A while back, I read a book called The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I wanted to read it because I knew it consited of letters between two demons. As I am drawn to the dark side, I had an interest. Turned out to be kind of boring by my immature standards. Sort of like a lot of the Masterpiece Theatre stuff on PBS…you know it’s good, but it really doesn’t do anything for you…you know?
Anyway, I knew C.S. Lewis was a Christian, and that his books took that slant, and I knew he wrote a very famous book called The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Only more recently did I realize that was only one story in a series entitled The Chronicles of Narnia. More recently still, I saw a huge collection at the bookstore of the entire series, and it had an awesome cover with a close up of a lion’s face. Well, as an adult with all the maturity of a twelve year old, I said “oooh, pretty lion”, and bought it. Well, sadly, I’ve only gotten through three of the seven stories in it (including The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I did enjoy). So far it too was way too PBS and I have set it aside for now.
So now Disney and Walden Media have produced a feature film version of the most popular of the series, apparently with hopes of creating a franchise a la Harry Potter series. Don’t know if that’ll actually happen, but The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is pretty good.
Directed by Andrew Adamson, and adapted by the director and some others, the movie does a good job of getting the point across (good vs. evil, etc) but unfortunately at times it drags. Visually it runs the gamut from stunning to almost cheesy, but averages out to pretty good CGI for the most part.
The cast are almost all unknowns to me, except for the voice of Aslan the Lion (although I didn’t place it while watching the movie…damn medications and lack there of are taking their toll!)…but in case it’s a surprise, I won’t spoil it for you, Jim Broadbent, who's in basically every British movie in the past decade or so, as the professor, and Tilda Swinton, who’s always great but really, really weird. ( Orlando, Female Perversions, Teknolust, ADAPTATION, and CONSTANTINE). Swinton is darkly fun as the titular Witch, or White Witch, or White Queen, depending on who you ask. She’s interesting, to say the least, and looks uber-cool when riding the polar bear chariot!
The unknowns (at least to me) were pretty good, with young Geirgie Henley as Lucy stealing the show, in MHO. She wasn’t adorable or precocious, but still very cute and moving. Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and William Moseley play the rest of the siblings. They do fine, but I just felt the youngest one had the brightest spark.
Another unknown to me, James McAvoy, played Mr. Tumnus, a Fawn, and I think he was great. Funny looking legs though!
Like I said, this movie is enjoyable and sweet and has a nice message. It wasn’t handled perfectly, and so it loses points. The Christian theme doesn’t really hit you on the head, but you have to be kind of dense not to realize what the Lion’s up to.
It’s a shame that some of the CGI looks bad, because all in all, this movie might soon be considered a classic.