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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia - THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED (1 Viewer)

Mike Frezon

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But nevertheless chock full of glorious imagery, action and message! :emoji_thumbsup:

I also, Carlo, have the 2-discer and am awaiting for the "right time" for my first viewing of the film in order to give it my undivided attention.
 

Carlo_M

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No doubts, Mike. My only point was, from an admittedly amateur screenwriter standpoint, if you had given me free reign to make whatever length of movie I wanted out of this book, I would think that I could do it in about 2 hours.

Contrast that with, say, The Lord of the Rings. I would estimate my "dream version" (meaning faithful to the extent possible without consideration of running time and/or pressure of box office sales) I would have said between 18-22 hours (the EEs total less than 12 hours).

It's very *infrequent* that a film version of one of my favorite novels actually exceeds the running time that I would have guessed was necessary. In fact, this might be the only one.
 

Mike Frezon

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And I was most certainly not trying to contradict you...but to affirm your position about how wonderful the book is.

You and I both get our chance to see what kind of job the screenwriters did in bringing the Lewis book to the screen. Most reviewers who know/love the books have been fairly kind to the movie in this regard. That is probably what interests me most about waiting to see this film.

Since I missed it in its theatrical run, I was beside myself with David's review about the excellent presentation of the film on DVD! :emoji_thumbsup:
 

RodneyT

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Sorry that this is a bit late, but i just wanted to reprint a mini-review I wrote to my friends about it a few days after the movie came out here in Australia. I reprint the thing with no editing, so any mistakes in it are as originally written. And please keep in mind this is not a review of the DVD, merely my thoughts on the film itself. Keep this in mind when responding....




Let me just clarify that it has been about nearly twenty years since I last picked up a Narnia book. I remember vague bits about TLW&W, but mainly just that I actually read it at one point. And to be honest, I dont ever remember actually being mentally stimulated by it as books such as Lord Of The Rings, Neverending Story (the book is fantastic, if you can find a copy) or Stephen Kings The Stand (or It, for that matter) all books I was reading at that point. So my knowledge (and predetermined enjoyment) of the movie was limited to say the least.

I found the film adaptation to be slow, lacking in magical elements that make the aforementioned films so enjoyable, and signifigantly lacking in emotional wallop. The first hour, which I have had explained as a Harry Potter-esque exposition sequence that sets up the entire series, dragged interminably. It was slowly paced, badly edited (especially the sequence inside the mansion where the kids start to play hide and seek.... some of the cutting was jerky and inconsitent) and lacking in either tension (which was badly needed) or emotion (I just didn't find the child actors carried off the roles well enough: in particular the two elder children, Peter and Susan, although special mention to the kids who played Lucy, she did a great job) and this, coupled with the films inability to find my inner child, made me start to wriggle in my seat.

The sidebar characters seemed to be funnier, more interesting (is "peppy" still allowed in modern English?) than the key cast, even Tilda Swinton as the Witch lacked real malevolance... something the films key villain needs to have. Perhaps it was the incohesive score to the film, something bordering between Enya and a Hans Zimmer action piece; there were no key character themes developed, which made the film even more static. But when the beavers and Mr Tumnus get the best lines, and the major characters don't, something is seriously wrong.

I was thinking about it afterward, and I came to the conclusion that the film couldnt quite find itself to be a childrens film that adults could enjoy, or an adult oriented film that could be enjoyed by children. It tried to be both. As a child, I would have been bored out of my brain about an hour into the film. As an adult, I was waiting for something to happen to liven things up about an hour into the film. Beavers and the opening war sequence aside, the film lacked any real spark until we get to Aslan and the battle for Narnia. Then things improve, but by this stage, you are either asleep or in state of denial that the film has taken this long to get anywhere. About the only thing that happens with the film thats impactful in any way is Aslans sacrifice, which sparks tearful scenes of hopelessness, as the two great armies face each other. But the battle is both too violent for young children (to whom I think the film is marketed towards), and not violent enough for adults (sadly, desensitised to Lord Of The Rings et al) and this consequently robs the images of any true credence.

The special effects waver between excellent and ordinary (Aslan, it must be said, it pretty convincing, but still not even in the same realm as Gollum or Kong) and the battle sequence is a seamless blend of CGI and practical effects and costumes. The opening sequence of the Blitz in wartime London is genuinely exciting, but an unfortunate cracker to the next hour of tedium and slow moving "magic". I just didn't find it "magical" at all.

To be honest, I just couldnt find anything to really enjoy about the film except for some smallish, character driven moments featuring the Beavers, the little dwarf (hello Deep Roy.... all that acting in Doctor Who in the 70's really paid off) and Lucys innate cutesyness......awwwww. Oh, and the costume design on some of the creatures was amazing: especially the Minotaurs! Apart from that, the script was confounding in its simplicity and belief that all those watching have read the books, and singular failure to educate those unfamiliar with its mythos exactly what the sybolism (I so wanted to type symbology right then..!) is referring to.

Unlike Harry Potter, or Lord of The Rings, where careful scripting and dialogue revealed key elements of the franchise's relevant mythos, here the filmmakers seem content to just rely on viewers familiarity (or consequent lack thereof) with the story, and go with it from there. this hampers the development of our association with the characters. Several key questions are left unanswered. Why are these children so important that they need to become rulers of Narnia? Whats with the Prophecy, who wrote it and why? Is Aslan a king? a prohpet? What is he? Now if this information was in the books, it wasn't put onto the screen. If it was essential information, and key bits left out, why have it mentioned in the first place if you aren't going to resolve it. Although this film will undoubtably be the first in a series, each film should stand alone by itself, or at least be capable of such a feat. If these questions will be answered later, the film never gives us the impression that they will. Things referred to but never resolved make a very confused viewer who wonders, at the end, what it was really all about.

People have also referred to the Christian context in which the film is based. Various Christian references are scattered through the film, and whislt I am glad they did never overpower the message the film was trying to convey, they were a gentle nod of the head to the ideas espoused by Lewis himself. This, in particular, brought a smile to my face.

Did I like the film? I wanted to, but was generally disappointed by the storytelling. Perhaps revisiting this film on DVD in the future may make me rethink, as i absorb what I have seen. I know there will be others who disagree with me purely out of love for the books and characters, but in any literary-to-screen translation, the screen versions should never be relying on predetermined knowledge of the literary version, but should be able to be enjoyed on its own merits. I struggled to enjoy this film on its own merits. There were undeniably moments of brilliance (the Phoenix lighting the flames to cut off an encroaching army....... the fire sprites..... and everything with the beavers) but as a whole, its was a little light on emotional conviction and sufferred too much from a director unable to properly edit a live-action film. I guess time will tell with this one. After the fuss about it has died down, peoples real feelings will come out about it.

"

Hope you enjoyed this review.
 

TheLongshot

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Maybe this is a big hint that maybe some of the faults you find in the film may be in the source material itself. Personally, I haven't read it in years, so I can't refute most things you say about the film, except that I disagree with you on the film.

So, maybe you should revisit the book (it isn't that long), and see if it holds up for you. If it doesn't, then you probably aren't going to be satisfied by a film version.

Jason
 

Steve Tannehill

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I couldn't make it through an hour of the movie; the DVD looked fine, though.

- Steve
 

DaViD Boulet

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Fascinating how differently so many people feel about this film.

I'll just echo what Jason said (which I also mentioned in my review) that I've found most criticisms of the film are actually criticisms of the story itself. While that doesn't mean the movie would be any more enjoyable for someone who doesn't enjoy the story, it does strongly indicate how anyone who loved the story might enjoy the film adaptation.
 

Lou Sytsma

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Half the battle with enjoying this film - and any other for that matter - is to determine the scope of the film on its own merits. If the Narnia Chronicles lack the depth or complexity of LOTR then so be it.

From what I saw, have never read the books, TLTWTW works on a smaller scale and from a child's frame of reference. Taken within that context I found the film most enjoyable. Some day I must read the books.
 

DavidPla

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That is exactly right. Having read the books, Narnia was NEVER like "Lord of the Rings" and should never have to be compared as such. Even Tolkien criticized Lewis' Narnia. Chances are that if you did NOT enjoy the movie, you most likely will NOT enjoy the books.
 

Carlo_M

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But do remember that Lewis and Tolkien were friends (just to head off any Tolkien vs. Lewis spinoffs).

That said, Narnia and LoTR are two very different animals. Tolkien wrote and rewrote and re-rewrote (etc.) LoTR over many, many years. The attention to detail, the past of Middle Earth and each race, character, etc. is almost without parallel.

Narnia was written, by most accounts, very quickly and almost "stream of consciousness"-like by Lewis. It is definitely a childrens book. It would be more apt to compare it with The Hobbit than anything else.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone who liked (and remembers) the book of TL,TW&TW has a problem with the movie.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Got this on the weekend, watched it with the kids and loved it. Ten times better than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The film succeeds on its own terms and while a few of the scenes looked CG-fake, it really didn't detract from the story.
 

DaViD Boulet

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Travis,

what's the problem with this:


Carlo's description is most accurate. Tolkien worked for years designing, refining, planning, and integrating the most incredibly complex cultural, historical, and mythical creations in his LOTR series. His fictional accounts are indeed "almost without parallel" in this regard. Very few other works of fiction (the obvious context for those remarks, in case it escaped you) bother to invent entire languages, cultures, and histories in their entirety in a manner that connects them accross storylines and chronology to represent an entire era with such depth of design.
 

Travis Brashear

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No, no, you misread me--I agree with you and Carlo 100%...reread my post; other than making an obvious dig at fundamentalists, which I have to take anytime the opportunity affords itself, I'm asking what fiction book is more ornately designed and complex than Tolkien's. The original poster said almost without parallel. I want to know what he thinks parallel's THE LORD OF THE RING's depth.
 

Carlo_M

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Well, I put "almost" in there as a CYA because, to be honest, I have not read every book ever written. And internet forums are such that as soon as you make a generalization like "LoTR is WITHOUT parallel" inevitably people will sprout up and say "well what about so-n-so?"

For any book that I have personally read, it is without parallel.
 

Vader

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Your "obvious dig" was directed at the religion itself, and not at how it relates to the story in question, and as such, is in violation of HTF policy.
 

Mike Frezon

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Travis: I don't know why you'd rip Derek for stating the obvious.

The rules are in place for a reason. Why derail a terrific review thread with cracks about the Bible and fundamentalists? You are not serving the discussion or yourself well.



I submit the opportunity did not present itself here. You felt the need to create it yourself.
 

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