Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Movie, the Director, and the Hubris

In our latest family non-traditional tradition that started with LoTR The Fellowship of the Ring, our Christmas Eve movie this year was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I was pretty eager to see it; my brother turned me on to the series when I was twelve and I devoured them, and then read them a couple of times more over the years. I had stayed away from earlier versions, figuring there was no way they could live up to my expectations. But with current CGI capabilities I figured, as with LoTR, the technology had finally caught up with the way the story should be told.

But I was disappointed. The first part of the movie was fine, if a bit slow-moving. There were several scenes that were expanded from the book that added very little to the story, and not enough attention was given to character development, which to a certain extent is what the book is about. The young lady who plays Lucy did an excellent job, as did the actors who played Peter and Edmund. But I was underwhelmed with the performance of the actor who played Susan. Granted, it's the toughest of the four roles--it would be hard to get that proper mix of adolescent awkwardness with downright unpleasantness, but too much of the time (at least for me) unpleasantness won out. But I think that's more the fault of the director than of the actor.

The lead-in to the battle was also too long, and there were too many unnecessary moments with the animated characters. It was like they were so impressed with what they could do that they wanted to show it all off, rather than using what would move the story forward.

And that's the impression I had of the whole film. While I had some problems with LoTR, especially the end, it was clear within the film itself that Jackson was passionately committed to staying true to the story. With LW&W, I had the feeling that the director was more in love with the movie he was making than in the story he was supposed to be telling.

With all of that said, I'm glad I saw it, and I would probably recommend it. It definitely had its moments and it's visually stunning. But I would give lots of qualifications to my recommendation.

And if you haven't read the series, you should try to read at least LW&W before you see the movie. The main thing I brought away from the movie was a desire to re-read the series.

On the way home from the movie we started talking about Turkish Delight. Ever since I read the book I've wondered what it was, and if it wasn't chocolate (which it didn't seem to be), how good could it be that it would cause Edmund to betray his siblings? Pete mentioned that the Phoenicia Bakery here in Austin sells it. So on the way home from Soccer Tuesday afternoon, he stopped and bought some:
No at all what I imagined. And definitely not chocolate:

The inside is really sticky--it stuck to the knife so much I thought I wasn't ever going to get it off. And it has the consistency somewhere between jujubees and jellybeans. That's powdered sugar on the outside.

All in all, not something I'd go out of my way for, let alone give up my sibs to the Winter Witch.

2 comments:

misreall said...

I have gotten Turkish delight at our friend Fox and Obels. The rosewater flavored ones are the best and aren't that sticky.
But still, not good enough to sell out Jesus for.
That would take Red Hen Chocolate Bread.

lawdwarren said...

that movie was horrible! u should NOT recommend it, with or without qualifiers.

and for a pig foot and a bottle of beer, i'd sell out my sibs!

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