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In The Theaters
I just saw it and boy does it...
318

The Chronicles of Narnia: THe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Topic by: IronS
Posted: December 11, 2005 - 6:52 PM PST
Last Reply: December 14, 2005 - 6:02 AM PST

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author topic: The Chronicles of Narnia: THe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
IronS
post #1  on December 11, 2005 - 6:52 PM PST  
Just for completeness sake:

> On December 9, 2005 - 10:46 PM PST pooja wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> The new Narnia film is MILES better than any of the Harry Potter films! It never gave that feeling that the director is rushing you through all the scenes you know by heart from the book. The child actors could actually act! There were actually a couple of scenes that made me teary eyed, and that never happened in the Potter movies.
>
> And Tilda Swinton as the White Witch! Boy was she scary! She was forced to wear this ridiculous gown that looked like a champagne flute but she was so dead serious and scary you didn't laugh at her. Compared to her the noseless Voldemort was like a Beanie Baby. And beautiful at the same time.
>
> All the famous adult actors (except for Richard Harris and Maggie Smith) in Harry Potter have the air of cavorting around the set going "Whee! I'm in the film of the biggest children's book franchise in history! Whee!" But Swinton is really acting. There were only a couple of things she did that relied on special effects.
>
> I wish I could give the Narnia producers all the money the HP films made, so they could film the rest of the Chronicles....
> ---------------------------------
IronS
post #2  on December 11, 2005 - 6:52 PM PST  
> On December 10, 2005 - 12:55 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On December 9, 2005 - 10:46 PM PST pooja wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > The new Narnia film is MILES better than any of the Harry Potter films! It never gave that feeling that the director is rushing you through all the scenes you know by heart from the book.
>
> Well, the book *is* only 186 pages long. There is something to say about a straight-forward story that gets to the point.
>
>
> > And Tilda Swinton as the White Witch! Boy was she scary!
>
> Awesome!
>
> But tell us more!
>
>
> ---------------------------------
IronS
post #3  on December 11, 2005 - 6:53 PM PST  
> On December 10, 2005 - 5:46 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I was kind of hoping though that they'd avoid the London Bombings as backstory and touch on English boarding school as backstory. After all, that's where Edmund picked up his rather nasty ways.
>
> ---------------------------------
IronS
post #4  on December 11, 2005 - 6:54 PM PST  
> On December 10, 2005 - 8:22 PM PST IronS wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On December 9, 2005 - 10:46 PM PST pooja wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > The new Narnia film is MILES better than any of the Harry Potter films! The child actors could actually act!
> >
>
> I'm glad to hear of that. I may be going to see it tomorrow.
>
> > All the famous adult actors (except for Richard Harris and Maggie Smith) in Harry Potter have the air of cavorting around the set going "Whee! I'm in the film of the biggest children's book franchise in history! Whee!"
> >
>
> Actually, they're thinking, "Whee! This is my retirement fund!"
>
> > I wish I could give the Narnia producers all the money the HP films made, so they could film the rest of the Chronicles....
> > ---------------------------------
>
> I don't think I ever read the rest of the series since I didn't like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" when I read it as a child.
> ---------------------------------
IronS
post #5  on December 11, 2005 - 6:54 PM PST  
> On December 10, 2005 - 10:48 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> >
> > I don't think I ever read the rest of the series since I didn't like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" when I read it as a child.
> > ---------------------------------
>
> They vary. The Silver Chair may or may not be my favorite. Well, maybe it's just the least unique and one most in the middle and thus the least talked about one and those are always the ones I like best in a series. Maybe I like the Last Battle best. Of course, the Silver Chair doesn't have any of Pevinses and the English kiddie protagonists are the most ... edgy.
>
> Hmmm, I have a feeling I may reread all the books this week.
>
>
> ---------------------------------
woozy
post #6  on December 11, 2005 - 7:13 PM PST  
So IronS, did you see the film today?
IronS
post #7  on December 11, 2005 - 7:23 PM PST  
I must admit that I wasn't looking forward to this film due to my dislike of the book as a child (due to the ending). The film is entertaining overall and the kids are pretty good, too (but they did get to do more than the kids in the first Harry Potter film). Of course, I felt that some of the bad guys (the evil half-human/half-animal characters) were a little too "orc"-like, but since Weta was involved, I wasn't that surprised. The showing I was at had its share of kids, but it was far from sold out.

I do miss the speech in the book about the funeral for two characters, one for who he was and one for who he had become (it was the only part of the book that I remember liking).
IronS
post #8  on December 11, 2005 - 7:24 PM PST  
> On December 11, 2005 - 7:13 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> So IronS, did you see the film today?
> ---------------------------------

Yep, I did. :) Have you seen it yet?
woozy
post #9  on December 11, 2005 - 7:34 PM PST  
> I do miss the speech in the book about the funeral for two characters, one for who he was and one for who he had become (it was the only part of the book that I remember liking).
> ---------------------------------

I have utterly no memory of that.

> Yep, I did. :) Have you seen it yet?
> ---------------------------------

Damn. No. I'm still waiting for a casual acquaintance to call me from nowhere and invite me.

I might see it after my sister is done with finals.

woozy
post #10  on December 11, 2005 - 10:28 PM PST  
> I do miss the speech in the book about the funeral for two characters, one for who he was and one for who he had become (it was the only part of the book that I remember liking).
> ---------------------------------

Maybe you're thinking of the second book, Prince Caspian. There is one character who became bitter through oppression and harsh battles but in whom it was recognized could have been good had circumstances beyond his control had gone better.

pooja
post #11  on December 11, 2005 - 10:57 PM PST  
I thought the kids were awesome, especially the sourpuss youngest sister Lucy. Almost as amazing as Fairuza Balk was in Return to OZ.

I wonder if they purposedly made the oldest brother Peter look like Prince William, with the hair color and all...

Anyway, I was most impressed by Tilda Swinton. I really got the sense from her that she was more a monstrous force of nature than human. I thought her demise under the paws of Aslan was a bit abrupt, but I don't actually remember how that scene went in the book.

I only wished that Aslan had been voiced by someone else... or that Liam Neeson could have used a modified "voice" at least. I kept flashing back to The Phantom Menace.... (at least it wasn't Darkman...) Patrick Stewart might have been better, or maybe Sean Connery.
Cinenaut
post #12  on December 12, 2005 - 9:53 AM PST  
Did you see the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? It looked pretty good.

I thought CoN: LW&W was okay, but not great. The movie totally had me until the CGI wolves showed up and that sort of broke the spell for some reason. Tilda Swinton did make a great Jadis, James McAvoy a fine Tumnus and I thought the children's perfomances were quite good. The climatic scenes felt rushed.

underdog
post #13  on December 12, 2005 - 10:57 AM PST  
I really liked Neva Chonin's piece in yesterday's SF Chronicle, which really said it all for me.

Excerpt:

"Increasingly, the religious right is turning all things holy into propaganda, and in the process it's plundering the purity of my special moments. The most recent example is the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which opened nationwide this weekend.

As noted above, I have an emotional attachment to Lewis' weird, seven-book allegory, which combines Christian iconography with doses of paganism and historical metaphor. A devout Anglican and theologian, Lewis certainly had an agenda to peddle in his lengthy tale about sacrifice and transcendence, and he admitted he hoped the Narnia books would "make it easier for children to accept Christianity when they met it later in life." Yet his was strictly a "take what you need and leave the rest" proposition. After all, Christianity isn't the only religion to feature redemption and apotheosis as plot points.

Me, I just thought "The Chronicles of Narnia" was a great series of books. I picked up on the Christian allegory but didn't dwell on it. I ranked Aslan's Christ-like resurrection right up there with all the other magical shenanigans transpiring in that land beyond the wardrobe. If Narnia could have witches and fauns, why not a lion with a martyr complex? It certainly didn't send me crawling to the pulpit on Sundays, just as Linus' beautiful recitation of Scripture in "Charlie Brown" didn't inspire me to speak in tongues. They were just eloquent sentiments that articulated idealism. Beneath their Christian cloaks, they pleaded with us to continue dreaming and aspiring to the best. I took them at their word and still do, even though I know that dead baseball players don't romp in Kevin Costner's cornfield any more than Narnian lions die for our sins.

But times are changing. Lewis wrote his books in the '50s, when conservatives were busy chasing communists and content to leave faith at home where it belonged. Now the commies are mostly gone, and the right wing has found a new enemy: everyone who isn't them."
woozy
post #14  on December 12, 2005 - 11:32 AM PST  
> On December 12, 2005 - 10:57 AM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I really liked Neva Chonin's piece in yesterday's SF Chronicle, which really said it all for me.
>
Neat piece. But doesn't particularly review the movie. Underdog, did you find the movie heavy-handed and "a call to take up arms"?

>[Neva, not underdog] But times are changing. Lewis wrote his books in the '50s, when conservatives were busy chasing communists and content to leave faith at home where it belonged. Now the commies are mostly gone, and the right wing has found a new enemy: everyone who isn't them."
> ---------------------------------

Yes, but the 50's *america* is when the, by today's standards extremely moderate, right chose to distinguish our Christian beliefs as the defining us vs. them difference between the us and communism. It was a calculated decission. It was when we initiated the congressional prayer breakfast, put "under god" in the pledge of allegence and, god help, change our national anthem from "E Pluribus Unum" to "In God we trust".

Hmm, does anyone know specifically Lewis' political opinions on the cold war and the soviet union? (Idle curiosity)

Sorry, side tangent. But back to the movies...

pooja
post #15  on December 12, 2005 - 12:36 PM PST  
> On December 12, 2005 - 9:53 AM PST Cinenaut wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I thought CoN: LW&W was okay, but not great. The movie totally had me until the CGI wolves showed up and that sort of broke the spell

I don't see a need to set improbably high standards for CGI in something like this. I DID find it was somewhat comforting to remind myself I had no problems with the animated animals in Madagascar and Wallace & Gromit, when the beavers and the fox appeared. I was prepared to do that, since what they showed of Arslan in previews and trailers looked a bit cheesy. So once I accepted it I didn't mind.

As for slapping this with the label of right wing propaganda, I guess free speech allows us to call it whatever... I think as a period children's tale it is what it is... morally rather unambiguous. It was obvious which side was good, and which side was bad, with the younger brother there to show the appeal of "the dark side"... considering the film was released in 2005 I guess you can make a case that it's a "call to arms"... I think that's going a bit far. Are millions of teenagers going to see this and immediately sign up with the army? Or start going to church? I don't think so. To me it's quite clearly a symbolic retelling of how Christianity pushed pagan religions and beliefs aside as Europe was "civilized" by forces spreading outward from Rome. The same kind of thing is involved in the Arthurian legends (Holy Grail vs. Merlin's magic)...

Well, maybe I'm just not as fussy about GCI verisimilitude as some people, but I enjoyed this sometimes grim little kids' film.
woozy
post #16  on December 12, 2005 - 1:02 PM PST  
> since what they showed of Arslan in ...

Pooja! Your mouth!
pooja
post #17  on December 12, 2005 - 1:03 PM PST  
> On December 12, 2005 - 11:32 AM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On December 12, 2005 - 10:57 AM PST underdog wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > I really liked Neva Chonin's piece in yesterday's SF Chronicle, which really said it all for me.
> >
> Neat piece. But doesn't particularly review the movie. Underdog, did you find the movie heavy-handed and "a call to take up arms"?

The author of the article is really decrying the tactics used by the religious right to co-opt "spirituality" to push a Christian agenda. The Narnia film itself is not made to be that, except that its release is an opportunity for that kind of "marketing"... So Disney is releasing an inspirational music CD to appeal to the Christians, so what? They just smell money there. As long as they keep giving benefits to gay employees and their families, who cares?

What this article really points up is the passivity of the left. We're content to sit back and whine how the right takes advantage of these opportunities to push their agenda. But why aren't WE using this opportunity to push OUR agenda? Why don't we say, "Wow, Narnia is a groovy place where hippie Xtians and fawns and griffins and Santa can co-exist with talking animals! Together they band together to fight the Establishment (Jadis)!" Left wing leaders have pretty much given up on actually DOING anything... that's why when the right said "Saddam is Hitler" Americans didn't mind marching straight into Bagdad.

I guess it's EASIER to say something simple like "Saddam is Hitler" rather than try to explain why Saddam might still be bad, but isn't quite Hitler. But we've given up... we just assume Americans would be too stupid to understand anything more complex than "Saddam is Hitler"... but if they are whose fault is THAT? Real adults are actually supposed to be able to consider complex moral arguments... that's what makes us "grown up" but we've trained the current generation to only accept jingles and slogans that go down in a 30-second spot.

I think if the left were smarter, they wouldn't have any problem pointing out that Narnia should be offensive to the same right wingers who object to Harry Potter in the school library because of its non-Christian magical witchcraft content. But we're not so we let the right say anything they want, and all we do is whine about it afterwards.
pooja
post #18  on December 12, 2005 - 1:07 PM PST  
> On December 12, 2005 - 1:02 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > since what they showed of Arslan in ...
>
> Pooja! Your mouth!

You don't have to take EVERY opportunity to demonstrate the level of your intellect and humor, dear woozy.
Cinenaut
post #19  on December 12, 2005 - 1:33 PM PST  
> On December 12, 2005 - 12:36 PM PST pooja wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Well, maybe I'm just not as fussy about GCI verisimilitude as some people, but I enjoyed this sometimes grim little kids' film.
> ---------------------------------

Mr. and Mrs. Beaver didn't bother me for some reason, nor did Aslan. Maybe I've just seen too many bad CGI wolves. They also switched back and forth between the real ones and the animated ones, I think, which didn't help.

I didn't feel like I was hit over the head with Christian propaganda. I wonder how some of the fundamentalists who are being encouraged to go see this feel about Mr. Tumnus, with his horns and goat legs?

woozy
post #20  on December 12, 2005 - 2:52 PM PST  
> I didn't feel like I was hit over the head with Christian propaganda. I wonder how some of the fundamentalists who are being encouraged to go see this feel about Mr. Tumnus, with his horns and goat legs?
>
I suppose it's not fair of me to make fun of my enemies but, boy, those fundamentalist just seem such a humorless lot. I have a feeling most fundamentalists opposed the book if the had ever heard of it as it as they oppose talking animals, wood spirits, magic, etc. but they'd probably dislike the idea of a religious allegory in general as there is only one god and he wouldn't appear as a lion. The true fundamentalists would believe we are the only world and the only race blessed by god. Of course, when they do recognize something is more popular than they are they jump on the bandwagon and insist it demonstrates their values and their beliefs. ("March of the Penguin" espoused monogomy, family values, and intelligent design, my ass!)
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