Thursday, December 08, 2005

Four Thumbs Up . . .

. . .or maybe eight? We loved it that much! In fact my arms hurt from trying to get my thumbs higher. Loved what, you ask? Tonight we got to see an advanced showing of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. First of all, I LOVE the fact that they didn't mess with the title! OK, that's silly, but it really bothers me that a producer or director would presume to know better that the author what the thing should be called!

From the start of the movie we were hooked. It was very true to the book, which I have read a couple of times and Josh has consumed in one form or another more than a dozen times. I LOVED the casting . . . and the sets . . . I kept thinking this is better even than what I imagined! Tilda Swinton who portrayed Jadis, the White Witch was truly amazing. I cannot think of another actress who would have done a better job (in my vast knowledge of British actresses!). I was also intrigued by the way the children brought to life the extreme natures of the children in the book. The strengths and weaknesses of each character were really exagerated-a good move for a screen translation. And the CGI generated characters were amazing. I will never be satisfied watching the BBC versions again (although eternally grateful to them for attempting to bring such wonderful stories to life for us).

I have read and heard film people defending the need to make adaptations to the story when a book is translated to screen, and so there were some changes made to Narnia, but I did not find them to be distracting, and some were even enjoyable. The film did a wonderful job of exploring the emotional trauma of war on the children and the more normal tensions among family members that resulted in Edmund's treachery and each of the children's reticence in fighting the battle in Narnia. Although I had heard the battle scenes in Narnia compared to those in Lord of the Rings, I did not find them nearly as graphic or disturbing. My five-year-old watched all but the scene where Aslan is killed on the stone table, and even that contained much more implied than shown.

Best of all, the spiritual quality of the story was left intact, which delighted us. My pastor expressed his concern by telling me that he thought that Lewis in the hands of Disney was like letting the Philistines translate scripture. I had been relieved before the movie to find out that Disney's involvement in Narnia was more one of publicity and distribution, and that Walden Media, a very family friendly production company was responsible for the making of the film. In addition, Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis' stepson was one of the producers. They all did a fine job of transfering the heart of Narnia to the screen with integrity. One of my gauges of how well a story has been brought to the screen is whether I can find new things in the story that I didn't see when reading it (things that were really there, not things added by a producer or screenwriter with an agenda). Narnia did that. I suddenly got the idea that Aslan was able to breathe life into those of stone, just as Jesus breathes life into our stone hearts before we are saved. Duhhhh. . . don't ask me why I never got that one before.

So now we are home. The boys are asleep, hopefully dreaming that they are King Peter with his sword pointed into the coming onslaught. I'm sure tomorrow will be filled with chatter of "I loved that . . ." or "The best thing was . . . ." But I'm kind of sad now. Waiting for this movie to come out has built for us from the moment over a year ago that we heard it was coming. It has been our focus for days. What will we do now? Maybe it's a good thing Christmas is so close!

For more information or previews, go to this link:

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