In 1978 my college roomie talked me into reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I tried to tell her that I had never liked fantasy, that walking through the back wall of a closet and talking animals would not be my kind of a good story.
Everyday living barely holds its tenuous grasp on my mental status. Nancy Drew with the full set of clues was about as much energy as I wanted to spend on ‘pleasure’ reading.
But she loved the book soooo much, and she wanted to have someone to discuss its aspects.
I remember reading the book on a Friday evening and then Saturday, and it’s all she wanted to talk about over Sunday brunch. The idea that Aslan died and rose again, just like Jesus. The author had written a modern day parable! is what she said.
Yeah, yeah, I got that. She didn’t understand why I wanted to strangle the younger sister. Maybe because she didn’t have three of those at home the way it was at my house.
Other than that weekend, I never gave much thought to the Chronicles of Narnia. I certainly never read any of the other books, although I remember Lucas having a boxed set he found at the used books store, and he might have tried to start conversations with his dad, who has never read them.
Now, a movie is a different kind of entertainment. Husband and I found ourselves in the middle of Christmas break and getting a bit bored with chores and blog-reading. According to the schedule printed in the paper, we were just 15 minutes from the start time of Narnia, and allowing for all the trailers at the beginning, we figured we could make it.
And speaking of movie trailers, there’s one for Glory Road starring Josh Lucas as a basketball coach which looks very promising. And the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp, which means I will probably have to rent the first one beforehand.
Anyway, Narnia begins well enough, with the children being sent out of London to a huge castle in the countryside, hopefully far away from the bombs of WWII. The woman driving the cart that fetches them from the train platform is no nice Mary Poppins of a nanny. I wonder how she manages to hold her job, what with such a sour disposition.
Through a game of hide-n-seek in the huge castle, the little sister finds the magical wardrobe and goes walking through the snow and finds a new “friend”. Every mother and teacher’s nightmare, this. A single little child wandering off in strange surroundings, and then the fellow takes her to his living quarters, locks the door behind them, hides the key, gives the child drugs in her tea, hypnotic music.
Oh, yes, we most definitely want young eyes to see why this is bad, bad, very bad.
However, this is a Disney movie. Our half human creature has a change of heart, begins crying that he even had such evil thoughts as to turn Lucy over to the Ice Queen, and helps her to find her way back to the portal of the wardrobe. This good deed gets greatly punished because he later gets turned to stone by the White Witch.
The girl goes back and tells her sibs all about the land of snow that is Narnia. One brother denies her story, yet later goes there himself.
I can’t help myself here. I have never connected to fantasy and magic happenings. I can relate somewhat to science fiction, and I believe real life has a kind of magic so that when I turn the dial, the gas oven kicks on and I can bake muffins.
But to have the witch drop a bit of liquid onto the snow and have it turn into yummy dessert to persuade a boy to be her accomplice is just beyond my mindset. Reading about such things just makes me shrug. I can understand how the elf snatches up a couple delicacies to enjoy because this mistress doesn’t often give out treats.
This should have been the boy’s first clue.
To have it done in a movie is a great help. The special effects are beautiful. One can believe that the fire has dancers, and beavers can talk, the Phoenix and the Griffin and other characters of fables come to life in such a way that words are inadequate.
But in the movie, the human children are not acting like humans. They get dunked in freezing water of a raging river, yet don’t shiver. The river! I just thought of it, but the river has been frozen solid for years, yet as soon as the first of the ice cracks and breaks away, all of a sudden we have rapids. I remember my years of living in the mountains of Tennessee that the swift-flowing rivers didn’t freeze over solid enough to skate on.
And the sword! I have held a battle-ready, sharpened sword in my hands, and let me tell you, a person best not grab it by the business end or there will be a need for stitches. The movie sword gets used as the mast of the ice floe cum lifeboat for all four of the youngsters, yet there ain’t a drop of blood anywheres.
This was truly a magic land of Narnia.
My next tsk-tsk came towards the end where the four siblings have been living as royalty and growing older happily in the land of Narnia. Being the only humans, there is no one for them to marry, so they are content being brothers and sisters gadding about the countryside on their aging, talking horses.
Then comes the time for them to return through the back door of the wardrobe, and they find themselves all young again, and the professor of the castle acting all accepting and accommodating. Uh Huh.
This is easily recognized by any human as the wish to go back to the energy and enthusiasm of youth with the experience and wisdom of age.
Even as a child I could not set aside enough of the physical world to wrap my mind around magical tricks. But I now have my grown-up understanding of movie special effects, and I really think the book is grateful there are people who have imaginations who can bring the characters to life.
I know I find the land of Narnia much more palatable onscreen rather than print paper.
I don’t think I would be wanting to chaperone a child under the age of 9 or 10 to the movie. It would depend on the maturity and ability to be skeptical. In our row, there was a kid of about age 6 who asked to be taken to the hallway during the scary parts.
I can say that it was real nice to have a movie and dinner at the all-you-can-eat-buffet with my husband. But the prices! Movie matinee entry fee $11. Popcorn and drinks $11.29. Supper $21.21. It adds up to more than $40.
I don’t know how teenagers can have a decent date in these times. No wonder school grades are slipping, they need to have jobs to support the social fun.
If you read all the way to here at the bottom, you must be either bored during a week between the holidays, or a devoted fan.
Either way, thanks for coming by.
~~love and Huggs, Diane
Here’s a link to Husband’s review and then he has a few good links from his.
Decrepit Old Fool