Sunday, December 11, 2005

Filmblogging: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

I have taken great pains to suppress spoilers and the over-excited use of exclamation points in my comments about the movie. The reason I am consciously not using exclamation points is that I'd otherwise be tempted to use them to end two out of every three sentences once I start talking about the film.

My perspective is that of a female twenty-something evangelical Christian who was introduced to Narnia when her parents read her The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe when she was about five or six years old, has reread the entire series many times over since then, has read most of the seven books in two or three languages, would identify herself as a die-hard C. S. Lewis fan (although she recognizes he and his writing are not flawless), enjoys trying to identify topoi (traditional themes and formulas) common to medieval and renaissance literature in his fiction, and was very skeptical about this film adaptation being at all good when she first got wind over 18 months ago that Walden Media and Disney were making this movie, as the archives of this blog attest. For what it's worth, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe is my third favorite chronicle, after The Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian.

So, here is my reaction after viewing the first of what I sincerely hope will be many Narnia movies made by Walden Media. I saw it this afternoon, so it is fresh in my mind.

It was amazing. I loved it. Wow. Aslan looked real. The casting for the kids was great; they were believable as a family. For that matter, all the casting was good. There were some really funny lines, and I'd quote my favorites here were it not for my self-imposed spoiler moratorium. I keep reading reviews of the film where people talk about seeing Lord of the Rings/Star Wars influences in certain scenes, but with one minor exception I honestly can't identify any of that.* And trust me, I know my Lord of the Rings movies. I also know the original Star Wars Trilogy quite well. (Its prequels, not so much, and I have no desire to know them better.) I expected the film to be good, although I wasn't sure if it would be great. My expectations were exceeded. It was great, and it is battling Serenity, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, and Mad Hot Ballroom for status as my favorite film of 2005.

A word of advice if you will go to see it in the cinema: Don't stand up to leave the minute the credits start rolling. Stick around for a bit. It's worth it.

*That minor exception is that some rock formations glimpsed briefly in the last third of the movie vaguely reminded me of the rock formations shown in two scenes from Peter Jackson's LotR. I doubt those scenes were filmed at the same locations, though. That exception is, obviously, so extremely trivial as to be irrelevant.