Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Who? Ed! Ed, damn you! If a guy named Ed sees it and signs off on it, then it’s a done deal. If you can't trust Ed, then who can you trust? Ed’s everyman. Ed’s the average guy. And, like the headline says... Ed’s seen NARNIA:
I attended what we were told by the producer of the movie was the first ever public screening of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” last Saturday. Before the Narnia fanboys attack me, I’ve only read one of the books in the series (TLTWTW) so my perspective is probably different from yours.
When I saw the trailer for the movie months ago, I wasn’t really sold on the talking animals. Some of the effects looked TOO clean if that makes any sense. They just looked like elements that could be so silly and absurd in a movie that they expect grownups to actually watch. But the CGI works light years better in the finished product. You completely buy into the Narnia universe, mainly because of the fantastic Mr. Tumnus who really comes alive as a character and not just a hoofed cartoon. Also, the CGI work on his legs is amazing; I found myself almost distracted by it (somewhat disturbingly), trying to figure out how they did it. Another questionable element from the trailer, the Beavers, managed to be a pleasant surprise. They add some humor (not in the Gimli falling off the horse way though). Also, the CGI on them was very good too.
Originally I thought this movie would make it or break it based on the battle scene, and it is a super important scene in the film. The number of creatures is plain staggering, from Cyclops to Cheetahs to Minotaurs to Gryphons to…things I didn’t even know the names of. It was fun to just look through the crowd and try to pick out all the species. Bravo to the creature shop boys at WETA. One thing that didn’t really work for me was the arrival of Santa Claus in the middle of the story, which seems like Tom Bombadil in the Fellowship of the Ring book: a strange element that sort of feels out of place. With the Fellowship movie, they axed Tom; here, they keep Santa. As is, it’s as painless as an appearance by St. Nick can be in a movie like this, but it’s still a little awkward. I know I know fanboys, the story is about the 100 year winter with no Christmas, so they had to have Santa.
As for the child actors, they are all pretty fucking amazing, but the kid playing Edmund comes out the best. His character seemed like the toughest role as changes the most throughout the story, and the actor pulls it off well. You totally buy him as a greedy brat and a reformed loyal brother.
There’s a couple scenes added to the film that aren’t in the book. One is a fantastic battle with the wolves on a frozen waterfall that is among the most badass action sequences shot on film this year. I’ll say no more about that scene, other than that it added a lot to Peter’s journey towards using his sword, and made his transition from normal boy to swordsman much more believable and less abrupt. In fact, it was clear to see that most of the additions to the story had a solid purpose in adapting the story to film. I’m sure some people will still complain about the new material just because it wasn’t in the book, but I think it helps the story work as a movie.
Overall, it’s an excellent movie with some minor flaws which might even be touched up further before release I expect. The audience seemed to really dig it, so I expect we’ll see more Narnia movies in the future.