The Movie Buffer

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


***Note***

This review, like all reviews, reveals parts of the story

***EndNote***

With the box-office successes of both Potter and Lord of the Rings, Disney has thrown it's hat into the ring of fantasy flicks with a screen adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia. This series is beloved by just as many people who love Potter and LOTR so the studio had alot to live up to. Could this be the next big thing?

Andrew Adamson, director of Shrek and Shrek2, takes the helm of this gigantic movie (It weights in at about 2 hours and 20 minutes) and keeps the pacing up to move from one act to the next. This being said the movie is constantly driving forward with little to no time to contemplate what is happening or why it's happening. The story seems a bit rushed but to keep a child's attention the action scenes and the funy charatcer train keeps on rolling. After the initial annoyance, the older viewer becomes accustomed to the pace and the story flows easily.

The mood of the movie begins rather dark, with the kids being sent of to the country to avoid being victims of the Blitz. Then meeting their new care givers, one very strict the other very aloof. There are a few bad soundtrack choices at the start but it levels out pretty quickly. After a little sibling squabble all the kids end up getting into the wardrobe and finding themsleves in Narnia and the modd shifts rapidly into wonderment and joy: A good pick-me-up. Once in Narina the story goes full blast for about 2 hours straight. It catches most of the main parts of the book and spares all the details save the ones the viewer need to understand the story. Which is a shame because by the end there isn't much of a connection to any of the 4 main actors.

The cinematography of this movie is excellent, the graphic designers should be very proud of themsleves. They really created an unbelievably intricate world. The Ice palace and the castle at the end were amazing. The movie is worth seeing just for the world.

The acting is pretty good. If small whiny british kids get on your nerves then steer clear of this movie. There is much complaining about their situation and which side of the war they should be on. Tilda Swinton (from Adaptation, Constantine and Thumbsucker) plays the wicked white witch perfectly, she was made to play this role. Even in the battle scenes she's a convincing fighter. Lian Neeson's voice was good for Aslan. The rest of the cast was great but they recieved next no screen time.

The computer graphics in the movie were good but they got kind of spotty from time to time. There were a few scene where objects and characters would clip in and out of existence, they would be lit by a different colour of light than the rest of the scene or they would look like they were just floating in space. But as a whole the scenes with the creatures interacting with the actors are good. They needed some help splicing in the all CGI scene with the live action ones.

And now for the "big one", the Christian parts of the film! To start this one, I'm going to come out and say, I'm not a practicing Christian, I haven't read the Bible and I don't know all the details. There are alot of good lessons in this movie like how to treat people, whether they be young, old, male, female, cyclops or centaur, honour thine neighbor etc. Aslan is supposed to be Jesus? This is where I draw the line: lots of heroes sacrifice themselves to a cause they believe in, lots of heroes show others the errors in their ways and all heroes stand up for those who can't defend themselves. Aslan is also a horrible sinner, I count at least 2 of the deadly sins on him, pride and wrath, and serveral smaller sins. The religious imagery is everywhere in this movie, the Witch as the Snake, Ed as Judas, the whole Adam and Eve story and Aslan is a kind of divine being that's existed since the beginning of time so I guess it's easy to get caught up in the story.

Overall this movie is a 7/10 or 3.5 stars, the flaws in the presentation of the story really do take a toll, I wanted to really love this movie like the LOTR but it doesn't really live up to that standard. But this movie was made with about a third of the budget and far less time. The basline story is awesome and it doesn't lose much in the translation. Watch this movie, it's a great piece of fantasy.

Pros:
Acting - Tilda is great
Excellent story and good moral lessons
Location shots are awesome

Cons:
Long run time, story felt rushed
first 30 minutes consists of whiny, yelling british kids
On a 100 mil USD budget, better editing and graphics are expected

2 Comments:

  • Don't forget the scene when they're up on that snowy mountain peak to look north at the Ice Palace. It's so blatently green-screened that it HAD to be a huge error. You see thick lines around the heroes and it looks like it was made in 1994 by the people responsible for "Sinbad's Great Adventures", the short lived Xena immitation.

    I agree with most things, and like how the Ice Queen didn't cackle or crap like that. The stupidest scene by far is when the dwarf is barely alive and Susan shoots him with her bow to a hilarious sound effect. Definitely only added because she never used the bow any other time.

    And they killed sequels by showing them @ 25 returning.

    By Blogger Malfarious J, at 3:20 PM  

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