Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Movie Reviews

While the rest of the evangelical world was rushing to Narnia, Derek Thomas caught a showing of Pride and Prejudice and provides us with a review. (Upshot: "Go and see it!")

My wife and I went with another couple to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I found myself deeply wanting not to be disappointed, but I was. Phil Ryken expressed one of my disappointments:

The filmmakers are to be commended for producing a fairly realistic Aslan. However, the beast came well short of inspiring very much awe, or passionate affection. This is probably due to the inherent limitations of the medium, as Charles Colson pointed out last week. But the issue is really essential to the whole film, as it is to the book. The lion in the film seems almost tame, and I wonder how much we really care about him when he comes to die.

This is probably my central complaint. The anticipation for Aslan wasn't there for me. And then when he appeared, he just wasn't awe-inspiring. I think the choice of Liam Neeson was a mistake. Was James Earl Jones not available?

I was also disappointed that the line about Aslan not being a tame lion was watered down and shifted to the end. But perhaps it simply didn't work to have that line delivered before we actually saw this version of Aslan, because, well, this version of Aslan was indeed fairly tame!

Another complaint--and I feel a bit superficial about saying this one--is that the special effects were clearly inferior to what I expected. The Lord of the Rings set the bar incredibly high. I'm sure LWW would seem much more impressive if LOR has not come out first. As it is, a number of the elements came off as borderline hoaky.

On the positive side: I thought the pre-Narnia sequences were very effective and realistic. The parts of Lucy and the White Witch were portrayed convincingly. And I'm glad they kept the Professor chiding the children for not believing Lucy, since after all, she is neither a liar or a lunatic (which has hints of Lewis's famous trilemma about Christ--he's either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord).

My hope is that with this film the director and his team have found their feet, and that The Magician's Nephew will be significantly better.