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Narnia

I've been looking forward to this movie for months, but when I was on my way to see it this afternoon I was a little nervous, because Narnia was the first series I really had a fannish relation to. I read the books when I was nine, and I have a very clear memory of turning 10 at my grandmother's house and getting the whole series as a birthday present, and "re-ordering" them in their little case so that they matched the story chronology (the way they are sold now) instead of the original order of publication. I explained very solemnly to my mom and my aunts exactly why I was doing that, and I think now they were probably very amused.

So I was relieved--really overjoyed--to find the movie living up to my expectations, and in fact reawakening how much I loved Narnia as a child. Spoilers behind the cut.


I don't have a very visual imagination, so well-done films are a real treat for me. I couldn't say, for example, that I had a mental image of any of the characters before going into the film, but I can say that everyone was *perfectly* cast, especially Lucy, Susan and Edmund. The actress who played Lucy was particularly good, I think, projecting her curiosity and wonder without any of the annoying or cloying acting tics you so often see in child actors. Edmund, too, was wonderful, especially in all his scenes with Jadis. I particularly liked the scene where Tumnus finds out Edmund has betrayed him, and you see Edmund finally realizing the gravity of what he has done--that was very well acted.

Narnia itself was also gorgeous to see (though I confess I preferred it covered in snow! But the tents on the battlefield were also very pretty, and they did a good job with Cair Paravel, too). I found the cgi animals pretty convincing, especially the wolves and Aslan. (I was very happy with Aslan, actually, and that was the one I was most worried about, because in the previews I thought Aslan looked very fake. He didn't in the film, though).
Tumnus was absolutely *perfect*, and I think I'm a little in love with him.

They stuck fairly closely to the text of the book, with the exception of a few scenes. The opening, which is *not* from the book, was an excellent addition, depicting London during the blitz, and an air raid scene does a really good job of setting up the conflict between Edmund and Peter and establishing the reality of living in wartime. I thought that was very effective, especially in explaining *why* the children don't want to immediately jump into war in Narnia.

I'm not sure what to make of the river crossing scene--I don't remember it from the book, but it's been a while since I read it. I certainly don't remember Susan siding with Fenris, or Peter hesitating to kill him, but I guess I should go back and reread the book before I read anything into what may well be a canonical scene.

I did very much like the scene at the Stone Table--if anything, it was less heartbreaking than I imagined it, though Jadis' helpers were suitably scary. The friend I was with and I both thought that even though the dialogue was sticking pretty close to the text, the cinematography seemed to be almost consciously mimicking certain scenes in "The Passion of the Christ"--specifically the kind of blue light Lucy and Susan were filmed in as they watched the scene seemed like a deliberate homage to how Mary and Mary Magdalene were filmed in POTC.

I don't actually have a problem with the religious allegory in the film--when I was a *very Catholic* 9 year old, it made the story better for me (I remember the "aha" moment was reading the end of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader)--but I don't think I'd bring a kid under 10 to see LWW, because the Stone Table scene, while not graphic at all, is still pretty hard to watch.

The battle scene (unsurprisingly) was longer than the book, but it had a couple of good character moments: Edmund breaking Jadis' wand, and Edmund telling Peter he trusted him to lead the army. I did have a moment of thinking, "good grief, must we have this muscular CHristianity," but overall it didn't bother me.

The only thing I found *really* jarring was the abrupt transition from the crowning at Cair Paravel to their adult selves. I thought maybe, for viewers who hadn't read the book, a voiceover explaining they had ruled for a while or something would have helped.

Overall, I loved it. I really liked the acting, and the visuals were very satisfying. I was so happy at some of the little details they left in, too, like the 4 kids wearing the fur coats, and the Turkish delight. I think I'm definitely going to see it again.

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Nora (KK glasses)
norwich36
Nora Norwich

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