April 29, 2006

  • 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.

Comments (14)

  • Yes, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed too. Somehow translating that book into a movie fell short of the mark, and I didn't think the CG Aslan came across too well....I am unenthusiastic about the libeties taken.  I didn't really like the Lucy character all that much.  I thought the White Witch was superb, though. Funnily, I don't remember the Professor. Oh well, saw it, done that. Was this a British production? I could wish it were something made-for TV, a bit more studiously done, perhaps as a serial. But maybe better not done at all. But it seemed to make the "kiddies" happy, and at least it was clean.

  • I think the problem with the Witch was that the pen-and-ink illustrations in the book I first read seemed to show her as having dark hair. Certainly not being dang near an albino, with no visible eyelashes. As the movie wore on, though, she "worked" better for me.

    At least they didn't turn Aslan into a source of cheap humor as happened with the beavers. It'll sound dumb to those who've never read the book, but Mr. and Mrs. Beaver were serious characters, yet in the film they were given a bunch of stupid one-liners. I really hated that.

  • Just goes to show...Nothing good can come of reading Fiction that will eventually come to the big screen.  It just leads to disappointment and undone chores around the house.  At least during the movie, you could fold some laundry while paying attention.  That's not so easy to do while reading.

    I have never read the books, so I loved the movie.  In fact, that was my and Hannah's Easter present from Alex.

  • Didn't like the movie, either!  I thought all of the casting except Edmond was badly done, though the white witch wasn't soooo bad.

    BUT! You must read the books!  We have rule in our house, the book before the movie!  It has shown our children how much better the book can be.  The only exception for us, so far has been Stuart Little.

  • Bethany Ann Ivy! You get those books RIGHT NOW and read them! =8^o

    For one thing, there's an entire series, for pity's sake.

    You'll love them. Well, except maybe for The Last Battle. I was never terribly fond of that one.

  • As the mother of Anne, I have never read these books. They came out after the age for me to read them, and as they were "good" for kids, I just gave them to them and that was it. Now I feel dreadful!! Rats, look what I missed!! Beavers? What do they have to do with Witches?? I guess I will have to read them. Hope I like them as well at 78 as I would have at 14 or so.

  • Actually Mrs. G., if you'd first read them at 14, as I did, you'd've hated them.  I'm pretty sure though, that you'll be able to read them like a 10-year-old and enjoy them properly, as I did when I finally got old enough for fairy tales again.

    FWIW, what I really hate in a movie is when they change the characters' er, character.  Peter was portrayed as the tiresomely ubiquitous reluctant hero, which he definitely wasn't in the book.  The witch made me so angry because she was so perfect and self-controlled - she never lost her temper, but Aslan did!  That's just wrong.  And what they did to the Beavers was just horrid.  Mr. Beaver would never ever have spoken to his wife the way he did in the movie.

    The river scene wouldn't have bothered me much because it's the type of thing movie-makers often do to help the pacing and excitement along, except that during the whole thing Peter was wracked with indecision, and then he dropped Lucy (which the Real Peter would NOT have done).

    All in all, it was a pleasant movie experience, although at the end I felt about it just as I did about Fantastic Four:  "That was almost a good movie." 

  • I figure they will make the other movies eventually too, so why bother reading them?  I'll just be disappointed in the movie if I read the books first.

    Ok, ok...The truth is, I have a bad memory, and I get distracted easily.  With Hannah, I don't get a lot of time to sit down and read undistracted, so I would never be able to follow along to keep up with the story line.  I prefer Christian non-fiction books with short chapters or sections.  THis way I can learn a little something about Christ with each reading and hopefully be able to apply it. 

  • Um, Anne, how do you pronounce Aslan?  Az-lun or maybe even ass-lun.  (In our "book on tape" of The Magician's Nephew, it's pronounced both ways, depending on who's talking.)  There can't be that many variations of such a simple name.

    I have read the book (first even), and I liked the movie.  Tie me up.  Whip me with chains.  Whatever.  I'm not a purist.  Eli sat there glued to the big screen, half-scared to death.  I would whisper in his ear what would happen next to difuse some of the scary, and he finally said, "I know the story.  We've read the book!"   OK - clue for Dad to back off and comfort when requested, which, it never was!

    We saw it at the full price theatre, again at the $1 theatre, and now, have the DVD.

  • Funny, I enjoyed the movie. I thought Lucy was wonderful.

  • AZ-lun. In the movie it was something like Ass-LAHN. Weird.

    The little girl who played Lucy was too young, I thought. Not to mention - and my apologies to her and her parents - rather goofy looking. She wasn't a bad actress, mind, just didn't fit my mental image of Lucy.

    Of course, I've read the book at a minimum a dozen times, and probably closer to twenty, so I have a very firm mental image of all the characters, their voices, etc.

    Shades of "Gone With the Wind"! Read that one multiple times before ever seeing the movie, too. Couldn't believe the lousy casting, with the exception of Vivian Leigh.

  • I'm with Plumtree. Sure, there were things that I wish could have been done differently, but the trick is not to let them actually wreck a movie for you. It was a good movie, and I just refuse to judge it by the standard of, "Was it the way I would have brought Narnia to the screen? Did they do everything right?" Nope, I stick with, "Was it a fun movie to watch?"

  • Didn't see the movie and haven't read the book in years. For the most part I've been sorely disappointed with books turned into movies. Usually it's that the characters are completely different in my mind that what is shown on the screen. But I'm not disappointed too often as I rarely see movies.

  • Funny about the name thing.  I always read the White Witch's name, Jadis, as "zhahhdees" (probably because of my sci-fi background) but they called her "Jaydis" ich...not as much style! ;) .  We saw the movie, and my 9 year old is, I discovered, a book purist! with constant whispers of "that didn't happen like that.." or "that didn't happen at all" te-he.  But she still loved the movie.  Compared with the BBC version, I liked the kids better in this one, especially Edmund.  But Peter's character was ruined! to see him so indecisive! Bleck!

    and that's my 2 cents ;0)

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