The Space Between Waveland and Wonderland

The black, bayou mud in Mississippi...

It's been an interesting week and a half. I came home from ravished Mississippi to fall asleep, wake up and go to picture perfect Disneyland one day followed by a manicure/pedicure and screening of Narnia the next. What a strange and sudden transition that was.

I'll start by giving my opinion on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, since I know you're dying for it. To preface my thoughts on the movie, you must know that I am a tremendous fan of this series. I read them multiple times as a little girl and was so captured by the possibility of a magical world that I used to go to the back of my wooden wardrobe, close my eyes and pray as hard as I could that Jesus would make Narnia appear. I've since gotten over my bitterness. On top of that, as an adult, C.S. Lewis has to be the greatest literary and theological influence on my life (aside from the Bible). Suffice it to say, there were a few, deep expectations I had going into the theater.

But I tried as hard as I might to not expect too much, since that always seems to end in disappointment. My dear friend and I went to a child infested theater, hoping they wouldn't get too out of hand, and tried to stifle our excitement, as, you know, we're the adults in the room.

I'll skip to the good part: I loved it. It was just as fantastic and magical as I'd always imagined. The WETA Workshop boys have done it again. The animation was incredible, the acting was wonderful and the scenery was just as it should have been: breathtaking.

I fielded a few complaints entering the movie. My good friend and fellow Lewis buff told me he was dissatisfied with the witch. He had hoped she'd be more overtly evil. I, however, loved her portrayal. I thought it a little more evil--appearing as a kind, loving monarch and turning out to be Satan incarnate.

I was a bit surprised that there wasn't a narrator. The reason being that I had become accustomed to hearing Lewis' voice in my head as I read those books. A great deal of context is given through the third person, but I thought the director did a great job of filling in the holes where that was concerned. The opening scene was one such instance of providing context for the viewers.

I don't want to give too much away in terms of details. All I'll say is that it is absolutely worth your money. I'm sure I'll see it at least once more in the theaters. I've also found out that it ranks third for 2005 weekend box office gross. I'm quite happy about that.

I've heard many say that Lewis would not have wanted his book to be adapted to film. I'm sure they're right, but I have to say that I sincerely believe that even he would be impressed. It was a beautiful film. I do hope, though, that people who have not read the books will be inspired to do so now. I'm sure Lewis would disagree with a film adaptation purely on the principle that children now may forego reading for watching a movie. I would fully agree with that concern. But I hope that doesn't become the case. My hope is that it's simply a supplement that fulfills the imagery inside the heads of millions of children and those who once were.

See the movie. And forgive my vague review, or endorsement. I'm still quite exhausted, so if there are any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, I beg your pardon.

Posted by Portia at December 11, 2005 10:39 PM | TrackBack

I loved it too Portia, though my recollection of the book is much longer in the past than your; I thought it was pretty true to the original. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Posted by: Larry at December 12, 2005 05:39 AM

Just happened to find your blog by semi-accident. I'd like to know what you thought of the "middle" part, and your thoughts on how they changed the part of the story from when the children find the Beavers to the point that they first see Aslan.

I understand their desire to "jazz things up" and inject more action/drama into the middle of the film. In the book this part is an important anchor to the story, where the children who were hesitant to stay in Narnia were persuaded by the Beavers to help.

In particular, Mr. Beaver's description of Aslan was undercut, and their journey in the film was short and intense rather than long, somewhat difficult but not nearly so dangerous as described in the book. I suppose that's part of Hollywood and the need to add pizzazz.

Posted by: Spud at December 12, 2005 06:01 AM

I was expecting photos more along the lines of:
I got plastered and mud-wrestled like mad-woman today
Pictures of dried mud...not expected.

Oh and welcome back, you done did some good work.

Posted by: the Pirate at December 13, 2005 11:06 AM