The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Went to see the movie on Friday… as is no surprise to anyone that knows me, this was a “must see”. After all, I read the books as a kid. All seven of the books. And what’s more is that I was sucked into it the same way The Lord of the Rings got me… I saw the 70’s cartoon. I saw The Hobbit and Return of the King – you know, the ones with all the cheesy folk music – and had to read the books to find out what happened between the two movies. Same thing with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: I heard there was a book and then that there were six other stories in Narnia… sucked me right.

How was it? Good. Better than I expected but not a complete “wow!” either… more after the jump (as it includes minor spoilers).

The first thing that surprised me was the focus they put on the war. I remember reading TLTWTW and not seeing a blip about World War II. The kids were sent away to the country… some mention of war-related issues, maybe, but not the War. The book starts with the Pevensies arriving at the Professor’s house; the movie starts with the kids and their Mom Mum. With an air strike. I don’t know how I feel about that… it makes it more real world, though, which should be a good thing.

And that was another thing: their surname is Pevensie. You don’t find that our for until the third book, for whatever reason. Wait. Sorta the third book. That’s part of the problem here, for me… I’ve read all seven and the order of the books have changed since they were originally published. In fact, they were originally published in the order they were written, but in the UK C. S. Lewis had the publishers change the book order so it reflected the time of Narnia. Made more sense for kids that way… took an extra 20 years before the idea caught on in the US. TLTWTW is actually book two of the seven. Of course, C. S. was also very adamant that the whole series not be made as movies… cartoons were OK. And the BBC was allowed to make shows for TV – I guess someone on the estate caved, and Disney pounced.

From that background, there are parts of the movie that alludes to the other books. The screenplay was written by someone that was pulling references from other stories. For example, the Professor was very in the know about Narnia… in the book he’s open to the idea of other worlds – you don’t find out until another book (book five in the original order) that he’d been to Narnia some years before.

The fact that the wardrobe had some large trees engraved on it was very classy, given its origin. That the had the moth balls pop out was a very nice touch – great attention to the details. The special effects were great, as you can imagine. Aslan wasn’t at all as cheesy as I thought he’d be. They also got a good voice for him and an even better roar. The other animals were good… not at all over CGI’d.

Some of the comedic moments came from the animals… the Beavers were exceptionally funny. Jadis, erm, the witch, was also good in her role. The kids were all great. Casting was exceptional for this: especially Lucy, which comes as no surprised. As much as Ian Holm was instantly acceptable as Bilbo, Georgie simply was Lucy. Especially when the other kids referred to her as “Lu”. All of the kids had great chemistry… I thought Edmond coulda been meaner, in the beginning; I liked that Peter was insecure about being the High King – that aspect of his character was missing from the book and I like the added depth to his character.

Over all, if you’re a fan of the books, you’ll like the movie. There were a couple of scenes that deviated from the book and were fun to watch. Will it draw me in to see Prince Caspian if it’s even planned to be made? Shit, yeah.

In fact, having seen this movie, I’m really hoping they make all seven – I’d love to see The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle on the big screen.

6 thoughts on “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”

  1. That would be Christ. Crist is a misspelled gang name. :)

    Actually, I didn’t think I needed to comment on the religious aspects… ppl that have read the books know all about that: Tolkien introduced Lewis to catholosism. Lewis wrote the books as stories for his nieces and nephews to read… and he took aspects of his new found religion as inspiration. If the LotR was Tolkiens reaction to WWII, Narnia was Lewis’s reaction to his new faith. Aslan is obvious; there’s other references throughout the other books, most obvious in The Last Battle. The people in Calormen not to mention Tashbaan. Tash, as a god too…

  2. I also heard that LoTR was Tolkien’s reaction to WWII, but he also wanted to create a mythology for England since there weren’t any real Old English myths.

    King Kong opens in theaters tomorrow. Looking forward to what you think of that movie, Randy.

  3. I can’t comment to the mythology, but wouldn’t the King Arthur stories qualify? I also know – or heard – that the story was originally started so that Tolkien could show off his ability to create languages. Sort of a showcase that took on a life of its own as he wrote the books… I still find his work incredible, just because there were no holes in the story. If he needed a historical figure, he’d write an entire story line so that there would be a complete arc. I mean the dude created like 30 languages or something. It’s nuts :)

    I dunno about Kong… I never was into it much, as a kid – I AM interested in seeing the original movie on DVD though. I was also surprised to see an old NYC in the previews, like Woolworth’s, etc. – I originally figured they would have made Kong attack a 2005 NYC or something.

  4. The war bits actually make sense — not only do they get some character establishment (something lacking from the books), but they give some context. Writing in 1950 or so, folks understood what it meant that the kids were sent to the countryside to avoid the bombing (which is literally about how Lewis describes it); today, we need a reminder as to what that meant.

    As to the religious bits — that’s explicitly the allegory Lewis intended (though he disliked terming it an allegory) — though plenty of people have missed it in the books in the past (I didn’t notice it on the first read).

  5. Agreed – as it is I forgot WHY they were sent to the countryside. Ya knew it was because of the war, but it was only infered that it was because buildings and bombs were falling everywhere. As a “kids” book, too, I think it was tempered a bit more. Today’s kids seem more violence on the evening news – if they choose to watch it, that is – so in a movie, it would be easier to accept. Just sorta caught me unprepared, as it was glossed over in the book – I still wish they made Edmond more of a dick tho :)

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