Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Tue 21st Mar, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Went to see this at the ANU Film Group tonight with Kate, Trevor (brother-in-law) and our two nieces Kira and Angela (Trevor's daughters, you see). Unfortunately they're still struggling with technology troubles - they had got an alternate print that had three large reels instead of half a dozen small ones, but because one projector is dead and awaiting its costly technician to wander Canberra-ward, they had to show one reel and then take a five minute break to unthread the old reel and thread the new. This was surprisingly bearable.

It's been a long long time since I read the book, and as far as I can recall the movie is surprisingly faithful to it. It's reasonably paced, doesn't do the 'gripping thrill a minute' thing that they obviously strive for in Harry Potter (which is a mercy), and nicely free from American accents. Interestingly, they start with a bombing raid over London to show both the times and the characters, before you get to the old mansion with its large number of hiding places. It's a nice touch.

The special effects are wonderful - a very few times I (being the picky sod that I am for effects) picked up something not quite right. But the ability to have all these creatures, big and small, hideous and beautiful, hairy and feathered and horned and grimy, appear so convincingly real; so many directors must be wishing they'd had this technology. I remember going to see Tron, and being blown away by those effects - these days they can render that in real time... Tron had its 20th anniversary not too long ago, either.

The only incongrous bit, to me, was the age of the characters versus the storyline. Put simply, I just don't think like a twelve-year-old any more. Even Harry Potter, despite sharing the common theme that any old person could suddenly turn out to be fated by prophecy to bring down the evil empire, has Harry not wanting the fame or fortunes. Maybe I'm being too harsh - certainly the film doesn't have Peter or Sarah saying "Oh, we're the children from the prophecy, let's go off and slay the evil queen, then!" The sight of a fifteen-year-old boy drawing a sword and leading the army just doesn't quite have that ring of believability to me any more. Sad, when these things die in us.

I will probably be corrected here, but I see it as a good sign that there are production companies willing to make books into films and not bugger the story with a forty-tonne pile-driver. I have this hope that someone will go to Terry Pratchett and say, "You know that book 'Thief Of Time' you wrote? We'd like to do it, exactly as you wrote it." Or 'Mort'; the famous 'lose the Death angle' book. Or even 'Good Omens', which would be a lot easier to do and has more talk about it than any other pTerry work. That or The Belgariad by David and Leigh Eddings. I live in hope.

Have fun, Paul

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