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31 December, 2005

Review: The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (2005)

As mentioned, I saw this at the cinema last night.  It was excellent, not least because two of my minor concerns were unfounded:

  • I'd heard (frequently) that the screenplay had amplified the christian subtexts of the book into barely-veiled references. That wasn't the case, and it would be possible to watch the film without even noticing the allegory, as is appropriate. The themes are still there, of course, but no more overtly than C.S.Lewis wrote.
  • I'd suspected that Edmund's selfishness would be distorted into a promotion of community/conformity and criticism of individualism. It wasn't; Edmund was just plain selfish and petulant, as in the book.
So, congratulations to the screenwriter(s) for avoiding the imposition of ideology onto the production. Considering that Lewis' stepson was co-producer, I suppose it's not entirely surprising.

The effects, locations and costumes/makeup were excellent, being both entirely believable and well designed. I was particularly impressed by Mr. Tumnus, the faun. The archetype required that he have tiny horns and goat's legs, but he also had goatlike nostrils – a nice extra touch. If I had to criticise, I'd say the animal characters (in particular, Fox, Aslan and the wolves) were over-anthropomorphised, and hence a little too cartoony for my taste; I'd have preferred absolute photorealism. I suppose the chosen approach assisted identification with the characters, an understandable compromise for a child-orientated film (damn; that sounds unintentionally patronising).

I've since discovered the film was 140 minutes long, but I wasn't at all aware of time passing – which has to be considerable praise!

Recommended.

Comments

I'd have to agree with you on your review on the whole, to add, I was mildly disappointed with how rapidly the great battle ended the moment Aslan arrived, though I suppose it's to be expected with the rating of the film and all.

I'd like to add that i'm judging this on the fact that it's been a very long time since i've read the books, and for all I can remember, the battle might have ended rapidly in the book too.

Posted by Phoenix at January 3, 2006 02:32 AM
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