Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
I saw a midnight screening of Chronicles of Narnia. Oh mah God. I hope you brought your heckling shoes, `cause not since Fantastic Four have I seen a movie so earnest and winning and so very, very silly.
Dude. Fur is dead.
The story takes off at top warp first-twenty-minutes of Two Towers speed. I wept within the first five minutes. Everything was cruising along nicely until the older kids got to Narnia, and then the thudding started. Then, after a while, the fighting starts, and thudding is forgiven, although ongoing.
What thudding? They find a faun’s hobbit-hole ransacked in a magic land hidden in their wardrobe, and they want to call the police? Talking beavers want to enlist them in a war against an ancient evil, and Susan reminds us, “Mother sent us here to get us away from a war.” Ohhhh, ri-i-ight. Parallel. This is also the time of death of the Europe/Narnia war metaphor. But whatever.
The four Pevensie (pensieve?) kids are good, but they all have big giant eyes and wage a perpetual sensuous lip-off, so it can be hard to keep them straight: Peter, the oldest, looks like an English Leonardo DiCaprio and steals a covetous, foreshadowous look at a young soldier off to WWII. He gets a sword and is supposed to be in charge of everybody. I`ll call him Aragorn.
Susan, the next oldest, looks like my friend Beth Hall with a tidge of Labyrinth-era Jennifer Connelly puffy snottiness. You know she smart and bossy because she wears knee-length skirts and squints a lot. And she uses a bow. She can be Legolas.
Edmund, who looks like the kid from Fanny and Alexander, is moody and broody and shouty and gets stabbed through the shoulder on Weathertop. We`ll call him Ed.
Lucy, the littlest, is incredible to watch, carries the picture, and squinches her face up real cute when she cries and has hugelargemongous eyes like subantique Roman sculpture OMG art history!!!one!. She is Samwise. I guess the beavers are Gimli, because they get all the best lines.
What went wrong? Oh Narnia, land of endless day for night! You know when bad stuff is going down `cause everything gets real blue. Even when Aslan is sacrificed in roiling firelight, the girl kids watch from approximately one skillion miles away, in blue-ass forest, on a different shooting day, different call time, everything. This was jarring. Speaking of jarring, Cutty the Cut-dog was running the editing suite, because even the little sitting-room scenes were cut all out of control. Wide. Medium. Close-up. Close-up. Medium. Close-up. Use a two-shot, people! Could two kids not act at the same time?
They didn’t adjust Liam Neeson’s voice-overs to make them sound like they were coming from the location. Aslan’s on a hill talking to Peter, and Peter sounds like he’s on a hill, and Aslan sounds like he’s INSIDE YOUR BRAIN. Maybe being a Christ figure gives you hardcore Old Testament vocal presence. But it was weird.
Jesus! If Jesus had bloodstains, mange and dangling testicles
Speaking of God, whatever Christian allegory was supposed to be present was unintelligible. I think I would have liked the movie a lot more if I had either 1) read the Narnia series more recently, or 2) not been forming expectations of Aslan’s behavior based on WWJD. I read the Gospel of Matthew about the same time as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and liked it way better. So it really chaps my hide to see C. S. Lewis mess with Jesus, who, you know, was a *really* great character in the original. Aslan Jesus is less about compassion, humility, mercy and love, and more about prophecy, exposition, royal lineage and killing. So, um, that makes me think of Colin Powell, and that makes me sad.
Gawd, it smells like stupid in here
Plus, something about him makes me think of “Come and Pet the Pussy” from Fear of a Black Hat.
What else can I make fun of, as if I`ll ever ever be lucky enough to work on a fundamentally badass Weta movie?
- The production design was hot as hell. I really felt like I could be there, like in the White Queen’s sleigh or Mr. Tumnus` house. it was well-pitched, and dead on, and not too-too, but wouldn’t you know it — the cinematographer had to go and poop on all of it, because…
- …there was so much heavy cribbing from Lord of the Rings that I was waiting for a butterfly to announce Gwaihir the Griffin. The posse hides under a bridge, and it looks deadly like the hobbits hiding under the road from the Black Riders. They edge along a snowy mountain pass, and then Susan scampers up and says “there’s a fell voice on the air.” The girls go have a Magdalene mope while the boys kick ass. Fortunately, Tilda Swinton is riding around with two swords, a staff, and a Michael Stipe hair shirt to fill in the mopey girl gap. More on that in a minnit.
- Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) was hot. He had a foxy Lee Evans thing working, with soulful eyes and good timing. I see from IMDb he is a gymnast and acrobat and fire-eater and boxer and stuff, which is weird, because he really didn’t have that much of a body on him. But maybe if you’re Scottish you don’t need muscle to f*ck somebody up.
LaBeouf + Charles = McAvoy
The Minotaur looked like a Country Bear. Specifically, Big Al.
If Paul Bunyan hadn’t been a responsible pet owner
Tilda Swinton rewled the skewl. Any time she was on the screen, this became a better movie. You may remember her from such movies as Orlando, Broken Flowers and Constantine, and her character from slinky, deranged female archetypes such as evil queen from Return to Oz and Angelica Huston in Witches. She is 5`11″ and 45 years old, which I didn’t know, but what really surprises me is that no Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie took her already. Also, Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the White Queen but couldn’t take it. I want a world in which I can have Cate Blanchette or Tilda Swinton or Michelle Pfeiffer interchange roles at will, the same way I wish the Edward-Norton-as-Andy-Kaufman Man on the Moon and the David-Bowie-as-Elrond LOTR existed. Tilda Galadriel? Cate Catwoman? Bring it.
I eat your soul with androgynous hotness