I take one last dig at Narnia

I’ve contributed a blurb on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to the Matthews House Project:

Like a zombie version of the classic children’s tale, Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe goes through the motions of C.S. Lewis’s story but drains it of its spirit. A few moments work fairly well (Lucy’s first meeting with Mr Tumnus among them), but the characterization of Aslan and the White Witch is all wrong, and at times conveys an impression exactly opposite to what Lewis intended (here, instead of Good being superior to Evil and fully in control, it is on equal footing and, at times, even a tad inferior; notice how it is Aslan, and not the Witch, who loses his temper at their first meeting). These thematic problems are aggravated, on a cinematic level, by Shrek veteran Adamson’s fitful efforts to make the transition from animation to live-action; at times it seems he is awkwardly imitating Jackson, Spielberg and other filmmakers rather than bringing his own vision to the table.

With any luck, this will be the last thing I say about this film for a while — there are lots of other items on my plate right now.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://larameekidd.com/ Josh

    I have to say, before I saw the movie this week, my expectations were significantly lowered by Jeffrey Overstreet’s review (even though it was very positive, it seemed to focus on the negative aspects of the film) and some of the things I had been reading on other Christian blogs. Maybe I should be thanking you guys because I was pleasantly surprised by the movie.

    I also don’t think that it’s a problem that Aslan and the White Witch appear to be on more or less equal footing early in the film, because it’s clear at the end who is superior. If this is a change that Adamson has made to Lewis, then he’s improved the story and, in fact, made it more Christian. Showing that the greater power comes in the seemingly weaker packaging.