Skip to comments.Just Saw "Narnia"...it Sucked
Posted on 12/27/2005 11:28:47 AM PST by Bob J
After reading all the hype in the media and on FR, I was excited to see the film of the CS Lewis book. I have to say I was disappointed. For all it's grandiosity and provenance, I found it clunky, sometimes difficult to follow and worse, unbelieveable (even a "fantasy" movie must reasonable enough in the story and behavior of it's characters to hurdle the initial "willing suspension of disbelief")
The religious basis and backdop to the story has been argued at length on FR, so let's leave that at the doorstep and discuss it's cinematic achievements, or lack thereof.
This may have been why I had a problem with the movie. After the presentation of the premise and the characters, I found myslef resisting acceptance that an entire fantasy world filled with magic, mythologic creatures, witches, generals and armies was waiting for a four small children to come and save their world....by prophecy and design. It would have been more believeable if they happened into the world by accident and through clever plot twists were responsible for the salvation of Narnia. But there was nothing really special about these kids, no ancestors with a special connection/knowledge to Narnia, no special abilities, expertise or talents, They were not exceptional in any way...they were just kids. Why did the land of Narnia need them? They added nothing that wasn't already there and in fact detracted from it.
The setup took far too long. I wasn't watching my watch but it must have taken over 20-30 minutes for the first kid to walk out the back of the wardrobe closet into the land of Narnia. I didn't understand the emphasis placed on this part of the book as it had little to do with subsequent events. Did it matter that much to the story that the the kids were sent off to the professor because their mother was concerned about the danger of WWII? There was a passing reference later about being shipped off to avoid the effects of war only to be dropped in the middle of the war in Narnia (and whether they should get involved at all), but it fell limply to the ground.
Ouch. Let's go by the numbers.
The Professor and his maid (?).
Good cop bad cop. The maid is stern, the professor, kind. So what? The movie feints toward this professor knowing more about Narnia and the wardrobe, but it leaves it there. You think he is going to add some specific knowledge or experience that the kids might benefit from (if not be involved himself) but they movie drops it and he becomes a useless figure in the overall plot. Why waste screen time on it?
Lucy - A typical, precocious, British eight year old. The most likeable character in the movie (which might not be saying much) but I grow weary of the English tendancy to cast their child characters beyond their years. I had three "laugh" moments in this movie, two concerning her. First, when she hits the bullseye with her magic "knife" and then when she "flashes it" and heads off to vanquish the armies of evil. A real laugher.
Susan - The most annoying, negative character in the movie. At first I made parallels to Wendy from "Peter Pan, but you believed Wendy was concerned about the younger children while Susan comes off as a party killing shrew. They needed to soften this character but didn't. Throughout most of the movie I kept wondering when she was going to use those damn arrows...had to wait until the last 2 minutes and by then it was anticlimatic.
Edmund - The anti-hero who becomes hero. I busted out laughing (third instance) when they put he and his brother in those stupid looking suits of armor. We are asked to believe this 10 and 14 year old are going to take part in a "Braveheart" type battle with huge warriors and mythological creatures and vanquish all? I might have believed it if they were given extrahuman strength, speed and agility. Even with their magic "implements" the battle scenes with these two were comical. Think of William Wallace in a sword fight with Doogie Howser.
Peter - Peter is supposed to be the 14 year old hero of the story, protecting his siblings while winding their way through the dangers of a mystical kingdom. The residents of Narnia wait for his arrival to lead their armies of druids and gargoyles againt the forces of evil in a final battle of epic proportions and historic finality. Sorry. Through the first 4/5ths of the movie Peter comes off as an effeminate British girlie boy and it is too much to ask the audience to believe he is the saviour of Narnia. Why would they want or need him?
The Witch - Huh? Tilda Swinson does comes off as an evil bitch but I never did beleive she, or anyone, would want to be the King or Queen of Narnia. It would be like Sauron of Moldor and his legions of Orks waging an epic battle for the control of The Shire. Snooze.
That's my nutshell of a take. If you ave seen narnia and would like to comment, feel free to do so but let's keep it clean.
I just rented The Island... it was quite an entertaining action flick. I'm not sure why it didn't do so well in theatrical release.
You obviously have not read the entire series. You just saw the movie of the 2nd book. To understand more, you need to read the first book, "The Magician's Nephew". It explains how Narnia came to be, and how the children actually got into Narnia.
Note - kids' book...kids' movie. My son and my nephew enjoyed it.
Too many big words in it?
CS never achieved the success of his friend JRR, and I believe it dogged him until the end.
It sounds like your problem is with the book - not the movie. The movie very closely follows the book. Your main problems with the movie had to do with the story, characters, etc.
Face it: You weren't open to the experience. You're old and stained in your ways.
CS targeted children with his books. JRR (and Rowling who emulated him), targeted both children and adults. In other words, CS succeeded but his target audience was narrower.
I read the books when I was a teenager, and I remember being very disappointed that the lion didn't up and eat all those obnoxious kids.
You approached it as far too much of an adult. Lewis wrote it for children and to enjoy it, one must become as a child in some ways.
One of my pups saw it and agrees with your assessment. But she found Lucy to be quite annoying.
I was going to mention that not having read the book series I might have missed much of the connecting tissue. I will read them, but that aside, the movie still sucked.
Forgot to add that you have to also read "The Last Battle". It explains why Susan is the way she is, and why the others are the way they are.
There are 7 books.
Must be a kids book. I didn't see Narnia but I've seen "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" on stage and didn't get it. I don't get the "Charly and the Chocolate Factory" guy either. It's all about serial killers to me. What ever happened to "Charlotte's Web" (sniff)?
I just read your rant and it....,well, you know.
I liked The Island too. Reminded me of a cross between Coma and Logan's Run sort of .
Anyone see The Producers?
Geez oh Petey! Bah Humbug to you!
It followed the book so well - I loved the movie (I'm not a kid either) and can't wait to go see it again, and see what I missed the first time.
My 65 year old aunt went with me, she obviously didn't grow up reading and re-reading the books like I did - she was a little lost here and there, but she loved the movie too.
My 11 year old nephew thought it was fabulous and had only read 2 of the books by the time he saw the movie.
Haven't read the books as I am not usually a fan of this type of fantasy story, but I saw the flick and really enjoyed it.
I have read most of Lewis' critical essays and believe the man to be genius.
I read the books as a kid and HATED them. Later, in my adult life, I read more of CS Lewis's works and then re-read the Narnia series. LOVED the books as an adult.
Thought the movie was well done. I was quite fearful that they'd totally hack the book, but they did the story justice.
They are in the process of making a live action "Charlotte's Web". "Charlotte's Web" is required reading in the public school that my kids go to as is "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".
Prince Caspian was the only really good one. You should consider seeing that one even though you didn't like the LW&W. I happened to read Prince Caspian first, way back when, and read all the others thinking one would be as good. They weren't.
or maybe a big part of the problem is because it took longer to watch the movie than it did to read the book.
Saw it on X-mas afternoon. Hilarious. Caveat - there are jokes relating to homosexuals in the movie (made possible because many in the cast are homosexual). If this offends you, don't go see it.
Its always winter in your world, huh?
Agreed. CS Lewis has an amazing way with language.
I'd say most of the Hollyweird movies are lame. I can't remember the last movie I went to the theater for that I really enjoyed.
Thank you, Peter for
stopping in! Ladies and gents,
that's Peter Jackson!
On balance, I thought it was more good than bad; and heck -- maybe it'll get some folks to read the books.
I have been on the fence as to whether I want to see this movie or not.
I couldn't wait for LOTR because I read the books as a teenager and absolutely loved them! I had to re-read them all over again before during and after viewing the movies.
I am not a Catholic or even a Christian. From the discussions of Narnia in thie forum it seemed like this story just whacks you upside the head with its Christian allegory, whereas in LOTR it was there but very subtle.
Sorry you were disappointed.
I saw "Kingdom of Heaven" (the Orlando Bloom crusades movie) and I wish that I could get back those wasted 2 hours of my life. That movie was one giant vaccuum cleaner.
Couldn't disagree with you more.
I thought the casting of non-movie star type kids (especially Lucy with her bad teeth) was very refreshing. It also made an important statement consistent with the theme of the movie--that what happened to them could have happened to anyone.
The point of the intro was to set up the relationship/conflicts between the kids.
I personally thought the funniest moment of the movie occurred in England, when Edmund hit the ball through the professor's window, and the camera showed Lucy reacting with mingled horror and glee.
I didn't think that this was the greatest movie ever made. There were parts of it that could have been improved significantly. But it was reasonably entertaining. My kids enjoyed it.
You sure you don't mean Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Of all seven books, Prince Caspian had the least story and character development, and seemed to really only be there to set up the next two stories.
I was very open. Being a SciFi/Fantasy fan I was looking forward to it, but was disappointed in it's inability to establish it's premise with me.
I'm sure it will be a big hit with the kids.
Did you read the book Bob? The movie was very true to the book...
Hey! No dissing NPH! He rocked in H&KGTWC, what with snorting coke of some broad's butt out of the sunroof of Harold's Car as they watched while riding a Cheetah.
I'll be watching narnia in the next few days, I'll be sure to followup.
CS Lewis books, like the movie, target the 8-12 demographic (the movie is true to the book). Tolkien, like Rowling, targeted age 8 to adult.
I saw Cheaper by the Dozen 2 with my daughters yesterday and really liked it. I'm not going to post a thread onit though.
$6 for a friggin soda? I can do NETFLIX for 6 months for what i paid yesterday.
I understand, I read the Potter books and loved the movies.
re: lion didn't up and eat all those obnoxious kids
Take heart, there's a great story in the Bible about a bunch of kids teasing a prophet. He warns them to stop and when they don't he orders a she bear out of the woods who kills and eats them. Great story. Warms my heart every time I read it.
Oh wait! I definitely mean Voyage of the Dawn Treader, not Prince Caspian. I actually remembered the title as VotDT but someone just recently told me I remembered wrong, and that the title was Prince Caspian with VotDT as a subtitle..
i took my kiddos to see it and we all enjoyed it.
i also think it follows the book and is truly geared
to the children the series was written for.
i first read the entire series in elementary school and have
re-read them all as an adult. it's one of my fav kids series.
Thanks for the review. I like to see movies that evoke strong emotions, esp. ideological ones with points of view, which is why I'll see Munich, whatever the criticisms.
The Island was good. Not A+ but good. Now "Stealth," there was a truly bad movie.