The great sadness of Narnia

30 Apr

I love movies.
I need to see more of them.
Specifically, I need to see more of the ones I haven’t seen before.
I was walking through blockbuster looking for movies to rent and I really just need to have an income so I can join netflix.
It cost me $8 to rent two movies. That’s almost as much as it cost to see Thank You For Smoking in the theater (which was great). Both are too expensive. Regardless, and in summary, I need to see more movies. That I haven’t seen before. Because I love them.

Also, since I prefer to not really review movies until I have seen them more than once (since the initial response is often different than the second more-informed one) and since I finally showed The Chronicles of Narnia to Rhea last night, here is a review of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

This movie should be one of the great triumphs of cinema. But it isn’t close.
I love the story of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. I have loved it since I read the book, though it has been many years since that happened. So many years in fact that I don’t really remember the book… only the story.
But while I love the story, I do not love this movie, and that is a sad thing. The movie gets a fair amount perfectly right, and that makes the rest, which it gets very wrong, even worse.
The main problem with the movie (other than the script) is that it is very inconsistent. Sometimes, the music is really good (I like the Narnia theme) and then sometimes it’s playing pop music. Pop music? Over a movie taking place in war-torn Britain/Narnia?? Why?? And then there’s the special effects. Sometimes, like with Mr. Tumnus, they are nothing short of amazing. And then sometimes (like when the children are looking out over the frozen river they have to cross) they can’t even do a simple blue screen right. Not to mention that while some of the computer generated creatures (like Aslan) look really great… some of them (like the fox) look downright horrible, or at least like something out of a PS2 game. And while we’re listing all the inconsistencies… what happened with the production design??
Why does the White Witch have that really strange hairstyle? Why is her dress a tube of white felt which leaves her shoulders bare? How does that make any sort of sense? Why does her castle look like it’s made entirely of ice… but then not melt when all the rest of the ice melts?

What is right in the movie? Mainly Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. If the movie has any heart, any place where I feel like caring, it’s with these two characters. All of the child actors are great, but Lucy is the only one with a well-written part. It seems like the script went out of its way to make Edmund, Peter, and Susan hard to like until near the end of the movie, if at all.

The two biggest things it gets wrong? Aslan, and the White Witch. Other than the strange and nonsensical design and look of the Witch, I just don’t like Tilda Swinton’s performance. I don’t understand her motivation, I don’t feel like she is evil by nature, because she “pretends” to be nice more often than she acts evil. Where is she coming from? Why does she want to keep Narnia in a neverending winter and wear a white felt tube? Maybe if she allowed Christmas she would get a new costume from Santa.

And then there’s Aslan, who in the movie sounds like Liam Neeson, because it is Liam Neeson. You know that part in The Two Towers where Gandalf the White meets Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, and his voice sounds like both Gandalf and Saruman? That’s what Aslan should sound like all the time. His voice should always range from scary and evil to comforting, loving, and kind. Always ranging this way every few seconds. Because he is Aslan. He is a fierce lion, and even those who are loyal to him, are scared of him. He should be huge. He should be both dangerous and cuddly looking. At least, that’s the way the story goes. In the movie, he seems to just be a talking lion. Who sounds like Liam Neeson. We should just call him Liam Neeslan the talking Lion King. Aslan should be both worshipped and feared at the same time, by all the characters. Wouldn’t that be a much more interesting and captivating thing to see? It might even make me care. In the end, I’m left mainly feeling disappointed and saddened, because Narnia is one of the greatest stories ever told, and this movie absolutely isn’t.


5 Responses to “The great sadness of Narnia”

  1. kirawen May 1, 2006 at 2:17 pm #

    Go see the 80s versions of the Narnia series! I’m a loyal fan ^_^ Even if Aslan does look kind of silly sometimes, cuz… well… it’s the 80s, they didn’t have good special effects. And he flies, which is weird but whatever. The theme music is awesome ^_^ Yay 80s!
    I have to say, though, I love how they did the griffins in the new one.

    • Anonymous May 1, 2006 at 5:17 pm #

      Oh I’ve seen the 80’s version, it’s great, except for the casting of the kids isn’t as good, and all the effects basically suck. I don’t remember the music. Maybe I should see it again. But yes, they did get Aslan and the White Witch right.
      Does he fly or just jump over the Witches’ castle gates? Cause he jumps over the gates in the book, and that’s how he gets into the courtyard with all the statues… and then he unfreezes a giant who tears down the gates so that they can all leave. As for flying… well… he’s not Falcor, only Jesus. Sheesh.
      The griffins were cool in the new one. And so was the unicorn. And the beavers, even if they did change their character a bit.

  2. kirawen May 1, 2006 at 9:23 pm #

    LOL yeah, he flies, most decidedly. He flies to the castle from the hill and lands in the courtyard. I think he flies in one of the others as well.
    I didn’t like Lucy too much in the 80s ones, at first, but then she kinda grew on me. And Caspian’s hot ^_^ I just rented them a few months ago after not having seen them since they aired on TV, and the minute the theme music began everything came rushing back ^_^ I mean, I always remembered loving them and waiting impatiently for the next installment, and I always wanted to marry Aslan, but DAMN. The level of all those feelings was interesting to remember. … Umm… I’ve been hanging out on too much today; I’ve forgotten how to speak…
    So probably in the end the only reason why I like the originals better is simply because of the nostalgia. But the beavers and wolves were way cooler in the new one just because animation is so good now. Although, on must argue for the creative ways they found portray the beavers and Faun Tumnus. You should definitely go see the old ones again sometime. Dooo do do dooooooo do dooooo do do do do do doooo do do doooooo!

    • junorhane May 2, 2006 at 7:01 pm #

      “Dooo do do dooooooo do dooooo do do do do do doooo do do doooooo!”
      Oh right! That’s the theme! Thanks. *rolls eyes*
      The originals definitely have nostalgia (although I don’t think I ever saw Prince Caspian, or Dawn Treader) but they also do a better job of telling the story. On the other hand, I do remember thinking that Lucy was cast all wrong.

      • kirawen May 3, 2006 at 3:23 pm #

        ^_^ It’s my job to be annoying.

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