Sunday, January 08, 2006

Narnia

First impression: Nicely done, good for the kids, an excellent balance of suspense, violence, love, and beauty. I particularly liked the portrayals of sacrifice: everyone talks about Aslan, but I was struck more by Peter's general, the Centaur, who, upon seeing Peter struck from his horse, turns back and single-handedly tries to beat back the White Witch's warriors.

Second impression: too long!

One of the Brit crits over on NRO made the remark that both Peter and Edmund looked like "public school boys," which, paradoxically, means they look like high-society expensive private school boys. I agree that Peter fits that description, but Edmund had more than enough snivelly weasel in his thin face to keep him from that category. That said, Peter was beautiful and delightful to look at. All of the children were wonderful, really, but Mr. Tumnus was my favorite, followed closely by the Beavers, a delightful married couple.

Aslan did not disappoint, and Liam Neesan's voice was just right, but he was far from my favorite. I do agree with other critics in that the film failed to make a big enough deal out of Aslan. In the final battle, the White Witch wears a fur collar made of Aslan's shorn mane, and the sheer audacity of that gesture is wholly lost on an audience who hasn't read the book and doesn't understand who/what Aslan actually is.

That said, I appreciated how non-gritty the battle preparations and actual fights were. The good Narnians have some kind of special magic armor that never gets dirty or tarnished (heh). I loved the continuous echoes of Art Deco that permeated this movie, although the overall effect didn't reach the sublime heights of Jackson's vision of the Elf-realms in LOTR.

I've been weighing DVD purchases carefully recently -- I didn't just knee-jerk buy March of the Penguins, for example, even though we all enjoyed it. I'm not convinced we'll ever watch it again, so there's no need to buy it. But Narnia will be a welcome addition to our library when it is released.

1 comment:

Sheik Yerbootie said...

Did I ever tell you my Liam Neeson story?