Saturday, December 31, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia

I saw Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe this afternoon and I really enjoyed it. I reread the whole series yearly and had high expectations which were amply exceeded. So here are some thoughts.

The Good:

Georgie Henley and William Mosley as Lucy and Peter were fabulous. I especially enjoyed how accessable William Mosley made Peter's character. Peter was torn between two duties; to his siblings and the promise he makes to his mother, and to the longing to fight the good fight and his promise to Aslan. In the opening scene as Helen Pevensie places the children on the train to the country, this pulling of duty and desire is very well expressed. Peter shepherds his siblings, especially young Lucy, to the train and looks to see young men in uniform boarding a different train. They are obviously shipping out and obviously just a couple of years Peter's senior.

Aslan. If Aslan was bad then there was no movie, but Aslan was very very good. First, Liam Neeson's voice was spot on, there was a gravity there but also a gentleness. Kudos to the animators for being able to give expressiveness to a lion's face without making it a human expression.

There were many, many wonderful things but those were the two that really stood out.

The Different

James McAvoy's portrayal of Tumnus the Faun was completely different than anything I had pictured, but it was great. I don't know why, but I always pictured Tumnus as shrinking, mincing, kind of weak. I think it was all the crying in the book. While the character's actions really don't change dramatically, my impression of Tumnus' mettle increased.

Crossing the Ice. In a scene straight out of a Hollywood "action beat" list, the children are trapped on an icy river that is breaking up. The scene was well done but jarred. I wish the director would have taken that time to expand on Cair Paravel or the scene in the Beaver's house as they explained the prophesy of Adam's Flesh and Adam's Bone or Professor Kirke.


I loved some of the detail work in costumes and settings. The thrones at Cair Paravel had different insignia for each king and queen: Peter, a sword, Susan, a horn, Edmund, a broken Wand, and Lucy, a bottle. The Professor had an apple as his tobacco holder. (In Magician's Nephew, Diggory Kirke, brings back an apple from Narnia.) Peter riding a white unicorn was also a nice touch. (In The Last Battle, King Tirian of Narnia rides a white unicorn named Jewel.) I saw a clip of Andrew Adamson, the director, saying that he wanted to make a movie of the book as he imagined it reading as a child, I would say he succeeded. He did one better, he made it the way I imagined it as a child.

Radio Blogger has a good round up of reviews.

No comments: