Thursday, December 15, 2005

In the Land of Narnia

Last night, I had the privilege of going to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with my wife and two oldest boys. My wife had previewed the trailer to my boys several days ago, and they were beyond excited. And, my six-year-old was certain to declare to us hourly how he won't be scared. (He seems to believe that we forbid them to see movies that we might consider "too scary" for his age...which, come to think of it, is true.)

I will say, I was quite impressed. The movie far exceeded my expectations. I had seen made-for-television productions before that were laughable. But this was simply gorgeous, and very true to the intent of the books...although, there were some necessary liberties taken, as is the case with all book-to-movie translations.

The casting was perfect, cinematography beautiful, and the special effects impressive. As I had read in several reviews, the director did a great job of leaving intact the symbolism that abounds in the books, yet at the same time leaving that same symbolism as subtle as found in the books.

If this movie had a flaw, it was in attempting to be a bit too much like the recent Lord of the Rings epic. The movie was big in that same epic sense. The world of Narnia was created as more than just a few sets on a soundstage. That is good, actually. But there were times I couldn't help but think they were trying to carbon-copy the feel of the Tolkien-based films. The battle scene, in particular. I wouldn't be surprised if they used the same special-effects house that Peter Jackson used. Yet, if you can separate yourself from that aspect, it was a terrific movie in every regard.

I will admit up front that I was surprised at the intensity of a few of the scenes. Despite being rated PG, I felt this movie bordered into the PG-13 rating in a few places. The battle scene, for example. I was unsure how my six-year-old might react to this, although after the fact, he claimed he wasn't scared one little bit. I think he is just ensuring we won't leave him out on any potential future movie extravaganzas. I think he was scared...just a little. I know I was.

It had been years since I read the books, so my lack of recent familiarity with the original C. S. Lewis telling probably made me able to enjoy the movies even more. There were a few key moments of suspense that I think I wouldn't have felt tension in had I actually remembered what happened before it happened.

This is a movie I highly recommend to everyone, though if your child is under seven, I would be a bit careful and gauge your own child's ability for a few intense scenes with violence. There was a girl, maybe eight or nine, sitting behind us who, during the battle scene, said out loud, "Whoa...that was violent!" So this isn't just the opinion of an overly-protective father.

1 comment:

Megan said...

I totally agree with everything you said. I LOVED the movie.