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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Old 12-18-05, 11:40 AM
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I saw this last night and I really enjoyed it. I do agree in this one case that this film could have used an extra 20 minutes to flesh out some things, but other than that, I thought it was very well done. R&H did a fantastic job on Aslan.

I won't waste a review since I'm no good at writing one. I'll just say I give this a **** out of *****
Old 12-18-05, 04:12 PM
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I just saw this movie (in a sold out theater on mid-day Sunday), and I must say the film is good... but not great. Too many times did I look up at the screen and could see where that exact same shot was done in LOTR. They should have really tried to find their own footing, rather than copy what was perfectly done before.

The fact is, the book is not very movie-esqe. The battle is short, and nothing takes much time to build - it just happens. The director obviously tried to make the story much longer than it was written, by adding a huge battle scene and extra scenes in the witch's castle.

I'm not sure I would have liked the movie as much as I do, if I hadn't read the books before. It was a part of my childhood, so it was really cool to see it on screen. I know if they would have passed the movie like the book, it would have been a huge failure, but at the same time, there were too many times that I felt they were pulling too far from the book just to move the story.

Unless you've read the books, wait and rent it.
Old 12-18-05, 04:26 PM
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"I'm down with the Chroni...'WHAT'...cles or Narneeia!"
Old 12-19-05, 06:49 PM
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Just seen it, really enjoyed it. How nice to see a Hollywood blockbuster that for once actually has a story (as opposed to a string of increasingly tiresome CG effects sequences) and conveys strong moral values without being preachy about it. I thought the Pevensie kids were well played (especially Lucy), Mr Tumnus was instantly likeable (I felt quite bad for what happened to him because of Edmund), the beavers were great - several of their lines got huge laughs from the audience - Aslan was great and the film passes one of the key requirements for this sort of story; make sure you get a good villain. Tilda Swinton was well cast here, able to play evil on different levels and reasonably physically convincing in the battle scenes. Gorgeous producion values too. I saw nothing in the movie that adversely affected my enjoyment although I do wish directors would stop inserting unnecesary slow motion shots in the middle of otherwise exciting battle scenes. I swear to god if I see one more character screaming 'Noooooooooo!' in slow motion as his best friend/brother/wife/husband/lover gets killed then I'll be the one screaming. Just saying ...

... anyway, an exceptional movie and I look forward to buying the DVD and hopefully watching a sequel a couple of years from now.
Old 12-20-05, 01:38 AM
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**1/2

Mixed feelings on it. Never read the books but as a film it didn't make me believe in the world. I kept thinking "that's a cool set" and "the make-up's great - that Yak guy is awesome" but it never gelled together or created an atmosphere that drew me in. The children were fine, the animal animations and practical make-up were great...I gotta place the blame on the director. Just too much for him to handle I think. And no way did I see 180 million on screen.

I realize they were going for a younger audience, and if I were a kid I'd have loved it and totally bought into it. So to that end, they succeeded. But even though I'm a kid at heart, it didn't work for me.

I wanted to like it, but checking my watch during what was supposed to be the climactic battle scene wasn't a good sign. Will watch future installments, but for now I can scratch this one off of my DVD purchase list.
Old 12-26-05, 05:41 PM
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Saw it today. *** out of *****

Definitely a great flick for kids but for adults...more of a yawner. The effects and acting are decent. Good but not great.
Old 12-27-05, 06:21 AM
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The film felt rushed. I think another 1/2 hour in length would have made it even better.
Old 12-27-05, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Fincher Fan
The film felt rushed. I think another 1/2 hour in length would have made it even better.
Hopefully, in the DVD release we'll have a longer movie so it addresses you concerns.
Old 12-27-05, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SuprVgeta
Not really a spoiler, just discussion about a couple of characters...
Spoiler:
Anybody else get a pedophile vibe from Mr. Thomnas and the White Queen?
You got that too?

Spoiler:
Especially with Tumnus. I think it may have had something to do with him being a grown man, not sure. But yeah, it definetely seemed a bit pedophiley to me.
Old 12-27-05, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by lauren42088
You got that too?

Spoiler:
Especially with Tumnus. I think it may have had something to do with him being a grown man, not sure. But yeah, it definetely seemed a bit pedophiley to me.
Mr. Rogers must have really creaped you out when you were younger. Especially with his buddy Mr. McFeely.
Old 12-27-05, 11:28 AM
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Film was truly amazing. Hopefully we'll get an extra 30min- 1hr on the dvd.
Old 12-27-05, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lauren42088
You got that too?

Spoiler:
Especially with Tumnus. I think it may have had something to do with him being a grown man, not sure. But yeah, it definetely seemed a bit pedophiley to me.
Count me in as well. Thought I was just being a paranoid parent.
Old 12-28-05, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Duder
Yeah, I didn't mind the kids either. Lucy had the cutest expressions, and really helped put you into that childlike, wonder-filled mindset that the story requires IMO.
Went and saw this with my wife and parents over the holidays... After the movie, my mom said that she read somwhere that they deliberately kept the actress playing Lucy away from the set until it was actually time to film. That way, they could actually capture her true reaction of awe when she came through the wardrobe for the first time. Don't know if it's true or not, but her reaction was great.

now, she did annoy me a few times, but nothing major. basically, she was smiling in scenes where you wouldn't expect someone to be smiling... But like someone said above, could just be a kid thing.
Old 12-28-05, 07:59 PM
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My dad and I took my sister's five-year-old daughter to an afternoon show today. Pretty good little flick - *** out of *****. The youngest girl was cute and I didn't think the rest of the kids were that bad. Nice film for kids and a decent one for adults.
Old 12-29-05, 04:14 PM
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Big fan of the books - will see the movie soon - but I want to know this: does the film stay true to the book where the four children stay for years and years and become men and women? If so, do the adult actors portraying King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy resemble the children?
Old 12-29-05, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Buttmunker
but I want to know this: does the film stay true to the book where the four children stay for years and years and become men and women? If so, do the adult actors portraying King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy resemble the children?
Yes, and not so much.
Old 12-29-05, 04:32 PM
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Really liked the movie. B+. But that little girl (Lucy) with the plucked and perfectly manicured eyebrows bugged the heck out of me. I found myself staring at her eyebrows everytime she was on screen.

Good movie, though.
Old 12-29-05, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by porieux
Saw this film on Sunday. We both walked out after an hour or so of insufferable drivel.

What an absolutely atrocious pile of crap. There is no joy in this film at all, no life, no sense of wonder, nothing.

I know that it was supposed to get better toward the end but frankly by that point we didn't care. What a relief to leave the theater, it was like getting out of suspension early or something.

This film should have cost like 2 million to make, I heard the budget was double of FOTR. Insane. Obviously some serious raping going on there. Guess I am in the wrong line of work...

Not recommended. Better to watch paint dry or something else more exciting.
I walked out around the same time after getting tired of keeping my eyes open.
Old 12-30-05, 02:46 AM
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I loved this movie! I thought this was the closest I had ever seen a movie coming to it's original book. However, the book is not detailed like most so that could explain why.

This was my favorite movie of the year (I think...still debating between this and crash).

My 2 problems with the movie:
1. Mr. Tumnus's ears bothered me. It look like someone cut out some felt and stuck it to his head...there was no life.
2. Where was the fear of Aslan? Thought the dynamic between Aslan and all others was...I can't put my finger on it. It bothered me though.

These 2 things bothered me but I absolutely love this. As soon as Lucy touched the snow and smiled I became a kid again...it was amazing. I thought the acting was tremendous...not sure what some on this forum are talking about.
Old 12-30-05, 06:20 AM
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I saw it last night and enjoyed it enough. It makes me want to continue with the BBC version to see what happens next.
Old 01-03-06, 07:39 AM
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Caught it last night.

I really wanted to go enjoy this movie as a fantasy film, but the religious undertones throughout the entire second half of the film were far too heavy. The film spent far too much time on the sacrifice scene - it was the focal point of the movie. That's fine if you're filming Christianity, but not for a fantasy story where it's an important but transitional plot element. They should've called this film "The Passion of the Lion."

Or, they could have called it "The Bible with Unicorns." If you take out the obvious biblical elements, you're got a magic portal, some talking animals, a by-the-numbers cartoony battle scene, and a jarringly non sequitur scene with Santa Claus. Most of the film is a plot vehicle for the allegory - it feels like cinematic packing material.

If you also remove the stylistic elements obviously stolen from The Lord of the Rings, Narnia becomes a very short movie indeed. A massive army of orcs emerging over a hilltop? A scene with the kids hiding in a tree hollow while a pursuer stalks them overhead? They're not even pretending to be original.

Similarly, the scope of this "epic" is disappointing - it has a surprisingly tiny and simple cast of characters. What made The Lord of the Rings great wasn't the mass-scale effects - it was the complexity of characters like Gollum and Shelob and Boromir and Saruman, secondary characters of critical importance to the story. By contrast, Narnia concerns itself strictly with three of the kids, Aslan and the witch, the fawn, and the beavers - everyone else is irrelevant and disposable. You remember Aslan's right-hand centaur? I don't remember the film even giving him a name. Where Tolkein's adaptation triumphs, and where Lewis's feels loose and empty, is in literary depth. You don't have to drain the nuance from a story in order to pitch it to kids.

The acting was good to fair - good performances by most of the lead characters, and a couple of secondary characters. The cinematography was quite good, though the CGI was hit-or-miss. The pacing of the film was atrocious. That's about it.

Overall: ** out of *****.

- David Stein
Old 01-03-06, 09:35 AM
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Did you ever read the book? The movie played very close to the story. What may seem unoriginal to you was pretty fresh when it was written circa 1940s. Also, Santa Claus was in the book so your gripe is with Lewis not the movie. It makes me wonder why would you even 'want to like' this movie? You sound like a critic from the get go. I suppose lots of people went to see this movie for the wrong reason. Some people were Tolkien fans wanting another LOTR and were thus disappointed to some degree and another group is a bunch of religeous nuts trying to shove Jesus down everyones throats.

LOTR and the Chronicles are completely different things. LOTR is much more mature and intended for an older audience. Chronicles is supposed to be a childrens fairy tale more or less. They are fairy tales written by a Christian writer who loved Biblical themes of sacrifice and good vs. evil. Maybe its not so clear to non-Christians but the Biblical allusions are pretty thin. For example the world of Narnia is chock-full of pagan mythical creatures which im sure sits very uncomfortably with Christian fundys who dont understand what the books are. There are Biblical themes in lots of movies about good vs. evil, it all depends on what you're looking for and what you want to complain about.

I think Frodo was a good 'Jesus character'--carrying the sins of the world for the rest of us dont you think?
Old 01-03-06, 10:12 AM
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I saw it yesterday and really enjoyed it. I didn't get a LOTR vibe at all since this felt more like a fable than did the LOTR trilogy. As for the whole Christian vibe, it was so thin you would have to make the same accusation to countless books, movies and videogames if you think of this film as Christian propaganda or whatever. I just took it as a delightful fable and would gladly add it to my DVD collection once it's released.

That said, even though I've never read the books, the film gave me the impression of being heavily truncated. I left feeling the same way I did when I saw Kingdom of Heaven. Both are excellent films but both also come across as rushed at times. I hope just as Kingdom of Heaven there will be an extended release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe somwhere down the road.

Last edited by RocShemp; 01-03-06 at 01:00 PM.
Old 01-03-06, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Save Ferris
Did you ever read the book?
No, and I can't untangle the story told by the book from the story told by the movie. But I don't think I should need to - I'm reviewing the movie and the story that it conveyed.
Originally Posted by Save Ferris
What may seem unoriginal to you was pretty fresh when it was written circa 1940s.
I'm not sure that its appeal was in any perceived originality. I've always heard that it is a fun retelling of a bibilical story. Moreover, the elements that it could present with novelty were instead pilfered from a similar movie - that's a bad precedent in any genre.
Originally Posted by Save Ferris
It makes me wonder why would you even 'want to like' this movie? You sound like a critic from the get go.
I don't see movies that I expect not to like. My time is too limited for that.

In fact, I was pretty psyched up to see it; the trailers did a great job of making it seem like an epic fantasy tale that happened to have some Christianity underpinnings (which would have been just fine.) Instead, I feel like I witnessed a bait-and-switch.
Originally Posted by Save Ferris
I suppose lots of people went to see this movie for the wrong reason. Some people were Tolkien fans wanting another LOTR...
Hey, that's what the trailers led most viewers to anticipate. It's not our fault that the producers didn't practice very skillful expectation management.
Originally Posted by Save Ferris
Maybe its not so clear to non-Christians but the Biblical allusions are pretty thin. For example the world of Narnia is chock-full of pagan mythical creatures which im sure sits very uncomfortably with Christian fundys who dont understand what the books are.
It's pretty easy to take a story and dress it up in the clothing of another genre. Hollywood does that all the time. It doesn't change the underlying story. (see also intelligent design. )

Let's look at the elements of this story:
  • This is the story of a charismatic, ethical leader struggling against an army of evil.
  • One of his followers succumbs to temptation and treacherously falls into the clutches of evil.
  • The charismatic leader makes a deal with the head honcho of the evil group, where the trespasser is redeemed in exchange for the life of the leader. The leader encourages the rest of his followers to forgive the trespasser.
  • Late at night, the leader delivers himself to the forces of evil, which mock him and then kill him.
  • But the leader more fully understands reality than the forces of evil, and since he is full of love and without blame, he returns from the dead to punish the evil ones in a final, glorious battle, thereby saving the whole world from evil.

Every Easter Sunday homily that I've ever heard has followed this exact story arc. Any story following that pattern is the story of Christianity. I don't see how anyone can plausibly characterize this as a "thin" similarity.
Originally Posted by Save Ferris
I think Frodo was a good 'Jesus character'--carrying the sins of the world for the rest of us dont you think?
Nah, Frodo was just a hero with a burden. That's pretty generic. Contrast with the very specific points I listed above.

- David Stein

Last edited by sfsdfd; 01-03-06 at 11:51 AM.
Old 01-03-06, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sfsdfd
Let's look at the elements of this story:
  • This is the story of a charismatic, ethical leader struggling against an army of evil.
Frodo & his 8 followers, one of whom turns against him?

Originally Posted by sfsdfd
  • One of his followers succumbs to temptation and treacherously falls into the clutches of evil.
  • Baromir who turns and then later redeems himself?

    Originally Posted by sfsdfd


  • But the leader more fully understands reality than the forces of evil, and since he is full of love and without blame, he returns from the dead to punish the evil ones in a final, glorious battle, thereby saving the whole world from evil.
  • Gandolf vs. Balrog and then his return as Gandolf the white?
    Originally Posted by sfsdfd

    I don't see how anyone can plausibly characterize this as a "thin" similarity.
    It is not neccessarily "thin" because it is there but it can be read into many other movies & books, and those are never scrutinized. Even if it is a perfect allogory how was it being preachy?

    gereral rant(i.e. not directed at anyone in particular):
    The fact is people bitch and bitch and bitch about Hollywood ruining popular novels in their translation to the screen and for once Hollywood nails it. The result? People bitch because they left in the Christian undertones that have been there for 5 decades. It's quite funny.

    All that being said, I can understand if you don't like the(any) movie being preachy, as I hate that myself. I just don't see it in this movie. The allegory serves the tale being told. Nothing more.

    Lastly, Santa Claus did not appear in the book or the movie. Father Christmas did. They have come to be synonymous but they have different origins.

    Last edited by Michael Corvin; 01-03-06 at 01:07 PM.

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