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Chronicles of Narnia

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote one of these, but with all school projects turned in and respective oral exams attended, I finally had some time to go to the movies. Given that The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe was the last book I actually enjoyed, this movie was one of the top choices in my list.

[The children, stepping into Narnia]Just like Bryan mentions in his post Fantasy and the Epic Battle, one shouldn't lose the ability to cater to the inner child trapped inside each and every one of us. Just like when I loved watching Labyrinth for the first time in my life when I had already passed my teen years, I felt just like that after reading this book a couple of months ago. I remember thinking on both occasions: I would have loved to read/watch this when I was a kid. So, if you haven't already let the child in you die – and if you have, please accept my condolences – and are fond of fantasy tales, this is a movie for you. It's one of those tales that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside – quoting a friend, hope she doesn't mind.

Starting to slowly get into the movie, I felt that it lacked a prologue, but maybe this is due to the strong parallel one can't help to set with Lord of the Rings, and I don't mean this simply by the strong friendship between J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, nor by the fact that both movies have the same mastermind behind the breathtakingly-real models and makeup-fx: Richard Taylor, from WETA. The first book,The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew, explains how Narnia came to be, how they created the wooden wardrobe, and many other things you see during this movie. I guess it's understandable, given the tough job of sticking in a prologue in the course of the action. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will when you watch the movie. But still, I think it should have had more explanation in it, perhaps with a narrator?

The tales of both Narnia and Middle-earth have – at least – one more thing in common. They might have been written for children – LOTR started as a children book –, but they appeal to grown ups like no other. I'd bet it's about the reality of both worlds and also the secret wish of wanting to be transported there. I can't think of a single reason why one wouldn't want to live in such places. That was yet another feeling I dealt with while watching this movie. I imagine the story is a lot more special to those who have read this story in their early ages and have been living with those memories all this long.

[Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, the Faun]I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about how some of the creatures in this tale would look like. It's fine to imagine a faun, a centaur or even a talking beaver in your head, but it's a totally different case to make them believable on-screen. This fear was promptly dissolved as the fantasy creatures started creeping into scene. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Beaver weren't as big as they were described, all of them didn't seem the tiny bit fake.

[Director: Andrew Adamson]The huge task of directing such a movie, was undertaken by Andrew Adamson, whose filmography include Shrek I and II. Curiously or not, this movie was also shot in New Zealand. When you take a second to actually look at those landscapes it starts to make sense why both CoN and LotR were shot there. I don't think it's only because both directors are New Zealanders, because if they didn't have the resource – in this case, the landscapes – they would have to find it elsewhere, but that's just it, they do have them and they like to share them. Lucky us.

[The White Witch]

As for the cast, just like the story deserved, the main characters were basically unknown but capable people. The only one I recognized was Tilda Swinton, as the White Witch. Despite some opinions otherwise – yes, Inês, I'm looking at you –, she was very convincing and fit the role of the witch I had imagined in my head while reading the book. She was as cold as ice but she was able to show warmth and kindness – even if the character was faking it – when she had to. Throughout the movie, she remained scary and intimidating. Amazing how much impact shaved eyebrows can accomplish. She reminded me of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel when she is tempted to take the ring and then transforms into a wicked, powerful dark queen for an instant. (I'm sure Cate was an option for this role at some point, she would've done great.)

[Lucy, waving back at a Dryad]Georgie Henley, the children who played Lucy, was a surprise. She has the looks of a common english child, but the way she acts is way above average, IMO. I'd be surprised if she doesn't make a career for herself out of this. At least, I hope so.

The character of Aslan was... appropriate. And I'll leave it at that.

[The Battle]

Moving on. The battle of epic proportions was one of the most live ones I've seen onscreen. Some of the scenes actually had me sitting on the edge of my seat, which isn't a normal thing for me to do. I thought the scene when both armies meet was cleverly done. Performance-wise, it was astounding with the ferocious impact between the fastest animals – cheetahs and leopards? – followed by the quick merging of both fronts with screams, howls and grunts, followed by thumps, of course. A great highlight for the sound production in this scene, that managed to increase the impact by inducing a lack of sound before the actual impact moment. Wonderful, I say, wonderful.

I won't get much more into the story to try to avoid spoilers, but feel free to comment with your opinions on this movie.

Overall, I thought it was an exceptionally well done adaptation of C. S. Lewis' book, never failing at key points of the story and staying true to the actual feeling of Lewis' words. It was common to recognize sentences from the book all throughout the movie, and that's always special for a fan. As a movie, it stands on its own. It will surely appeal to the fans and non-fans of the book. Just like other recent epic adaptations of acclaimed literary works, this is a movie that will be seen as a reference for many years to come. Specially if the goal is to provide with a loyal adaptation of a book. Something that Peter Jackson wasn't able to do in all of the three movies of LotR.

Movie's CoverChronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe2005

directed by Andrew Adamson

Georgie Henley
Tilda Swinton
William Moseley

official website
more info: iMDB

rating: 9 / 10


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