Viv and I also saw Narnia tonight, finally. Viv liked it considerably more than I did. She did not notice the three-hour running time; I did, and I also noticed some scenes which appeared to refer to cut scenes presumably excised to sweeten the DVD, something which irks me a bit. The excisions should be seamless; apparently, though, Viv did not notice and so perhaps I’m being overly critical. Viv did remark, over and over again, how similar the film appears to attempt to be to The Lord of The Rings. I rather thought the filmmakers had tried to push nearly as far away as they could, given the subject matter (and the New Zealand exterior locales and the use of WETA in production). It’s more a case of Lewis’ book and Tolkien’s book having been creatively gestated by two close friends. The similarity of settings and so forth is a direct consequence of the dons having chosen the fantasy milieu to work in.

Like the book, I felt the film was uneven, veering from effective to boring with little warning. Lewis’ key insight in the narrative is the juxtaposition of the recognizable tropes of fairy tale and children’s literature (Alice in Wonderland meets Rapunzel) with modernity in the form of the jarring experience of war and sacrifice the children undergo. It’s a heavy message when read as a kid, and the flaws in Lewis’ execution don’t lessen the jolts a kid feels on reading it for the first time.

Read as an adult, I got fed up with Lewis’ pulled punches and uncontrolled veering from surreal vista to sugary kid stuff, but the essential charm of he book was still available to me. In the film, I was pretty much bored by the climactic events at the Stone Table as visualized by the filmmakers. In the book, the girls’ horror at what they see is conveyed by Lewis at least partially by decorous misdirection, as I recall it, which forced me as a child to personalize the visualization and supply the images myself.

Anyway, none of this really adds to anyone’s understanding of the film but mine. The animal cgi was mostly great, and I hope someone comes up with a way to use the technology in a film that really will blow me away.

One thought on “Pelted

  1. I’m a great admirer of CS Lewis. I’ve read most of his stuff, including his Christian Apologetics. I liked Narnia, but I was sort of disappointed that I wasn’t thrilled by it. I saw huge differences between it and the LOTR movies. Jeez, I want to like it better than I do.

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