Dec 12 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Published by at 12:29 pm under amy's head,random

I actually reread the entire series this summer. Except the last book. It’s gone missing. If anyone has seen my copy of The Last Battle, please let me know.

As I walked out of the movie, I was filled with mixed emotion, mixed impressions. When I got home, I was still all mixed up. I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not. I am pretty easy to please, and just enjoy being entertained, so it is a little odd to be so perplexed about the movie. I think it can be summed up in the first scene. It’s the very first 5 minutes, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away to tell you, but if you would rather not know ANYTHING about the movie before seeing it yourself (that’s the way I am), then you may want to skip this post.

It begins from the perspective of a bomber looking down on London, and the audience follows the dropping bombs down to the buildings below. We then see a mother and her four children scurrying into a shelter, quite panicked, as is to be expected. It is all very real. Very life and death. Very turbulent. Next we see the children being packed onto a train, complete with tags attached to their coats labeling their destination, with hundreds of other children, and hundreds of parents watching them go.

The first few sentences of the book is as follows (please don’t sue me, it’s just three sentences for crying out loud):

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest post office.”

Do you see the difference here?

I think it can be pinned down as this: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a children’s book. And as such, it glosses over items that children do not necessarily need detailed. And it’s more than just, “It’s a children’s book.” Harry Potter is also a children’s book, but not a lot is glossed over. Lewis not only wrote a children’s book, he is telling a child a story. In the movie, there is no glossing. The audience is not necessarily a child, it could be anyone – adult or (hopefully slightly older) child alike.

Well, that’s it. That is the difference. So after hammering this out in my head, I’ve resigned myself to the innate differences these two types of media yield. I do like the movie. I just have to keep telling myself that it is a different telling of the same story. And it is the same story, and a great deal of it IS told the same way. But it will never be the same as the first time it was told to ME. Through the pages of his book(s), C. S. Lewis told me the story himself. Over and over again, through my childhood, adolescence and even now.

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I will tell you that I adored little Lucy Pevensie. She was absolutely perfect. I would say second to Lucy was the White Witch. Perfect. And in no particular order because he had virtually no screen time, was the Professor. I just loved him. Stay for the credits. I’m not sure about the choice of Liam Neeson for Aslan. Not that he was bad, but the entire time I just kept thinking, “That’s Liam Neeson’s voice!” instead of paying attention. I don’t think that was what the movie was going for.

As soon as I got home, I blabbered incoherently to James about the movie for a few minutes, and then I ran to my computer to see what was going on with the next movie. And as far as I could tell, NOTHING! COME ON HOLLYWOOD! These kids are growing up! GET ON THE STICK! I can’t remember which book comes next, because nowadays they are printed up in a different order than when I read them. However, the movie uses the first book I read as the first movie. Anyone remember which one is next? I’m thinking it is the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but who knows.

Other children’s books I would love to see made into WELL DONE movies: Anything by Noel Streatfield – They’ve done The Little Princess, and The Secret Garden (both by Frances Hodgeson Burnett), it seems like Ballet Shoes should be at the front of the line. The Book of Three anyone? I would love to see that one on the big screen, and really targeted to children, rather than adult children’s movies. I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes by. Any you’d like to see? Comment!!

amy, who adores children and young adult literature and still reads it all today

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