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January 10, 2006

This Narnia Tale: Review

I was out, gathering my thoughts and at the same time taking another period of rest since last week (yeah, excuses, excuses…)

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I have watched The Chronicles of Narnia. Below are my thoughts (spoilers ahead):
  • Quick summary: The protagonists: a talking lion named Aslan and four children. The antagonist: a white witch named Jadis. The common battle of good versus evil. Four children, through a magical wardrobe, accidentally stumbled upon the world of Narnia. The kingdom is experiencing eternal winter, caused by the magic of the evil witch Jadis. The children where prophesized to be the saviors of Narnia, and along with the help of the talking lion Aslan, waged a climactic battle against the evil forces of Jadis.

  • Besides the lion Aslan, expect other talking forest animals like the beavers (yes), wolves, fox, horses, and other Greek mythical creatures of such as centaurs, satyrs, and minotaurs. Add to that the griffins. And did I just see a phoenix somewhere during the battle?

  • The film's storyline seems unoriginal. Unoriginal because most of us have seen fantasy movies with familiar plots and events (such as the battle in LOTR) and the common creatures found in films like (again) the Lord Of The Rings, and Harry Potter. Common creatures? The grotesque orc-like creatures (in LOTR) and the griffins (in Harry Potter).

  • I was merely basing the similarities to recently made fantasy films. I can't blame other critics for stating that Narnia seems like LOTR junior, what with the familiar battle scene over the plains and mountainsides in both films (I found out that Narnia's C.S. Lewis is a close friend of LOTR's J.R.R. Tolkien and was a reader of Lewis' tale. It's possible both individuals shared ideas and inspirations for their own respective books).

  • A trivia: in the credits, the WETA Workshop (which did a great job in LOTR) was responsible also for the creatures and other special effects of the film. Aaah, no wonder the Orc-like creatures of Jadis looks all too familiar.

  • Talking animals? Others oddly find them annoying in the film. If these were depicted in the book as talking creatures then you better get used to them. What do you prefer they do instead to communicate? Mime?

  • In the book, the main villain, the white witch Jadis is very beautiful. I think, whoever casted Tilda Swinton for the role made a good choice. She was truly despicable as the cold-hearted white witch but at the same time exuded that uncanny beauty (even if her only makeup seems like thin shiny glosses to represent icicles). Her expressionless close up moments could send shivers to any innocent child.

  • I find the actors who played the Pevensies siblings did spectacularly well in the film, especially that lad who played Edmund (really into the role of a black sheep type of sibling - pensive and moody) and the lovable little girl Lucy (every time she smiles her crooked teeth, you could somehow feel her enjoyment in participating in this movie).

  • I think those scenes where Aslan was slain and resurrected back to life were not too preachy about Catholic lessons at all (as most say this is similar to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and his eventual coming back from the dead). I feel those scenes did not overshadow whatsoever other important aspects of the story to make this film entirely a "subliminal" tool to propagate the beliefs of Catholics. I myself am a Catholic, but as much as possible I don't want to impose my own personal beliefs.

    Yeah, even if C.S. Lewis denies anything religious about the story, the mere fact that Aslan "sacrificed himself for the sake of a love one" makes his character similar to Christ.

    Anyway, isn't it this what makes love so special and above anything?

Overall, I rate this 4 out of 5 stars.


rmacapobre said...

narnia is a typical disney movie. no blood was shed. problems were magically whisked away by some powerful force that is beyond the world. the villains were doomed and didnt have a chance. perpetuating yet again the myth of good and evil in the world.

i got a strong feeling that it fell short of showing a very good battle scene (potentially). like the ones in the lord of the rings. or with la coeur valiant. i like the two sword wielding centaurs. the griphons. the taurens. and my personal favorite la sorcière

the acting was good. especially from the witch which not any moment did i feel her chill.

this movie is definitely for kids.

im predicting that local producers will start copying certain elements of this film. and make it appear as if they were original.

jio said...

Yup, too many fantasy films nowadays get to copy things from sources they've either seen or read, moreso from sources that are recently popular to many people (well, not only locally, but other international movies get to copy certain fantasy elements from other fantasy movies).

What I would like to see locally is a fantasy film based entirely on our Filipino mythology and culture - all creatures from tikbalangs, kapres to babaylans and mangkukulams. No knights please, nor dragons, nor mix-matched wizards or witches garbed in all too familiar western, futuristic or other asian type costumes. They better use Filipino inspired, native suits and dresses.

On the other hand... we really don't have an "original" culture to brag about so we're used to copying anything from other countries.

And for Narnia: it IS for kids.

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