03 December, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia

It seems to be quite a fad, lately, turning books into movies. I have seen few that have done it successfully. A recent e-mail from a friend spurred me to think more about the recent adaptations of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" book by C. S. Lewis into a motion picture.

First let me explain to those of you who don't know that Lewis was an object of my affection for a long time. After deciding that one could have a crush on another's intellect, I promptly fell head-over-heels for Lewis. But, he's dead. And was married. So, in my technical opinion, it was only 1/2 of a crush. I treasure Lewis' literature very much. The Chronicles of Narnia have been a large part of my intellectual development since late childhood.

I know few people who hold "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" as dearly in their hearts as I do. Contrary to most, I don't get excited about that movie. Rather, I get disturbed. I don't know if I'll like it, and if I do like it, will it be worth it? After watching the movie, I'd have a picture of an actor in my head when I read, instead of the Mrs. McCready or Peter that I imagined. Especially Tumnus. I couldn't bear having his image changed for me. (For example, Orlando Bloom will always plague my imagination now as "Legolas," but he's NOT THE REAL LEGOLAS!! Perhaps I'm obsessing.) However, the scenery might be worth it. I might realize that the land of Narnia is much, much bigger than I ever realized, and there are corners yet to be explored.

I am also afraid of changes to the plot. I have this opinion that changing the plot of a book for the sake of making the movie "work" is actually just describing the laziness of the producers. Rather than making the movie as magical as the book, they take shortcuts & say that it's better for the movie. Grr. Do they think that an author deciding a plot fo a book is easy? And if they say that the movie will be too long, then perhaps they should make multiple movies. If they say that the movie will be too boring, then perhaps they should not make the book into a movie at all.

Another thing that concerns me is changes of characters. If the White Witch doesn't inspire children to at least shiver in disgust and at best cower in fear, then the movie has failed. Completely. After all, isn't she equivalent to Satan (if we're taking this book to be an "allegory" for the crucifixion)? How will Aslan's sacrifice be so meaningful without that contrast? And, yet, Aslan is also a fear-inspiring character. If his image looks more like a cartoon than a bigger-than-life lion, no awe will be inspired. It's so complicated. It almost makes me feel bad for the director, since he has to fulfill so many expectations.

The soundtrack may be worth investing. I really like to read LotR while the soundtrack is playing.


jondaley said...

Have you seen it yet? I would be interested to hear what you have to say about it. My family saw it last weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had heard lots of people say that they thought it was good, stuck to the story, characters were believable, etc.

Greg Calvetti said that he didn't think Aslan was awe-inspiring, but perhaps it is hard to show awe on film. I think he could have been scarier. The couple times when he is supposed to roar really loud, it was not as loud in the movie as in the book.

There was something funny about the kids as they grew into their king and queen roles; I haven't quite figured out what I didn't like about it.

I didn't like the witch at all - ok, I know, I am not supposed to like her, but she was portrayed badly, I think. Her hair was all weird, and not as white as she was in the book. I also imagined more of a cloak on her head, but I might have made up that part.

Tumnus was more human and less fawn than what I had pictured, though the movie's interpretation was alright.

I don't think I had a picture of Mrs. McCready, so I wasn't bothered by that.

The wardrobe was too fancy, I think, too majestic, I pictured it a bit more plain.

Someone had mentioned to me how seamless the transition was between the digital effects and "reality", so I was on the lookout for it, and was disappointed. There are a bunch of obvious scenery switches between digitized stuff, and the real landscape. I am certainly not a designer sort of person, but I would expect those sort of people to do better than that. If you aren't looking for it, you will probably miss it -- so, I guess, don't read this paragraph.

Laedelas Greenleaf said...

yeah, I'm gonna post a bit about that soon...it's probably going to be a ridiculously long post, too