The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
It's been decades since I read C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." In the movie, the religious undercurrents are more annoying, the kids are less interesting, and frankly, I was just a little surprised to see a beaver in full body armor. Nostalgic childhood imagination, meet CGI postmodernism.
As the film opens, the Pevensie kids are separated from their mother during World War II and forced to live in a huge mansion with virtually no adult supervision. Most kids would not consider this a bad thing, but this film portrays it as suffering. Man, I wish I could have suffered like that. These kids are all basically brats who would have about as much chance surviving ten minutes in a snowy forest as Jessica Simpson would passing a MENSA exam.
Given her privileged upbringing, it's a wonder Lucy (Georgie Henley) doesn't start bawling like a vegan at Thanksgiving when she first goes through the wardrobe and finds herself in the snowy forest. She meets Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) for the first time and discovers the epic battle between the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) and, well, everybody else. It's a battle that will eventually engulf Lucy, her sister Susan (Anna Popplewell), and her brothers Peter (William Moseley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes).
As with suffering, the filmmakers don't have a very good concept of cold either. Not only would Lucy and her siblings be hypothermic within minutes in their new environment, but director Andrew ("Shrek") Adamson decides to have Mr. Tumnus go basically shirtless. Either the L.A. environs have gone completely to Adamson's head or he's coming out of the wardrobe just as the kids are going in.
But my favorite part was this: Father Christmas (James Cosmo) rides up on his sleigh, gives the kids a long speech about hope or some such thing, and then begins handing out the weapons. It's certainly practical given the situation, but not exactly in the holiday spirit. One gets visions of a naked Mrs. Claus bound and gagged in the North Pole somewhere. Or very skittish reindeer. Let's just say it's an uneasy holiday moment.
I think it's kind of freaky that this movie, "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" are so similar. Did Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling all smoke pot together in the '60s or something? Fine, I realize that Rowling would have been about 2-years-old back then, but somebody is copying off of somebody else's paper here: the reborn hero, white witches and wizards, epic battles between good and evil.
Folks, let's find some other themes. How 'bout it?
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