We finally saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe on Boxing Day. It was good, we all enjoyed it. I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointment, however. I suppose that’s inevitable when you’ve enjoyed the books – no movie can really compare with the mind pictures that good writing conjures up.
When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring a few years back, I said, “That was the best movie I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it should have been made.” That’s the tension that I feel with movie adaptations. Why? It is because the pictures my imagination gave me while reading the book are inevitably muddled by the pictures on the big screen. Having said that, we own all three extended Lord of the Rings DVDs, and I’m glad we do. I’m content to live with some tensions, I guess.
With that glimpse into my movie angst out of the way, back to the Narnia movie.
I found the casting to be very good. I read several reviews before I saw the movie, and I agree with some of the opinions and disagree with others. Movies are very subjective things. I thought the casting of the children was excellent. Liam Neeson as Aslan’s voice was fine, though, like his appearance, he wasn’t nearly awesome enough. No one could be, I suppose. The White Witch was a bit soft, I thought. Most of the creatures were good – the beavers were a bit small (see The Magician’s Nephew, the smaller talking animals got bigger and the larger ones grew smaller). Tumnus was too big and too young, I thought, but was very well done otherwise. The tree people were all wrong.
The liberties taken with the story were not bad, considering, though the ‘Hollywooding’ of the action was a little lame at times. Mostly, they did very well. I recognized several lines from the books, though some of my favorites were missing. I don’t know why they skipped some, though others were dropped for PC reasons. One part that I found very touching in the book was when Aslan asked the girls to put their hands in his mane so that he could feel their touch. The book makes it clear that the girls would not have dared without an invitation. This was missed in the movie – the girls just reached out on their own. The sense of healthy fear here contrasted so well with the post-resurrection romp (also missing in the movie) that Aslan had with Susan and Lucy.
Have I or will I talk about this movie from the pulpit? No, not at all. Will this be a great breakthrough opportunity for Christians to evangelize their friends and neighbors? No, probably not. There are, of course, points of contact here that can be launching pads for Gospel conversations. That is good. We can enjoy this piece of art with thankfulness, but we shouldn’t press it beyond its limitations as an evangelistic tool.
There is much more that could be said, but I’m going to leave it at that. We all enjoyed the movie very much, and I’m glad that we went to see it. Recommended.