The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

We finally got out and saw this great movie.  And I will say that it was good and I was impressed.

That’s the simple review.  Now for the more complex review.

Story:
The story was great.  But, that’s because it was originally written by C.S. Lewis, and it would have taken a lot to mess up this already wonderful story.  I do wish that more people were familiar with book 1.  Because frankly you understand who the professor is, and where the wardrobe came from, and the significance of the street lamp in the middle of the forest, but I guess that is one of the simple pleasures for people who have read the books to enjoy, because the movie is very true to these aspects (especially the Professor).

They also stayed very true to the original story, at least, as best as I can remember.  It has been about 3 to 4 years since I read the book, so there might have been an embellishment or too, but what changes I noticed seemed to be a the eyes of making it fit in the movie and not just trying to make a “better” story.

Characters:
Again the original characters are wonderful, so the critic here is on more how they were cast.  Most of the characters were portrayed as I would have liked them to be.

Lucy was perhaps the worst portrayal (please don’t take that as being too much of a negative; the worst in a bunch of deliciously ripe strawberries is still the worst in that bunch).  I think that Lucy was cast to be the cute little girl that everyone just ogles over.  It was a failure in that aspect.  She is a good actress, and played the part very well, but there are just too many camera shots of her trying to be the Savannah of Savannah Smiles.  It just didn’t work.

The White Witch was a very close second for worst characterization.  My reading of the book had the white witch as being a very aggressive, power hungry, I know what I want and I am going to get it, focus kind of tyrant.  The movie made it seem that she was just too stoned to really know what she was doing.  She didn’t really come across as being in control or someone you just loved to hate.  Instead you felt more of a lull about her.

I almost hate to mention Aslan.  I think for the most part he was portrayed well.  However, I didn’t love the movie Aslan as much as I did the book Aslan.  I think that many aspects of his character were either missed or skipping in this movie.  I should have found myself crying about him at the end, but I just didn’t.  Perhaps it was the overused close-ups of Lucy that just got in the way of my love for Aslan at the end, but regardless, I still think they could have done better.

Again, for the most part, the characterizations were great.  Peter was perfectly portrayed.  Edward was excellently played.  Suzan, the Beavers, Tumnus all came across as they should have.  So, don’t let these minor mischaracterizations (which are really minor) turn you away.  Lucy is still the Lucy from the book.  Aslan is lovable, just not as lovable as the book.  And you are glad to see the White Witch get her just end.

Scenery:
The scenery was excellent.  Perhaps, this is really where the directors talent shined through.  I can’t believe some of the wonderful shots that he had.  I really wished that I was in the Narnia that he was so excellently portrayed.

Special Effects:
The scenery was great accept for the snow.  Sorry, the snow on the ground just wasn’t convincing.  I found myself almost wanting to laugh at the cotton balls and plastic flakes.  It definitely could have been done a lot better.  They did manage to make it somewhat realistic, there were foot prints, the snow stuck to clothes, but the ground was just not real snow.

The worst special effect though was Aslan.  There were at least 3 different looking Aslans.  There was the real lion that they used.  This Aslan looked great and was wonderful.  But if Aslan was talking in scene his face would double in size.  It was absolutely noticeable, and really wanting for a better portrayal.  The third Aslan was the computer generated (but not talking) Aslan, that was often scene walking with the children or in a fight.  It just didn’t cut it.

If I were to rate this film on special effects alone, it would get the worst rating I could give it.  They must have spent their money on the scenery, because that definitely made up for the bad special effects.

Overall:
On a 5-star rating system I would have to give this move a 4-star rating.  I know that I overemphasized the bad (ask my wife and mother-in-law they say it’s because I am a pessimist).  But, really the movie was excellent and it was very much worth seeing again.  I was definitely thinking that I would love to see this movie again, especially after I re-read the book.  But I would love to see it again for the movies sake alone.  Put this on your must see list.

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