More on Narnia

I thought this comment was worth posting and responding to for all to see because some great questions are raised in it.

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.

It's funny you should mention the "middle part" because my friend and I both said that it wasn't nearly as interesting to us as the beginning and the end. We both felt it was slow and long, so I thought it was a bit true to the book in that regard, minus the icy river scene. I think if they had made the journey really as true to form as the book had described it, no one would come back to see the movie. I fully understand your point, but can you imagine a Cast Away-like Narnia film? I felt it was long enough at 2 hours, 10 minutes. But I do see your point.

As far as the description of Aslan, I do agree that it was a bit lacking as was the explanation of Father Christmas. Those who have not read the book would think it was a random encounter with Santa Claus. That's one of the reasons that I thought it strange they didn't use a narrator.

So, okay, here are a few more details they could have explained better as well. In the movie, it was unclear what was going on as far as the trade between Jadis and Aslan. Not until afterward was it understood that he took his place, in my opinion. I've read the book probably 10 times, and the book gives you a better feel for the sacrifice Aslan makes to take Edmond's place.

Also, in the book, Edmond becomes so gluttonous when he first meets the queen that he begins to stuff his face with Turkish Delight and forgets to call her "Your Majesty" and becomes quite rude and flippant. That's when she cuts off his supply. I wish they had shown that.

And the Father Christmas thing could have been explained much better. I don't even think anyone ever called him that.

Liam Neeson as the choice for Aslan was a bit annoying, too. His voice is perfect, don't get me wrong, but the man has been in so many movies lately that it was hard not to think of him as Batman's trainer, or as a Crusader, or as Obe Wan's dad or whatever he was in Star Wars. I think they could have gone with a no-name actor, but again, his voice was perfect. It's just that it was Rob Roy.

So there are more details. Any more disagreements or questions, I'll probably post them as well, since I think they're worth talking about.

Once again, I did love the movie. I didn't expect them to get all of it in or all of it right because that's what the book is for. I'm happy it's not a perfect substitute. I still highly recommend it.

Posted by Portia at December 12, 2005 08:17 AM | TrackBack

Qui-Gon Jinn was Obi-Wan Kenobi's mentor, and the one who charged Obi-Wan with training Anikin Skywalker in the ways of the Force.

yes, I'm a geek.

Posted by: MacStansbury at December 12, 2005 08:39 AM

Rob Roy. (different kind of geek)

Posted by: Captoe at December 12, 2005 08:38 PM

As soon as Aslan came out of the tent and anounced edmound was free, i knew right away it was becuase aslan offered his life instead. My thoughts were confirmed when Lucy caught a look at Aslan.
Anyways im with glad hollywood can't make a perfect substitution.
So did you suffer from jet lag? Did you have an emotional time when you got back? I have pictures. Some are ok, others you can tell we were on the mission field and the disaster pics came out really well. However, they are right to say a pic does not even begin to capture what the true devastaion is.

Posted by: Kandice at December 13, 2005 08:43 AM

yup. my thoughts exactly!! i wasn't too impressed with it for those reasons, but you do have a point with the need for "excitement."

Posted by: hannah at December 13, 2005 12:38 PM

Thanks for the post! Hopefully you will get to read this rather than it being lost in the blogosphere, like I was for a week or so (my feeble excuse for getting back to you late).

You're right in saying that it would have made the movie much longer if they had kept the middle part closer to the book version. I don't think there was enough action to warrant a two-part movie (like LOTR), which is what would have been needed if they had extended the middle part. Personally I would not have minded slowing things down, but I imagine many movie executive heads would have spun off their necks if they made the journey part reflect the book version.

I also noticed in the movie that Jadis was not as snappy to Edmund compared to the book (or the BBC version for that matter). It detracted slightly from her "regality" (is that a word?), but there was no doubt that she was in charge of her side of Narnia. I missed the Father Christmas part because my son had to go to the bathroom.

I would have liked a deep bass voice for Aslan, but James Earl Jones is too deeply linked with Darth Vader. I don't know who else could have stepped in for that vocalization.

Posted by: MarcV at December 27, 2005 06:21 AM