Following our usual pattern of catching big releases on a Sunday night to avoid the hordes of children and teenagers who might otherwise fill the theatre, we saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe this past weekend.
My expectations had been cautiously optimistic, but just as with the Lord of the Rings movies, this first viewing was almost entirely taken up with cautiously observing discrepancies with the books. That prevented any real assessment of the film in its own right, but I was impressed with the casting and performances of the children, and generally enjoyed it.
Laurence’s entry on the film got me thinking about it some more yesterday, and reminded me of perhaps the weakest aspect of the adaptation. While a number of changes were made for the better, the filmmakers seemed to rip much of the mythical aspect of the story out. Without the full scene in the Beavers’ house, the context in which the Narnians would give their lives for these children is never established, and the whole piece lacks motivation.
That chimes with Steven Greydanus’ excellent review, which operates not only as an assessment of the film, but also as a reminder of why the book works so well. Hopefully any adaptations of later films in the series will focus more on the integrity of the storytelling and less on appeasing the many interests competing for attention.