I saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe today, the first projected movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
Clearly plunging headlong into LOTR and Harry Potter territory, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe takes it clues from those series in bringing C.S. Lewis’ children’s book to the screen.
With only a couple of A-class stars, the movie falls mainly on the children, who do an adequate job of portraying Peter, Lucy, Susan and Edmond. They play the children so well that, at the end, the actors playing their older selves do not measure up by comparison.
Special effects, costuming and the imagination of Narnia work very well, from Mr. Tummus, to the beavers, to bombadier griffins(!). Aslan I think didn’t work quite as well. Liam Neeson is not, alas, James Earl Jones.
Still, the best thing about the movie is the same thing that was best about the Keanu Reeves picture Constantine: Tilda Swinton. She plays Jadis, the White Witch perfectly. Not just the visuals, but the cold cruelty and haughtiness of a woman determined to maintain her power.
Funny enough, the end battle kept making me want to play Heroes of Might and Magic, as fantasy creatures face off in a battle that, while not quite up to the exalted levels of Lord of the Rings, is still well imagined.
The Christian imagery is there,and there are some changes to the plot that even I,years after reading it,recognize, but it didn’t detract from the experience.
I will definitely purchase the DVD when it comes out.