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Just Saw "Narnia" Sucked
n/a | 12-27-05 | Bob J

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.

The Story.

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 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 opening.

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.

The characters.

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.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: moviereview; narnia
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To: Xenalyte

Happy Birthday!

121 posted on 12/27/2005 12:06:45 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: kemathen7

I wasn't a big fan either. I am not that into fantasy and never read Tolkien. I did enjoy the movies mostly for their cinematic and artistic efforts - which were excellent. I guess it's one thing to read a series of books vs. having to wait 2-3 years to watch a series of movies. I felt that way about Star Wars as well though I loved the last one, Revenge of the Sith.

122 posted on 12/27/2005 12:07:00 PM PST by Paved Paradise
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To: Bob J

No offense, but you're full of it.
The movie was great. I was less than sympathetic to Edmund (thought he needed his ears boxed, not sympathy) but the movie was great.

123 posted on 12/27/2005 12:08:10 PM PST by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: maestro
>Correction... 1st Peter 5:8...Revelation 6:16...2nd Timothy 4:1-4 ... Hebrews 1:1-9

Everywhere is
Freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies
Tell me where is sanity

Tax the rich
Feed the poor
Till there are no
rich no more

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

Keeps on breeding
Nation bleeding
Still more feeding
Life is funny
Skies are sunny
Bees make honey
Who needs money

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

World pollution
There’s no solution
Just black and white
Rich or poor
Them and us
Stop the war

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

124 posted on 12/27/2005 12:09:22 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: Bob J

"one would expect fantasy characters in a fantasy movie"

Dorothy and Alice would disagree with you, but on a more serious note, did you sleep through the Elves, Santa Claus, Mr. Thomas the goatman, talking lion, winter witch, talking beavers, talking fox, talking wolves, and assorted demon creatures of greek mythology appearance, not to mention that it had been winter for over 100 years?

125 posted on 12/27/2005 12:09:51 PM PST by Rebelbase (Green bean casserole is a culinary curse upon mankind.)
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To: devane617

You must be projecting how you feel about Lewis and Tolkein. Lewis was more successful than Tolkein in his day. Lewis was even on the cover of Time magazine. I don't believe Tolkein was.

126 posted on 12/27/2005 12:10:41 PM PST by far sider
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To: Jimbaugh

You know what? There is a lot of truth in what you're saying. Many of the bigwigs in Hollywood (writers, and so on) are gay so there's a very distinct bias. It's disgusting. Oh, I wish we could bring back Frank Capra and the others like him.

127 posted on 12/27/2005 12:11:58 PM PST by Paved Paradise
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To: far sider

"Projecting"? No. Just stating what I have gleaned from reading about CS's life. He seemed to look up to JRR from what I read.

128 posted on 12/27/2005 12:13:04 PM PST by devane617 (An Alley-Cat mind is a terrible thing to waste)
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To: Rebelbase

Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about.

The movie spent too much time on scenes and characters that although might have been important in the books added nothing to the movie (the first 30 minutes) and not enough on character development and the relationships between them.

129 posted on 12/27/2005 12:13:05 PM PST by Bob J ( conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: Ramius
>That the technical advances finally made the movie possible

The only image
of that AWFUL trilogy
that's still in my mind

is the stupid scene
where Orlando Bloom crowd surfs
during some battle . . .

130 posted on 12/27/2005 12:13:20 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: Bob J

What about the beavers? are they in the movie a lot or a little?

131 posted on 12/27/2005 12:13:35 PM PST by Huck (Yeah.)
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To: Huck

A lot in the middle not much in the end. They are quite effective and endearing.

132 posted on 12/27/2005 12:14:30 PM PST by Bob J ( conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: Bob J

I love the Narnia books and was slightly disappointed at the movie, but for different reasons than yours.

First of all, you have to watch it with a child-like suspension of disbelief - beavers don't talk, you can't walk through a wardrobe into a new land, etc.

It is helpful to look at it with the eyes of a Christian as well. There is a lot of Christian theology contained within it, as others have pointed out. The most basic include that we live in what can be a very difficult and dangerous world, which is not the only world; that there is such a thing as good and evil/truth and lie, and we must choose; that evil can sometimes be seductive; that our choices can have ugly and sometimes unintentional consequences; that there are battles to be fought and we are not particularly well qualified to do so; and that there is an overarching intentionality or plan to what happens in our lives and in the world that is not always clear.

Some aspects of those concepts were visible in Narnia - some done better than others.

Best stuff, IMHO, include the computer generated Aslan - loved when he roared at the witch and how he looked and moved - the voicing was pretty good too, the innocence and wonder of Lucy, the beauty of Narnia even in the snow, Mr. Tumnus and the beavers as characters and as computerized image, Edward's changes in personality as the movie progressed. Less well done - the music, the battle scene, Peter's sidekick in the battle (who was completely empty of characterization in my view).

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 7.5 - particularly in its relative faithfulness to the book, mixed but better than average computer imagery, and the underlying Christian worldview.

133 posted on 12/27/2005 12:15:08 PM PST by Wicket (God bless and protect our troops and God bless America)
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To: Fawn
Thanks. King Kong was AWESOME!!! I thought it was excellent... Anyone see The Producers?

I liked One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and the Hitcher was really scary.

134 posted on 12/27/2005 12:15:48 PM PST by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
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1st Timothy 2:5-15

Maranatha.....narnia's Lion is the British Lion.....1st Peter 5:8....

Hey,...Brits.....take the picture of Charles Darwin off your-666-money!

1st Peter 5:8

135 posted on 12/27/2005 12:15:50 PM PST by maestro
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To: jwpjr
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.

That reminds me of one of the funnier threads on FR:

Scared of Santa photo gallery

136 posted on 12/27/2005 12:17:47 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Bob J

You have the right to your opinion, of course. I disagree strenuously with your opinion of the Narnia film (I thought it the best movie I'd seen in years), but I'm not going to ry to argue you into agreeing with me.

There's no accounting for taste. If you don't like a film with heroic characters, visual spectacle, and a matchless moral, then all the words in the world aren't going to make you like them. Some people don't like lobster, either.

I do feel sorry for you, though.

137 posted on 12/27/2005 12:19:08 PM PST by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Bob J

Interesting rant. Of course, not many people KNOW it closely follows the book, which has been out for decades, but...well, to each his own. I liked it...but then, I read the BOOKS. (it's a trilogy)

138 posted on 12/27/2005 12:19:14 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: One Wing to Rule them All and to the Darkside Bind them)
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To: SlowBoat407
a genre defined by the hero being the most unlikely of characters drawn by destiny into a conflict that he did not start, but is destined to end.

Who was ever a less likely hero than the carpenter of Nazareth? And he really did save the world.

139 posted on 12/27/2005 12:20:17 PM PST by Restorer
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To: mylife

Thank you! Only 2½ hours until paella time!

140 posted on 12/27/2005 12:21:03 PM PST by Xenalyte (MILF! MILF! MILF! MILF!)
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