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Just Saw "Narnia"...it 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 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 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: Bob J

Bob, I agree with you that its Kludgy.. its clearly a movie made for folks who have read the book... the character development and relationships that are at the heart of the story, never really develop on screen... time constraints would be my guess.


51 posted on 12/27/2005 11:41:56 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Bob J

C.S. Lewis is.... Harry Potter's OCCULT-MASTER......1st Peter 5:8


52 posted on 12/27/2005 11:42:16 AM PST by maestro
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To: Sans-Culotte

That's the way C.S. Lewis wanted it. You read LWW then TMN. I think you are supposed to wonder "How did Narnia get there?" "Why did these kids get to go to Narnia?" "What happens to the kids?".

If you read TMN first, you don't have any questions about Narnia.


53 posted on 12/27/2005 11:42:19 AM PST by luckystarmom
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To: Bob J

Sounds like you have more of a quarrel with the book than with the movie. Narnia, along with "Lord of the Rings" helped define the fantasy genre that still thrives today, 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.

Sound familiar? Are we not living through that time right now, when George W. Bush, who many dismissed as being the most unlikely of people to lead this country, is now waging war against one of the darkest forces the world has ever encountered in the form of militant islam?

There's a reason this type of story works. The archetypes laid out in the Rings trilogy and the Narnia books are part of what give us the strength and courage to take on the enemies who would snuff out the light of our humanity and civilization. The heroes come from the least likely of places and are drawn into conflicts that at first do not involve them, but turn into personal missions.

You are, of course, free to laugh off the transformation of the child, the halfling, or any other "insignificant" person into a hero, but these stories will continue to give us hope against overwhelming odds.


54 posted on 12/27/2005 11:42:22 AM PST by SlowBoat407 (The best stuff happens just before the thread snaps.)
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To: Xenalyte
Another square building came out, this time with windows and chimneys.

“A model of the Manchester branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association,” said Harvey.

“Are there any lions?” asked Eric hopefully. He had been reading Roman history and thought that where you found Christians you might reasonably expect to find a few lions.

— Saki, The Toys of Peace.


55 posted on 12/27/2005 11:42:47 AM PST by dighton
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To: Bob J

It was no Lord of the Rings, but it was a good movie. You have to accept it at face value.

What is special about the children is that they are humans. Hence why the prophecy concerns them. The world was created by Aslan, spurred on by humans, and the world ends by the actions of humans. Yet there are few actual humans in the world of Narnia itself.

By the by, the Professor was, as a child, the main character of the first book in the series "the Magician's nephew".


56 posted on 12/27/2005 11:42:58 AM PST by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Bob J

I saw it yesterday. I enjoyed it.


57 posted on 12/27/2005 11:43:30 AM PST by TennesseeGirl
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To: Bob J
I will read them, but that aside, the movie still sucked.

Don't bother. You will be disappointed. I think you need to read them as a child to really get drawn in. The movie left me wondering about the books I read as a kid. Now that I have read them again, they are VERY simplistic. I still like them though.

58 posted on 12/27/2005 11:43:49 AM PST by abner (Looking for a new tagline- Next outrage please!- Got it! PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS LOST IN THE USA!)
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To: Bob J
I just saw it yesterday, and I thought it was superb. I liked it much better than LOTR because the characters were much better developed. The children were magnificent. Even the animal characters were believable, in an animal character kind of way. I didn't find any weaknesses at all in the movie. A+

Of particular interest to Christians was Aslan's death and resurrection, but more surprisingly, the frequent mentions of "sons of Adam" and "daughters of Eve." The lines jump out from the dialogue, instructing us that we're more than random collections of molecules.

59 posted on 12/27/2005 11:43:49 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Bob J

I loved this movie, although unlike you, I did not expect anything but a fantasy/children's movie from a fantasy/children's book.

The scenery was breathtaking and the special affects/makeup of the creatures were just amazing. They did sissify Peter a bit, but in the book he was a bit of a weeny as well. The point in that I think was him stepping up and becoming a man.

It seems you were expecting more out of a children's movie than you should have.


60 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:20 AM PST by sandbar
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To: Bob J
I tend to agree. "Narnia" was ambitious, but it felt too much like "LoTR-lite". It may not be fair to "Narnia" to compare it to "LoTR", but the fantasy overtones are still there. I just couldn't shake the suspicion that the success of LoTR solely inspired production of this movie.

With the exception of the Ice Queen, most of the characters were too wooden or linear for my tastes. The pace of the film felt uneven and CGI money-shots on the battlefield felt too much like, "been-there, done-that."

The passion and the sweeping epic feel of the book just didn't translate well to the screen. It may have looked good in draft, but the final product just didn't engage me that much.

But ultimately...to me, did the movie "suck"? No. Clearly, it was meant for children, so that's its primary saving grace. Besides, it may be underwhelming and uneven, but I've seen far worse movies that truly do deserve such a label.

61 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:26 AM PST by kromike
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To: Alouette

Do you like fantasy stories? It's definitely a kid's movie, but it's a good kid's movie.

They maybe should have toned down the violence because I do think the movie is aimed at younger kids 8-10. However, I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the books more as a kid, and then as an adult reading them to my son.


62 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:32 AM PST by luckystarmom
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To: Lil'freeper

Ping


63 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:46 AM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." Pope JPII)
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To: Sans-Culotte
Isn't The Magician's Nephew really more like a "prequel" to Lion, Witch, Wardrobe?

You are correct. CSL wrote LW&W first. He wrote TMN sixth, but it was a prequel.
64 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:46 AM PST by irishjuggler
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To: Alouette

Actually, after reading some of the reviews and threads on FR I was surprised at it's lack of obvious religious inferences. They are very subtle in in the subtext (Lion gives life for others, resurrects and leads fight against evil). The only direct references are in "son of Adam, daughter of Eve".


65 posted on 12/27/2005 11:44:57 AM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: peyton randolph

Agreed, it's a kid's movie.

Hollywood bores me now. T2 was a great movie. From there...ummm.....what was good?


66 posted on 12/27/2005 11:45:07 AM PST by Loud Mime (Libs will oppose terrorists when they turn into smoking, christian, whale killers)
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To: Bob J

I didn't find it quite as good as it should have been. It does seem to be a 'let's hurry up and capitalize on the success of LOTR' job, rather than a job done by a group that really loved the book and story. THere were a lot of things left out. I enjoyed it but only because hey, I enjoy a lot of stuff that may be sappy and predictable, as long as it has an honorable message.


67 posted on 12/27/2005 11:45:22 AM PST by Terriergal (Cursed be any love or unity for whose sake the Word of God must be put at stake. -- Martin Luther)
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To: Alouette

--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.

You actually watched the whole thing? Whew boy!..that's pretty funny..


68 posted on 12/27/2005 11:45:37 AM PST by bkepley
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To: abner

No I didn't but plan to.


69 posted on 12/27/2005 11:45:39 AM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: kevkrom

I think Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite. My least favorite was The Boy and his Horse.


70 posted on 12/27/2005 11:45:43 AM PST by luckystarmom
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To: Bob J

I heard brokeback mountain sucked too.


71 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:22 AM PST by sopwith (don't tread on me)
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To: Trajan88
I thought it was easily the best work that Michael Bay has done. But I think him being the director kind of diminished the audience. You just can't see him and indie queen Scarlett Johanssen working together. But they both did good work for The Island, with Bay holding back on his worse instincts.
72 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:26 AM PST by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: Sans-Culotte

"Isn't The Magician's Nephew really more like a "prequel" to Lion, Witch, Wardrobe? While, technically, it occurs before LWW, it always seemed to me that you needed to read LWW first, and then have some gaps filled in with TMN."


Having JUST finished TMN last nite (after already having read "Chronicles" some 25+ years ago), your assessment is 100% correct, IMO.


73 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:27 AM PST by Blzbba ("Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart" - Ashe, Housewares)
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To: Bob J
I've read the books but have yet to see the movie. Yours is the second negative review I have heard (of 2), and it sounds like in many ways the story just doesn't come across well on the big screen. (Another criticism I've heard was the relationship between the kids and Aslan isn't really clear, and when Lucy is hugging him and crying near the end it is sort of unexpected. ("She hardly talked to the lion; why is she all upset now?"))
I'll still probably go see it when it finally makes it to the base theater. I'll probably even enjoy it now that my expectations are sufficiently reduced.
74 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:34 AM PST by Gil4 (This tagline for rent - cheap!)
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To: Aquinasfan

Am I the only one around that thought the LOTR was too-hyped? I was completely unimpressed, but due in large part to all the constant hype. All movies were OK, but unworthy of all the praise.

I'm preparing my flame suit.


75 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:38 AM PST by kemathen7
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To: Bob J
You just spoiled the plot for me.

I never knew that Linus would recite bible verses right at the end of the special, until you told me.

76 posted on 12/27/2005 11:46:51 AM PST by Lazamataz ("Over it is not, until over it is." -- Yoda Berra)
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To: Bob J

>>>I understand they are kids books, so is Harry Potter. If the movie was really wanted to target the small kids they should have omitted much of the battle scenes...far to violent for the little ones. They didn't so I assumed they wanted to target an older audience.>>>

Yes, it was a kid's version of Braveheart.

My four year old daughter didn't mind so much though. She was caught up in the fighting.


77 posted on 12/27/2005 11:47:11 AM PST by sandbar
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To: Blessed

"Christ and his disciples were all people of little consequence and no special leadership qualities..."

Christ was the son of God and performed miracles.


78 posted on 12/27/2005 11:47:47 AM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: Bob J

A friend saw it and didn't like it either. She thought the writing was bad and she didn't care about the characters and most disturbing were the animals' sounds made during the fighting. She said it really did sound like wounded animals and she wouldn't bring a young child to see it.


79 posted on 12/27/2005 11:48:07 AM PST by nuconvert (No More Axis of Evil by Christmas ! TLR) [there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: Bob J

Oh well, I thoroughly enjoy the movie Starship Troopers, but have never read the book. Some FReepers have said the movie sucked compared to the book.


80 posted on 12/27/2005 11:48:23 AM PST by DTogo (Merry CHRISTmas, and a healthy & happy New Year!)
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To: Malsua

"Hey! No dissing NPH! He rocked in H&KGTWC, "


He also picked apart the brains of insects in "Starship Troopers".

Don't mess with Doogie!


81 posted on 12/27/2005 11:48:30 AM PST by Blzbba ("Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart" - Ashe, Housewares)
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To: maestro
>C.S. Lewis is.... Harry Potter's OCCULT-MASTER...

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away


We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down



82 posted on 12/27/2005 11:48:56 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: loreldan
I agree with loreldan. This is a movie for children based on a book. Therefore, you need to look at this from children's eyes and from those who have read the Narnia Series.

For me, someone who has read the stories, over and over, since I was a child, this first movie was tremendous and I am looking forward to "Prince Caspian" which I have heard is the next to come out. In this one the characters do come out and yes these are portrayed as ordinary children (which I believe C.S. Lewis intended).

Edmund, who is quite self-centered and selfish does find himself seduced by evil (the White Witch) and is the "traitor" for which Aslan dies in his place. Edmund learns from his experience as does a very naughty boy to come in "Price Caspian".

Another thing to know is that this is not the first attempt at making a Narnia Series. The BBC has it, and I can tell you that IMHO this is far superior. This movie moves dynamically in comparison to those done before.

Also remember that this is more British based and more intellectual. It is sweeping the old continent as we speak and taking it by a storm. Like the Harry Potter books, the stories are somewhat convoluted and you have to see them sometimes, once or twice to get the full impact.

Thus I rate LLW in the class of movies I want to see over and over again and possibly own on DVD.

Last thought: When we were sitting waiting to see Pride and Prejudice 2005, there was a narnia poster over our heads. Every child passing looked at the poster. Some said they couldn't wait to see it, others would just say awesome and some parents had to explain to there very little ones why they couldn't go (though they wanted to) because they weren't ready yet. I did not see a child who was not interested in seeing LLW and I'm looking forward to hearing comments by children about this movie.

Any One?

83 posted on 12/27/2005 11:49:02 AM PST by sr4402
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To: Bob J

Both my kids had to read this book in 4th grade.

Both said it was the worst book ever written, and stand by that feeling today 12 and 16 years later.


84 posted on 12/27/2005 11:49:20 AM PST by SolidRedState (E Pluribus Funk --- (Latin taglines are sooooo cool! Don't ya think?))
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To: sandbar

"It seems you were expecting more out of a children's movie than you should have."

I think I was expecting more out of the hype...heheh.


85 posted on 12/27/2005 11:50:28 AM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: Bob J

We loved it. It's the first movie ever that my eight year old did not hide under her coat at the intense parts.
We've read the books so many times, she was immune.

My only problem is that the White Witch should have been prettier to begin with but the lady that played her was very good.

Sorry you didn't like it. I do think it was more for kids, though.


86 posted on 12/27/2005 11:50:33 AM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: Bob J

Thanks. I'll compare my thoughts with yours later...I'm going to the 4:00 showing this afternoon (cheaper tickets). Thank you, Wal Mart, for the cheap (and soon-to-be-smuggled) candy.


87 posted on 12/27/2005 11:50:45 AM PST by AlaninSA (It's one nation under God -- brought to you by the Knights of Columbus)
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To: luckystarmom

"If you read TMN first, you don't have any questions about Narnia."


Or any questions about the Witch (She-b*tch from Charn) or Wardrobe...


88 posted on 12/27/2005 11:50:50 AM PST by Blzbba ("Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart" - Ashe, Housewares)
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To: Bob J
Hey dude. Lighten up. It's Christmas. I thought the movie was awesome. But then again, I'm 22 years old and I was a little boy when I read the book and I loved it.

Sorry that you got disappointed. My advice to you in the future is to avoid movies of children's tales.

It is obvious you cannot put yourself in the mind of a child.

89 posted on 12/27/2005 11:50:59 AM PST by MinorityRepublican (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: luckystarmom
You just saw the movie of the 2nd book.

It used to be the first book. The order has been changed in the past few years.

90 posted on 12/27/2005 11:51:50 AM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: Bob J

I saw Narnia three times. Thought it was great. So there.


91 posted on 12/27/2005 11:51:59 AM PST by My2Cents (Dead people voting is the closest the Democrats come to believing in eternal life.)
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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"

Yes, children should be brutally murdered for teasing.

I remember just recently some kid made fun of the bicycle I was riding. I would have loved to have called out a she bear to disembowl that brat...but alas... where have all the she bears gone?

Too many brats...not enough she bears...:(


92 posted on 12/27/2005 11:52:02 AM PST by fizziwig
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To: luckystarmom

I think the books were actually re-ordered (with LWW being first) by an American editor.


93 posted on 12/27/2005 11:52:45 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Bob J

We thought it was a wonderful trip into a fantasy world. Nevermind the so-called allegory on the part of C.S. Lewis. It was pure magic.


94 posted on 12/27/2005 11:52:57 AM PST by stanz (Those who don't believe in evolution should go jump off the flat edge of the Earth.)
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To: RadioAstronomer

It was the first book of the series that he wrote. However, TMN chronologically comes before LWW.


95 posted on 12/27/2005 11:53:56 AM PST by luckystarmom
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To: Bob J
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.

This one is easy: You, too, are special Bob J.

96 posted on 12/27/2005 11:54:31 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Bob J

"Susan - The most annoying, negative character in the movie."

Well, if it makes you happy, I believe Susan, alone of all the children goes to Hell (or rather, does not go to Heaven) in the last book (The Last Battle).


97 posted on 12/27/2005 11:54:51 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: MeanWestTexan

Don't spoil it for him. He needs to read the books to find out what happens.


98 posted on 12/27/2005 11:55:52 AM PST by luckystarmom
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To: kemathen7
Am I the only one around that thought the LOTR was too-hyped? I was completely unimpressed, but due in large part to all the constant hype. All movies were OK, but unworthy of all the praise. I'm preparing my flame suit.

On a scale of one to three stars, I'd give them a solid 3. I found all the characters to be flat, possibly because the plot was so flat. Here they are starting their quest; now here they are on their quest; now here they are battling some bad guys; now here they are battling some other bad guys. The story was just extremely linear. I really wanted to like LOTR, but I never felt any empathy with the characters. Overall though, the movies were very well executed, so it deserved three stars.

The characters in Narnia were much more engaging and believable.

99 posted on 12/27/2005 11:56:29 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: theFIRMbss
Correction...

C.S. Lewis is.... Harry Potter's OCCULT-MASTER......1st Peter 5:8

try.....Revelation 6:16

...........................2nd Timothy 4:1-4

Hebrews 1:1-9

100 posted on 12/27/2005 11:56:34 AM PST by maestro
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