Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe

I’ve been looking forward to this movie since I saw the first preview during the first midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith.

So promptly after finishing I am Charlotte Simmons, I picked up a boxed set of “The Chronicles of Narnia” in hopes of reading the book before seeing the movie. Mission accomplished as I finished the book about an hour before the first midnight showing.

The movie starts out with a rather graphic sequence of the carpet-bombing of London by during Nazis in World War II. Now for those of you not expecting any Saving Private Ryan type scenes here, fear not, this does move the plot along.

A great deal of the action in this film was a screenwriter’s embellishment of the C.S. Lewis’s original story unlike “The Lord Of The Rings” series of movies which were more or less direct translations of Tolkin’s novels.

The new sequences made directly for the film are done with a great deal of care and love for the C.S. Lewis’s intent in his writing. However modern filmmaking practices were implemented with the same care.

The “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” is the most famous of the seven books that make up “The Chornicles of Narnia”. It is the story of four children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy; who discover the gateway to a magical world in the back of an oak chest in the spare room of an old professor’s house.

Once they enter Narnia they are treated not as simple strangers in a foreign land, but sought as royalty after by the residents thereof. Quickly they find that they are the pivotal players in power struggle by the white which and Aslan (So now we have a Lion and a Witch to go with our Wardrobe! I love it when things come together nicely).

Providing the conflict is the evil witch. And that’s about her character, pure evil. She lies to Edmund to trick him into betraying his siblings, so she may maintain power. It is his redemption provided by Aslan that turns him and allows Edmund the chance to single handedly turn the tide of the battle himself.

This is the root of the Christian symbolism that was the basic intent of C.S. Lewis’s work. Aslan’s self-sacrifice even visually is reminiscent of “The Passion of the Christ” which fits since that is exactly the metaphor the book sought to make.

The big battle scene was more or less glossed over in the book, but is filmed quite like the war for Middle Earth in the recent Lord of the Rings films. I would also call this feat of cinema quite sterilized when compared to its older brother. The audience for this movie is younger than it’s older brother’s so Disney took the effort to create an epic battle without showing any blood. Nonetheless the action doe keep you gripped.

Overall the movie makes it’s point and is as good a film as it could have been given the brevity of the source material. The screenwriting was done well enough to provide more believable dialogue than in Lord of the Rings, though fans of the book will find the additional scenes added in to the movie a bit tedious.

This movie is perfect for anyone who has read the book, Families, and children not quite old enough for Lord of the Rings. Disney did well in staying true to the book and Liam Neeson’s voice talents were perfectly cast as Aslan.

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