Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film

This winter, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the first movie from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Finally, I got to see it on Saturday. It was such an awesom experience!

What I loved about the movie was the set up. It shows how dangerous it was for the children to be living in London during the bombings. It was necessary for them to move away, into the countryside, to avoid being killed. From the very beginning, the characters and their personalities came through. The eldest, Peter, is practical-minded, responsible and authoritative. He has to be this way because he is the eldest. Susan, is gentle and understanding. Lucy is young, impressionable and eager. Edmund, the third child, is a bit reckless, although he means well.

Throughout the movie, what captivated me was the acting by the children actors. Their facial expressions were lively, but not overwrought. I don't recall a single moment when any one of them over-acted.

Story-writing-wise, I was impressed with how some changes were made from book to film, and the changes appeared seamlessly done. One of the major action scenes took place on a river, for example, and Peter was given an opportunity to show his cleverness and daring: two very important qualities in a warrior. This is what surprised me because in the book, Peter is quite flat. He's the oldest boy, and therefore he is responsible for getting them out of trouble. The film shows Peter as a credible leader becuase of his intelligence, not because of his gender or the order in which he was born.

As for weaknesses, I felt that the scene of Aslan on the Stone Table falls short of bringing across the monstrosity of the incident, the significance of his actions, and the anguish of his suffering. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for more graphic violence. What I did expect was for the scene to make the viewer feel the pain and the injustice of his sacrifice. I did not get that.

Overall, I give the film 4/5 stars.

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