Peter and Susan were a bit forgettable. I wanted more from Peter. While I felt Peter Jackson's liberties with were mostly faithful at best and forgiveable at worst, I felt that the liberties taken with this movie were totally lacking in insight and betrayed a sort of ignorance of the heart of the book.

The worst omissions: it lacked Aslan's vulnerability and that was a positively aching miss...how he moaned and begged the girls to put their hands in his mane so he could feel them there on the walk to the stone table. I so missed that. And his child like romp post resurrection. Such beautiful touches.

I also missed a bit of the depth of the conversations Professor Kirke head with Susan and Peter.

And I missed the back story to the White Witch, though, it may go the way of the Smeagol back story and show up in later film.

Yes, Tolkein had a problem with allegory and even wrote an intro to one edition of his book cursing those who pasted it on top of the trilogy--but straight allegory is good for young ones and obviously it stuck with us and made us feel the Christ story on a deeper level. So useful. LW & W was the best, along with The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. The others were not as strong, a little clumsier, perhaps.

Good post...I've been waiting for one from you, my favorite blogger.

(BTW:I also loved the Little House series AND all LM Montgomery's books...I see you are reading Anne...have you read the Emily trilogy...in some ways even better than Anne)

We saw it on the 23rd too - drove to a big "destination" movie theater about 30 miles from here - big honkin screen and great seats. I had a bad cold that day so my initial reaction was a bit blunted, but on reflection, it really was great. I really liked how Edmund's character was established, starting from the opening sequence (I won't spoil it) which I think was really good to help 21st-century kids understand why the Pevensies were in that house... I re-read the book right after seeing the movie and it made it even better for me, having visuals.

The obvious allegory is only one reason Tolkien disliked the Narnia books. Another reason was the mixing of disparate 'ingredients'- fauns and centaurs from Greek mythology, talking animals- even Father Christmas !- without much effort to make them fit well with each other.
Also,the Narnia books were so very 'hasty', as Treebeard would say- seven books published in little more than seven years ! When you consider that Tolkien worked on "The Lord of the Rings" for fourteen years, this made Lewis's 'tossing off' his popular fantasies a bit aggravating. (Tolkien once spent a whole afternoon fixing the appearances of the Moon in LOTR so that it matched the chronology ! )

I'm glad you did a post on the movie. We absolutely loved it, and were very satisfied with the film version of the book.

I remember first hearing the story about Narnia when I was in first grade and have loved it ever since.

I thought that certain parts of the film were very intense, especially the scene of Aslan's sacrifice. I did think it strange that none of the fighting or battle scenes had any red blood in them! I guess Disney didn't want to scare children *too much?*

We were also glad that the movie concludes in a similar way to the book, with the grown up children riding through the woods, searching for the elusive white stag.

Now I am hoping that Disney will adapt another one of the books into film, perhaps The Magician's Newphew?

Happy New Year!

I loved Narnia, though I also thought Kong was good (and would have been excellent had Jackson managed to restrain himself and cut out about five hours of the dinosaur fights). Lucy was adorable, and in a wonderfully realistic way - not sticky-sweet at all, but definitely the youngest sister. (Did you notice how she makes big, cute eyes at Peter when she's begging him to play hide and seek?)

These books were the backdrop to my childhood, as well. (They were actually my first major allowance save-up purchase....took me months!) So, I was excited and wary at the same time to see the movie.

I did read the book again right before seeing the movie, but for me it worked out differently. When I re-read the book, I was terribly disappointed because I never realized as a kid how horribly AWFUL the writing is. I mean, truly, truly terrible, at least when encountering it as an adult. As a child, the writing was perfect: just enough description and no words to stumble over that would interrupt the plot. This time around, I finished the book, wondering how I could ever have loved it so much.

But, then I saw the movie.....and I remembered why. The movie brought the whole thing back to me---all the images I had conjured up, how attached I had been to Lucy, how vividly emotional the story had been. The movie filled that gap that had been constructed with adulthood---a truly priceless gift.

Awwww, thanks for writing about this! =)

I don't suppose I need to tell you that I really, really liked the movie. I HAD read the book before I saw the movie ... over and over again actually, b/c of our church's dramatic reading. I don't think it ruined it at all. If anything, it made me appreciate the great attention to detail. For example, when Lucy first walks into the wardrobe, they cut to a blue bottle in the window sill (which I thought was an actual blue BOTTLE, but now realize is a fly.) This is straight out of a line in the book. Stuff like that was GREAT.

My only major complaints are the changes I feel that they made to Susan and Peter, which I suppose could just be opinion. I feel like in the book they're both much more quick to believe in Narnia, and want to stay and help Lucy/Aslan/Mr. Tumnus. It seemed in the movie that they argued and were rather petty and not wanting to move foreward with what they knew they needed to do. Not really the way I felt their inner character was like, which bothered me.

Other than that, any changes made or things that were left out were very minor annoyances and didn't affect how much I enjoyed the book. It IS a movie, and one never knows why these decisions are made, right?

I've seen it twice and cried both times Lucy walks through the wardrobe. I can't tell you what it was like to look over at my DAD at that point in the movie with tears in my eyes and have him look back at me with HIS eyes brimming over and hear him whisper,"It's just how I imagined it." I'll never forget that moment as long as I live.

FYI, they have just started work on Prince Caspian (likely because that's the only other book that includes all four kids as kids - or at least, that's my guess). Woohoo! I thought they did an amazing job; the 'scourging' section, especially where they hacked off Aslan's mane, was harrowing. I do wonder what the appropriate age for kids to see this movie is, though. People sitting in the same row as me brought a baby who couldn't have been older than 16 months, which is crazy (though she was very well behaved), but I saw a fair number of kids near to five years old, and I know that I, at least, couldn't have handled it at that age. On the other hand my sister was obsessed with the Wonderworks version they used to show on PBS (has anyone else seen that?) which she watched on tape constantly. Of course, since the animals were all people in animal suits it was much less scary.

I have to say that even the book scared the heck out of me as a kid. It seems funny to me that so few other people had this reaction. The film's Mr Tumnus is just what my sister always imagined, sweet and adorable, but I thought he was creepy and cowardly the first time I tried to read it, when I was perhaps 8 or 9. He wasn't at all my idea of how an adult should behave towards a child, and I was very frightened for Lucy, and didn't really buy his repentance. And of course the idea of Edmund selling out his siblings was dreadful and terrifying. The next time I tried, when I was around 12 or 13, I got really annoyed by the heavy-handedness of the allegory. I had this very snooty "does he think kids are dumb" attitude about it - just felt it was too simplistic. It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I finished TLTWATW (and in short order the rest of the books) and loved them all.

I should add that King Kong is a really great movie, but I think the people in the movie industry were completely stupid to assume it was going to beat everything else, especially Narnia. Narnia has a huge built in audience with Christians and readers and kids, and I just don't think anyone except maybe a few film afficiandos could be all that excited about a giant monkey. Narnia has a bigger audience since it's for kids as well as adults, and is a far shorter movie (so can have more showing). Family movies always do better than anything else. I don't know why Hollywood is always forgetting that.

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