review: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

To save you the trouble of reading all my labored prose, I’ll start off with the bottom line: three stars out of four. So now you can stop reading if you wanted the bottom line.
I’ll start with what they changed. The four major character changes, and the ones I really hated, were the professor, Susan, and their overall willingness to serve. The professor is almost absent in this version, and instead of voluntarily going to him for help, Peter and Susan are suprised into it. Susan is a good deal more whiny than she was in the book, which is quite major, and rather annoying. Finally, in the movie version, the Pevensie children are quite reluctant to get involved with the battle in Narnia, wanting only to get back home safely. That’s a selfish attitude that I did not see in the book, the children instead seeing it as their duty to serve Narnia and wanting to follow Aslan. I suppose the scriptwriters were trying to add depth/conflict to the characters, but it is a rather major and distracting change, I think. Finally, the Witch is toned down. She’s nasty, but not as nasty as she was in the book. You never see Edmund being forced to pull the sledge; neither is she on the verge of killing him when he’s rescued. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to keep a more mild rating, but it takes away from the scariness of the witch.
More minor changes: the first time Lucy goes into the wardrobe, it’s during a game of hide-and-seek, instead of staying behind while they are exploring in the house. Thus, the second time they go in, the scriptwriters, instead of using the book version of hide-and-seek, had to concoct an excuse–she crept out of bed in the middle of the night and Edmund happened to be awake using the loo, saw her, and followed. I’m not sure why they made this change, unless it was to make Edmund nastier. The Beavers don’t give a full history of Narnia; it’s never explained where the Witch is from or why she staked her claim, you don’t know until you see him that Aslan is a lion. Both of these were completely explained in the book. The children’s escape from the Witch’s wolves is made considerably more dramatic; they didn’t slip out of the beaver’s dam only seconds before the wolves broke in; they never nearly drowned in the melting river. I was disappointed not to see more of the transformation of Narnia from winter into spring. We never got to see Naids or Dryads. I personally didn’t like Aslan’s voice. Liam Neeson performs that part, and his voice just isn’t deep and awe-inspiring enough.
But overall, it’s really a good movie. The scenery and landscapes are magnificent; the battle is amazing, and the talking animals are extrodinarily well done. The casting is quite well done. The children in particular look exactly as one wants them to. The costuming–of centaurs and dwarfs and griffiths and all the fanciful creatures imagined by CS Lewis–is detailed and lifelike. I never fouund myself wondering how they created the centaur; instead, I was envying him the fact that he didn’t have to hold the reins while in battle, and thus could carry an extra sword.
Overall, it well deserved the applause that rose as the screen grew dark and the house lights grew bright.

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~ by wildeyedwonder on December 10, 2005.

2 Responses to “review: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

  1. I enjoyed the movie too – but I have never read to books so I have nothing to base it on 😀 Hope you are having a better week!!

  2. Here is what our brother had to say about the film:
    “The talking animals bit isn’t so retarded in the books. Also, you’re not faced with beavers wearing CHAIN MAIL. Seriously: how does a beaver even fight? And since pretty much everyone is bigger than him, does the mail even DO ANYTHING??”

    😀

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