Thursday, December 29, 2005
We went to the Narnia movie today and let me first say that I've probably read the book fifty times and I spent most of my childhood banging around in the woods pretending to be Lucy, so there's no way it could be on any screen the way it already lives and breathes in my bones.
That said, the good stuff. Aslan (although incomprehensibly small) was a good mix of regal and sad and they got his hair right, which is often distracting to me in CG. The child actors were excellent, especially William Moseley, who played Peter. And the special effects, particularly in the battle scenes, are great - another score for WETA. And MR. TUMNUS (James McAvoy) rocked the HOUSE.
But, but, but...
It's not WAR story, you guys. It's an ADVENTURE story that has a battle IN IT, and that's a totally different thing. By spending so much time, money and effort on getting the battle at the end nailed, the production missed out on a big chance to really develop the rest of the characters so we could know them and love them. Even the change from winter to spring, which SHOULD happen quickly, was just absurdly rushed, presumably so that the story could hurry up and get to the battle scene, which we had no emotional investment in by the time we arrived there, kind of out of breath.
Another disappointment to me was the way Susan and Peter kept talking about trying to get "home." One of main delights of the book is the way that the children, once they enter into the world of Narnia, are totally immersed in it, without distraction. And if the story is really a metaphor for the Christian life, then focus is part of what we're aiming for, right?
Well, I wouldn't say "stay away," but I think a big opportunity was missed. I'll be very curious to see what happens with Caspian, which is now tentatively set for 2007.