Sunday, February 12, 2006

Narnia. (Spoiler warning? No, I expect you to have read the book)

I'm not sure how I feel about the new Narnia movie. It got a lot of things wrong, certainly. I suppose the war scenes were necessary for a number of reasons, but it felt weird having them there. Also, they seemed to be trying to make it into an epic - I think the association of Tolkien and Lewis makes people think Narnia is somehow grander than it really is. It's closer to the fable than the epic form and doesn't really need sweeping landscape shots, battle scenes in slow motion or exciting man-vs-beast psychological struggles on a frozen (though rapidly melting) river. It also does not need hot pouty-lipped Susan contributing almost as much to male guilt as Emma Watson, though I enjoyed that particular addition.

But there's a lot the movie gets very very right. Edmund is actually given a reason to be angry with his family, and it's far more visible than in the book. Most of the casting is perfect. (Does anyone know who plays adult-Edmund? I'm too lazy to check, and he's rather attractive.)
Aslan's death is beautifully done. He has to be brought down completely, made scared and humiliated, that's the only way the glory of the religious analogy will really be felt. This was probably the only point where I was really drawn into the story.

Narnia isn't brilliant, at least not consistently. But there are moments when it blazes through, and even if I don't agree with the Christin subtext I think it's beautiful and I can't imagine Narnia without it.

2 comments:

Yohan said...

My sis and I both read the books as kids. She loved the movie. I was a bit nonplussed. It really shouldn't have to compete with the Lord of the Rings. You're right: fable as opposed to myth.

And for some reason, I always imagined the dagger that killed Aslan to be curved.

Bina007 said...

Did you not find the special effects very ropey?! Considering how much money they spent there were a lot of basic flaws.