Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Movie Review: "The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe" (2005)

Who's Your Daddy!??

The well loved books of C. S. Lewis have seen very many translations. Made-for-TV movies and plays and radio programs have attemped to capture the magic of the kingdom of Narnia, but none have been as successful (and lucrative) as the Disney Produced Andrew Adamson film, The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.

The Pevensie siblings are sent out of England to avoid the World War II to the home of an old Professor. virtually uninhabited, the house is filled with statues, armor and spare rooms. One of which has a large wooden Wardrobe full of fur coats. One day Lucy, the youngest of the siblings hides in the wardrobe to discover that it turns out to be a portal to the secret world of Narnia, ruled by an evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton). The siblings eventually see the world with their own eyes upon entering the Wardrobe and are immediately thrust into what turned out to be a war against the White Witch. The creatures of Narnia happen to by creatures of myth like centaurs and unicorns and trees that communicate through the wind. They are led by Aslan the great wise lion. Aslan forms the army to defeat the Witch, who has an army of formidable size herself composed of tigers polar bears and a Minotaur general (one of the coolest characters in the movie IMO). The Pevensies witness the magnificent kingdom of Narnia and commune with its creatures, but most important of all, learn the greatest lessons in life.


I admit. I haven't read the books. But I havce seen many a MySpace and Friendster account where people type them in as one of their favorite books along with The Lord of The Rings trilogy and The Purpose Driven Life. Our movies have been recently turned to the sepia-tinted medeival days-of-yore theme which was spearheaded by Gladiator and amplified by the LOTR movies. Now the classic fantastic-medieval sword warrior has become a dime a dozen. The Metro Manila Filmfest was infested by LOTR wannabe movies, Russia has its own LOTR type films as well, Korea is down with its own handful of 16th century war epics, why, because they make money. What makes Narnia any different from all of these?

In the special effects department, Narnia doesn't really show anything new. In terms of story telling, we have all seen the reluctant hero type leading the army of freedom fighters against an oppressive ruler. Why, we have even seen the creatures like the Phoenix and the Griffin in the Harry Potter Movies.

They don't pay me enough for this

On the performance side of things, though, Georgie Henley as the adorably cute Lucy Pevensie is probably one of this year's great discoveries. Tilda Swinton carries her role so well as the White Witch and brings a certain sexiness to her otherwise frigid character. Her regal presence in Narnia is probably the best I've seen her in any movie.

But it isn't any of these that makes Narnia work. It is that which made the book popular in the first place. It is the element of analogy within the story. The story behind the story. Which is the greatest story ever told.

Those of you who havent been to Sunday School every single Sunday for 20 years probably saw the movie as another excuse for special effects. C.S. Lewis reportedly never wanted the books to be turned into movies because, well, they could never get it right. Because it distracts the people from the very heart of the story. Which is the great Christian doctrine of Atoning sacrifice and forgiveness.

C. S. Lewis understood the gospels and the teachings of Christ and turned it into a story about witches and Centaurs and Lions and talking badgers. Its that simple. The movie may not have grasped every detail but it sure made use of the important points of the great teachings and came accross as great family entertainment.

Now, Narnia may not be the best film of the year, technically,there are a lot of problems with pacing. (the first half was too slow and the second half did feel kind of rushed). But it is a story that had to be told somehow in film. The values it teaches can make grown men ponder their relationship with their Maker, and kids forgive their little brothers for pulling the arm off their barbie doll.

I told you to knock first.  It my

Rocketboy's Rating:*****( 5 out of 5)


Blogger hedbeats said...

I'm glad you gave it a perfect score, Paul, 'cause I'd have flamed your blog silly if it were any less. Kidding. This one is the only one I've read of the seven books (seven books. sound familiar?) because buying a whole set back then cost P1200. Now, it sets you back 2K+ just because of the movie!

I got goosebumps the first time I saw the trailer for Narnia. When I saw it opening day I felt so blessed to have lived to see it on screen. Jack Lewis would have been very delighted with it, too. I wonder if they're thinking of making "Out of the Silent Planet" into a movie as well now that Lewis's work has proved to be box office top draw. Sana!

10:44 PM

Anonymous watch movies said...

Its a complete entertainment package for family basically loved by kids. Even I enjoyed the movie too and wanted to buy a DVD so that my kids will enjoy this movie anytime they want.

5:41 PM


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