How close is close enough? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Posted:
in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
I did a search, and it seems apparent that Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia aren't exactly hot subjects here, but here I go.



Let me begin by saying I read the entire series in a weekend when I was about 11 years old. I wouldn't dare to say I like it better than Lord of the Rings, because it's like comparing apples to oranges. I love them both.



So I went to the opening of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Thursday with some trepidation. Needless to say, there are some significant deviations from the book, particularly a high tension chase from wolves that culminates in a hair raising escape on a chunk of ice down a thawing river. Nothing like that in the book.



As a movie on it's own, its really good, but the book is still better.



Why can't Hollywood make a movie that is really (really) true to the book--and in the end, does it matter? Is this movie "close enough"?
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    justinjustin Posts: 403member
    Although I love the sci-fi genre in literature, I've still not seen any of Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.



    CS Lewis was one of those writers who I never gelled with either; I'm sure he had something interesting to say, although GK Chesterton always seemed to have more epiphany moments in childrens literature than CS.



    I endured the 'Shadowlands' remake film of CS Lewis' life one year, and the rigor mortis still grips me when I think about it. Peter Hoeg's 'Miss Smilla's feeling for snow' was a similar disaster remake; as was Cormac McCarthy's 'All the Pretty Horses'. I loved the novels but couldn't get into the books. There are other examples, although I can't say I hold out much hope for the Chronicles of Narnia if its made in Hollywood.



    Virtually everything I watch nowadays comes out of obscure art houses in Europe or elsewhere.



    All I need then is a little munchkin to bring to see the Chronicles of Narnia to make me feel better about going to see it if I'm sober...
  • Reply 2 of 79
    What? Are you trying to say that if you created a new fancy CGI effect, you wouldn't want to show it off even though it really didn't fit into the original story? In America land of freedom, because you have that god given right, it means you have to exercise it, and artistic freedom makes difference.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fangorn

    I did a search, and it seems apparent that Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia aren't exactly hot subjects here, but here I go.



    Let me begin by saying I read the entire series in a weekend when I was about 11 years old. I wouldn't dare to say I like it better than Lord of the Rings, because it's like comparing apples to oranges. I love them both.



    So I went to the opening of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Thursday with some trepidation. Needless to say, there are some significant deviations from the book, particularly a high tension chase from wolves that culminates in a hair raising escape on a chunk of ice down a thawing river. Nothing like that in the book.



    As a movie on it's own, its really good, but the book is still better.



    Why can't Hollywood make a movie that is really (really) true to the book--and in the end, does it matter? Is this movie "close enough"?




    I am just starting to read the book right now, and the beginning of the story is way different from the movie trailer.

    Typical Disney aseptisation
  • Reply 4 of 79
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    I liked the books. They are pretty good fantasy stuff. Lewis is a marvelous writer.



    However, the movie is garbage. It gets a pass because it's a children's movie based off a very popular children's series, but it is terrible. I think its good reviews are based on nothing more than the film's association with a far superior film series; The Lord of the Rings.





    "Hey guys look at me swing this sword! You'll totally believe I'm a bad-ass warrior instead of an irritating poser!"



    What's amazing is that the filmmakers took talking lions, wolves, a supremely evil witch and made a boring movie. The chase scene discussed earlier in the thread is irritating and anticlimactic. The whole film is anticlimactic, it is a bunch of nothing that leads to nothing.



    There is no character development. Aslan is nothing more than a talking lion that everyone seems to respect/fear for some reason. They do nothing to make him feel or look majestic.





    See how good he looks in this picture? His movement is like gelatin covered in fur.



    The kids are atrocious. Child actors are rarely good, but these kids are abysmal. The only interesting one is Edmund, who you hate, perhaps even more after he is redeemed.





    If you don't want these kids to die just looking at the picture, you sure will after you watch this scene!



    The moral lessons of the film are what disturbed me most.

    - Run away with strangers.

    - Fighting solves your problems. If you fail, you redeem yourself with violence.

    - You deserve to be king no matter what you do.





    Hey little girls... run away with half-naked men!



    I left the theater baffled at what I just witnessed. It had to be one of the laziest screen adaptations from any book ever.



    After the movie I saw that 4 different screenwriters kludged this together. You feel it. Absolute hack-work.



    What I liked about it:

    - The White Witch was awesome. She was evil and hardcore and extremely alluring as a character. Tilda Swinton stole this film (not that there was much to steal).

    - Narnia itself is kind of pretty. Not spectacular or memorable, just kind of pretty.





    "Do I have to carry this entire film MYSELF!?"



    That's the entire list.



    This movie sucked and the people who wasted this opportunity should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Thanks Groverat : you totally convice me to avoid this movie.
  • Reply 6 of 79
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    Thanks Groverat : you totally convice me to avoid this movie.



    Kids will like it. But the bad moral lessons I mentioned might make one wary from a parental standpoint.



    But I doubt a viewing or two would turn well-raised children into little psychotics.
  • Reply 7 of 79
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    JR Tolkien and CS Lewis were friends - Tolkien converted CS lewis to Christianity.



    And Tolkien hated the book.



    http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...657756,00.html
  • Reply 8 of 79
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by e1618978

    JR Tolkien and CS Lewis were friends - Tolkien converted CS lewis to Christianity.



    And Tolkien hated the book.



    http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...657756,00.html




    Tolkien didn't have much use for allegory.



    I would be skeptical watching anything that came from the director of Shrek, and the Disney company -- a match made in integrity hell. Read the books, especially the last one in the series.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    There is no real purpose in calling for people to read the books. They are pretty good fantasy, and there is a lot of wonderful fantasy out there.



    If it's about converting people to Christianity, choose some Lewis work that isn't boring and mediocre, send them a copy of Mere Christianity.
  • Reply 10 of 79
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    There is no real purpose in calling for people to read the books. They are pretty good fantasy, and there is a lot of wonderful fantasy out there.



    If it's about converting people to Christianity, choose some Lewis work that isn't boring and mediocre, send them a copy of Mere Christianity.




    I think you meant to type Abolition of Man or The Four Loves. My point was that the last book in the Narnia series has a theme of universal salvation that is pretty interesting -- particularly coming from Lewis.



    Don't forget -- the average reading level of your 'typical' evangelical aside -- these were children's books; my 11-year-old daughter is on the last book in the series, and my 9-year-old is on the fourth.
  • Reply 11 of 79
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.

    Quote:

    It is possible to extract from the Narnia stories a system of theology very like the Christian. Thus the theological content of The Magician?s Nephew is the story of the creation. Aslan sings it into being. The temptation in the Garden of Eden and the Fall are there. In the story he wrote next we have death, judgment, Hell, and Heaven. But the author almost certainly did not want his readers to notice the resemblance of the Narnian theology to the Christian story. His idea, as he once explained to me, was to make it easier for children to accept Christianity when they met it later in life. He hoped that they would be vaguely reminded of the somewhat similar stories that they had read and enjoyed years before. ?I am aiming at a sort of pre-baptism of the child?s imagination.?



  • Reply 12 of 79
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.



    I thought that it was commonly understood that the Narnia series was something along the lines of "Christian myth". Each book has at least one very stong thread that deals with redemption, repentance, etc.



    I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love -- it would have secured it an automatic trip to the Oscars, but, C'est la Vie
  • Reply 13 of 79
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dmz

    I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love -- it would have secured it an automatic trip to the Oscars, but, C'est la Vie



    Yep. The only reason people didn't like the movie is because they hate Jesus.



    Your social commentary is gripping!
  • Reply 14 of 79
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    Yep. The only reason people didn't like the movie is because they hate Jesus.



    Your social commentary is gripping!




    laugh, dammit
  • Reply 15 of 79
    justinjustin Posts: 403member
    Quote:

    If you don't want these kids to die just looking at the picture, you sure will after you watch this scene!



    Wow! That's a very strong reaction! Very identified with the wicked witch are we?





    Quote:

    I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love --



    Wow. That's some fantasy. You know it's too good to be true. *snigger*



    Quote:

    According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.



    I wonder if the article is overtly simplistic. Authorial intent rarely ever gets kudos in any analysis of literature. It would of course,only be appropriate for partisans in society to seize on literature for their own needs (and gain).

  • Reply 16 of 79
    I think the words "unduly hostile" come to mind, Groverat.



    My original question had little, if anything, to do with the quality of the movie. In fact, my question could be answered without any direct reference to LWW; it just happens to be the catalyst for the question. Obviously in your case, accuracy with the original text is not an issue. You wouldn't like it if it was. So why muddy the waters?



    What about Little Women, or a River Runs Through It, or a plethora of other books made into movies, all inferior to the original book?



    Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?
  • Reply 17 of 79
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Trainspotting. The movie was better than the book, but I say that mainly because I had an impossible time understanding Irvine Welsh.
  • Reply 18 of 79
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fangorn

    Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?



    Blade runner: directors cut?
  • Reply 19 of 79
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    I have to agree. 2X
  • Reply 20 of 79
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fangorn

    Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?



    Not really, but it's not a fair fight. A typical book is probably 10 times longer than a movie. And even if they were the same length, the visual medium is just so much dumber than the verbal.
Sign In or Register to comment.