December 9, 2005

return from Narnia

This morning I saw The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and rate it 4 out of 5 stars on the Netflix scale. I can't go to a 5 'cause some of the dialogue was changed and/or given to different characters. You wouldn't notice if you hadn't read the book several times, but it was a bit jarring for one who has. [STOP HERE if you don't want to read spoilers.] For example, when Aslan goes to the Stone Table, Jadis (the White Witch) says something like "Behold, the King of Narnia," whereas the book has her saying "The fool! The fool has come!" Now that I think about it, Jadis says "fool" on several ocassions in the book but not once in the movie, if my memory's right. Hhhhmmm. OK, another example: in the book a bull says "Come and take him then!" when Jadis says that Edmund is her lawful prey, but Peter says it in the movie. Huh?

On the other hand, some dialogue was changed for the better. Take Father Christmas' speech to the girls as he presents The Gifts: "battles are ugly when women fight," is in the book (p. 105), but the "when women fight" part is dropped from the movie. The movie also nicely empowers Susan: the book's "it [the bow] does not easily miss" is changed to "you will not easily miss, I'm sure." Nice.

I had high expectations for Tilda Swinton as Jadis, and for the most part she delivered. In both book and movie pride is always in the mix of emotions Jadis radiates. When the combo is pride and fear -- like when she first realizes that there are 4 humans, or when Aslan roars at her when she asks for assurances that he'll keep his word -- Swinton doesn't quite pull it off. I'll blame the director for that, though. Also, she blows the audience away in the climatic battle scene!

In sum, although the movie has a few flaws, it's well worth the price of admission. I can hardly wait for Prince Caspian....

Posted by wrjacobs at December 9, 2005 4:28 PM