Doing battle with daily dragons

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Rock Star and I hadn’t really intended to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Neither of us were fans of the book as children; in fact, I don’t think the Rock Star has ever picked it up. I was 8 or 9 or so when a girl whom I often played with loaned it to me, saying that it was “a book about Jesus.” I’ve never liked being told what a book was about before I read it and never really got into the series after reading the first one..

We ended up seeing it last night with The Girl, who’s back from drama school for holidays. We like seeing The Girl, because she’s the only person over here that we hang out with regularly that isn’t a complete headcase. She’s a refreshing presence in the EastEnder-character filled world of our acquaintances. At any rate, the three of us ended up sitting though Lewis’s best loved classic, now make flesh on celluloid. (Again.)

It’s been a VERY long time since I read the book. It’s also been a very long time since I was unfortunate enough to be the victim of the BBC mini-series, (Anyone who saw this, no matter how much they loved it, was ready to stab the girl playing Lucy in the head within the first 5 minutes of the first episode.) but the girl I used to play with was right. It is kind of about Jesus.

This isn’t really a problem unless you’re bothered by a pedantical fantasy romp, which I wasn’t. Lewis obviously meant the story and all of those that followed to be one long allegory, which undoubtedly must have chapped the ass of his humanist friend, Professor Tolkein. The film definitely didn’t skimp on the symbolism, although it can be congratulated for being a fairly faithful interpretation of the work. (What chaps my own PERSONAL ass is the fact that the upcoming film interpretation of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman has been stripped of ALL of its religious symbolism simply because it is anti-church. It’s all about the Christian Dollar.) Although I did find it strange of Lewis to introduce Santa Claus into the middle of the affair; not only that, but Santa brings the children things with which to stab the hell out of other living creatures with. When was the last time you found a 9 foot sword under YOUR tree?

The movie’s main selling point is its rather spectacular effects that integrated VERY seamlessly into the action of the film. Like the latest Harry Potter offering, you didn’t spend time going, “Oh nice effect,” but rather, “COOL! She’s got POLAR BEARS pulling her chariot!” Making a film in which 80% of the characters didn’t exist in real time must have taken some getting used to for the actual, living 20% of those involved in the film, but I have to admit, it was impressive. The acting itself was pretty much what you could expect from 4 child actors of various ages. The oldest, who played Peter, is obviously destined for many roles in his future as hustlers with faces like a Caravaggio painting. The adults also acquitted themselves fairly admirably; Tilda Swinton’s Witch was gloriously evil. James McAvoy didn’t quite get the fussbudget nature of Mr. Tumnus right, but spends the film shirtless, so can be forgiven for most things.

“Why did you tell me that thing about Jesus?” said the Girl, as we walked out, “that’s all I could think about.”