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

Yesterday I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my brother and sister-in-law. (You can read my brother's shorter, less flattering review here.)

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I reread them every year or so - I always enjoy them. I know that they are children's books - more so than Harry Potter - these books are short, quick reads, and meant for children - younger children. But I find them fascinating to read as an adult - I love the way C.S. Lewis likes fiction. Lewis' theology isn't exactly my cup of tea all the time, but sometimes I think in his fiction he lets his theology run a little wilder, a little more free. So I love the imagination in the Chronicles.

The movie is - OK. I thought, as I was watching, that if you were an adult seeing the movie, you wouldn't like it unless a) you had kids with you or b) you were a big fan of the books. (Side note - so glad they appear to be doing the movies in the original publishing order of the books. I know C.S. Lewis mentioned that they could be better ordered chronologically according to Narnia time, but frankly, I don't think he thought it through. The make much more sense as published.) The movie doesn't stray too terribly from the book, and I think they do a good job putting into tangible images Lewis' words. Narnia looks like I have always imagined it looking.

The problem, I think, is that things that Lewis writes on the page seem plausible in words and imaginations. But putting them on the screen makes them seem awfully silly. It was hard to watch the battle scenes and not laugh. These children, fighting? Please. And Liam Neeson, who I like as an actor, I did not like as the voice of Aslan. I was expecting something deeper, and more powerful in sound. Also, as a side detail, I was shocked at the poor makeup jobs for some characters. I have some stage makeup background - nothing great, but enough to know that in a movie, you shouldn't be able to "see" the makeup so much. It was very distracting.

Still, I will probably go see any future editions of the Chronicles. Maybe, as Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter grow up, so will the movies.


Anonymous said…
only comes out here on Christmas Eve. Our family will go between Christmas and New Year I think :)

I went to see the Nutcracker ballet yesterday. It was marvellous :) and on the drive home I was thinking how you love that too.

blessings and love
DannyG said…
Thanks for the review...I guess that I won't be seeing it. Although both my wife and I grew up in the church...sunday school and the whole works I had never heard of "the chronicles of Narnia" until after we returned to church 4 yrs ago @ age 43. (for that matter, I had not heard of the Lord of the Rings until I got to college) I guess that it is just not our style.
Anonymous said…
I saw the movie with our youth group after I read your review, so I looked for the things you pointed out. The children look and act like real children. The child warriors was different, but the whole point is children as heros. I liked the lios's voice. A deep, powerful voice is a sterotype. Why go there? As a war vet, the opening scene got my attention. It has been decades since I have read the books. Lewis is on the children's side. God is on our side. That's the parallel I took away.
timmyque said… offense, but the "A deep, powerful voice is a sterotype. Why go there?" comment was a bit silly don't you think?? It's no more a stereotype than saying a giraffe has a long neck. We don't say that's a stereotype and thereby a bad thing.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the review. I went and saw it with my 6-year-old, and for the most part enjoyed it. I can see how adults, with the expectation of another LOTR might be disappointed. It's not that type of movie, and it certainly isn't the same type of book either.

The kids fighting didn't bug me as much, at least not Peter. I almost felt like he aged a bit in those scenes, which was good, since he seemed a bit young when he was first introduced. I also felt Susan was too old. She seemed almost the same age as Peter, which isn't how I pictured her in the book.

I absolutely loved Lucy though. Her character was pulled off really, really well.

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