The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe   April 21st, 2010

Originally Written 12/16/05

I went and saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe tonight. It was a brilliantly done movie and it totally met my hopes and expectations.

It was very true to the book. I could see places where they had to take some things out for time. There were also some scenes of new material which were added, but that enhanced the story, while staying true to the spirit of the book. One thing I really liked was how they fleshed out the characters of the children more.

That gave them more depth and you could really understand the motivations for their actions, as well as empathizing with them. The actors were all quite good as well. And finally, for those people who are worried about the religions overtones of the movie, don’t let those concerns keep you away.

Like in the book, the Christian subtex is very nuanced and deftly handled, and the story can be taken in both secular or pagan and religious manners. I’ve always loved how C. S. Lewis handled the religious allegories in the Narnia books. Aslan is an obvious Christ figure, but that’s never heavy handed and I liked how warm and caring the character is, even on the occasion when he’s acting as a moral shepherd.

The visuals were amazing. First all the location shots in New Zealand were impressive. There were several breathtaking scenes, and I was reminded of The Lord of the Rings movies in a couple of shots. And of course the creature effects were outstanding. The whole film celebrated Lewis’ love of myths and fantasy and it really brought the world of Narnia and its inhabitants to life. The diversity in characters and creatures was really impressive and the immersive visual fantasy was a lot of fun.

I was a little saddened by the stereotyping of the wolves, as I was when I read the book, but they were still neat to see. Even though the minotaurs were the bad guys, they were also great to look at. The griffins were so cute too, but Mr. and Mrs. Beaver were my favorites. They had good voice actors for them too. And of course Aslan was wonderful too, they got his characterization spot on and Liam Neeson gave his voice a wonderful mix of power and compassion.

One thing that surprised me in the film was the battle scenes. The film opened up with London under attack by a Nazi air raid. I wasn’t expecting that, but it really set the tone for the opening of the film. Then, in the battle between Aslan’s and the White Witch’s armies, I was again surprised by how brutal it was. It wasn’t gorey, there was no blood shown, but it was quite intense. I think it works for a family film, and was definitely not gratuitous. It shows what was at stake and didn’t glorify violence, but at the same time it might be better for older kids.

And the scene with Aslan sacrificing himself to be killed on the stone table was another impressive scene. The stroke of the blade cutting him was never even shown, instead the camera focused on his eyes as the Witch brought down the blow. I felt that to be even more effective. It was very powerful and natural, and not manipulative. There were a couple of scenes in the movies where I felt my eyes watering up, and that was one of them.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 5:49 am and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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