Monday, December 12, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (full)

[note: for theatrical releases I/we may sometimes stray from the normal format and offer full reviews.]

Some kids grew up with the Lord of the Rings series; instead I read C.S. Lewis' tales about Narnia. When I heard that his 'Chronicles' would come to life on the big screen I approached the first installment -- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- with guarded optimism, hoping for something like Peter Jackson's LOTR, but fearing John Hancock's The Alamo.

The finished product lies in-between, but much closer to the epic spectacle that won so many Academy Awards. TLWW introduces the seven-part series with the granduer and gusto that it deserves, though I wonder whether the opening film really has enough "magic" to carry its lesser-known six siblings. Even if it does not, TLWW successfully brings to life a story and a world that has enraptured readers for more than a half century.

Director Andrew Adamsson blends actors with CGI, and though it isn't a completely seamless incorporation (one scene in particular, or the four children standing on a ridge with mountains behind them, looks blatantly computer-generated), it doesn't sacrifice story for effects, ala George Lucas. And Narnia's talking beats -- most notably the lion Aslan -- spring life-like to the screen.

Most importantly Adamsson stays true to Lewis' work. The ont thing that the Narnia series has in its favor when it comes to film adaptations, is that each story is short enough that translating it to a screenplay doesn't require chopping off substantial portions of the story. TLWW doesn't gloss over the details.

If there's one word I would use to describe Jackson's trilogy, it would no doubt be: majestic. TLWW's scope doesn't extend quite that far, but it would be unfair to knock it simply for falling short of a plateau unparalleled in filmaking. Adamsson's project stands on its own merit, and for those of us that enjoy the Narnia story more than that of Middle Earth, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is more than deserving of whatever accolades and awards it may have coming.


Post a Comment

<< Home

web stats analysis