Last night Don and I watched "Narnia".
Why I torture myself by watching favorite books brought to the big screen, I don't know. It's painful, that's all. The guy who played Peter was fine, but the child who played Lucy was not even close to my mental image of her. The White Witch? What was up with that bit of strange casting? The Professor was completely unbelievable.
And the liberties taken with the story were maddening! Give the Harry Potter series its due...they remain very true to the books. What happens in the movies is pretty much what happens in the books. Not with this movie, though. From beginning to end stuff was omitted that could have been included and stuck in that never came close to happening in the book. As merely one example, the scene where the three children and the beavers are crossing a swiftly-defrosting river. Who dreamt that up?
Not to mention the dialogue. Oy vey! From Peter crouching down to try to entice Mr. Beaver much as Dmitry would do squirrels in the park, to the Witch's wolves taunting Peter as he faces them with his sword, it bore precious little resemblance to the words actually penned by C.S. Lewis. If they're not going to use Lewis's words or his scenes, why bother making the movie at all?
To be fair, it wasn't a total loss. I was particularly taken by the griffins flying around during the big battle scene, for instance. Aslan was good, though his name wasn't pronounced the way I've mentally pronounced it. Mr. Tumnus, the faun, was excellent, and the Witch's castle was well crafted. It was great to be able to visualize the tents while waiting for battle to be joined. That sort of thing I'm not especially good at, so it was pleasant to be given such a visual aid.
I'm still flummoxed, however, at the lack of one of the most memorable lines in the story, which is when the children learn Aslan is a lion. IIRC, it runs pretty much like this:
Lucy: A lion! But...but...is he safe?
Mr. Beaver: Safe! Who said anything about safe? Of course he's not safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you!
There was obviously a lot of effort put into the movie, so it's disappointing more effort wasn't taken to remain true to the book. The changes were not an improvement.