Narnia - or not? [Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005, 11:42 am]
Well, this will be a little clearer than my incoherent ramblings I posted on my xanga at about 1 a.m. last night. But I think I was able to narrow my grievances with the Narnia movie into two categories:
1). They tried too hard to make it an action/Lord of the Ringsesque movie. Sure the book has action in it, but it would have worked so much better if they'd kept the pacing the same as that of the book, and portrayed it more as a drama, rather than trying to squish the story into a modern-day "family action movie" mold. That would also mean more character development - as in the case of the beavers, which I was rather disappointed with.
Maybe it's more tense to have the wolves right on the children's heels, but there's a reason CS Lewis didn't write it that way. The book was logical: the children and the beavers got enough of a head start to avoid the wolves, and it snowed to cover up their tracks. There was still tension - they had to hurry, and involve strategy in their journey. The movie made the wolves look ridiculous - if they can't smell children out of a tree right above them, or pounce on them when they have them surrounded, then they can't really be that bad, can they?
Like the ring wraith in Lord of the Rings - if the hobbits could bump right into it on the way to the ferry, it must not be as scary as it looks. In the book they were more of a haunting presence - there's a reason they didn't actually collide with the hobbits until Weathertop.
2). I just didn't feel that Narnia was real - or rather, it wasn't as real as it could have been. It didn't draw me in. In the book, when the Pevensie children arrive and find out what is going on, they go along with it. They didn't seem to have much of a choice in what they did. Unlike the movie, they didn't keep asking to go home, or mentioning their parents, or doubting the prophecy, or questioning whether they should be doing what they were doing - they just did it, because it was right. That's why the land of Narnia was so magical - it had a hold on them - they didn't think about the "other world" when they were caught up in Narnia. In the movie, they do think about it, and that's why there was no magic to it. They don't act like they belong there. And that's why I didn't buy into it.
So yeah, parts of the movie work. Aslan was wonderful. Much better than the stuffed animal on mechanical legs from the BBC version, who talked as slowly as he walked. The white witch was very believable also. And Peter - he looked like Prince William. Honestly, he did.
I just didn't care much for the unnecessary plot changes. Sometimes the story is written correctly the first time and doesn't need modifications.
I'd like to see it again though. You know, when I always used to visualize in my head how the movie would start (even when I was a young kid), I always pictured it beginning exactly like this one did - with the WW2 bombers. Interesting. But that's where the resemblence ends.
I guess all I can say is, read the book. Preferably the British version in which the head wolf is named Fenris Ulf like he's supposed to be, rather than this Maugrim business. Ay yi yi.