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The Chronicles of Narnia

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Some of the footage I've seen come out of this looks absolutely amazing. I'm totally flabberghasted, I never thought they'd turn the Narnia books into proper movies. Ever.

Can't wait to more of this.

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quote:

Originally posted by Scrivener:

Some of the footage I've seen come out of this looks absolutely amazing. I'm totally flabberghasted, I never thought they'd turn the Narnia books into proper movies. Ever.

Can't wait to more of this.

I think this is in part due to the success of LOTR. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more fantasy novels turned into movies (as long as they are done right).

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The Chronicles of Narnia are one of my all time favorites. You know the other one I would like to see? The Chronicles of Amber. That would be soooo cool.

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Yeah, I've been following the site off and on ever since I saw this thread, my wife and I are both big fans of the series and are really looking forward to this one.

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It's not going to be out here until the 5th of January, and despite the fact that the studio we often work for is doing the Czech dubbed version of it, someone else got the translation job, grr.:

We'll just have to wait and enjoy this when it arrives.

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So I just got back from a showing tonight... and as much as I really wanted to like this... I can't. It's not just the stupid kids laughing at things that arent funny, or the people two rows back narrating the entire goddamn movie... it's a pretty sizeable stack of little things.

For starters, the guys at WETA are makeup gods. This is undebatable. It does not seem, however, as if they had enough time to finish rendering all the CG - as it is VERY inconsistent. One shot might look fantastic - almost indistinguishable from reality... then the next will be terrible. The beavers, for instance, seemed like they needed a bit more work and there's several scenes involving water that had me cringing.

The kid actors all did smashing bloody marvelous jobs, the girl playing Lucy in this could steal a lot of work from the grossly overrated Dakota Fanning. Tilda Swinton drove me frigging nuts as the witch, however... but maybe a large part of that could be blamed on her absolutely horrendous costumes (god they were TERRIBLE).

And that brings me to this - the movie was an editing nightmare. In order to achieve the PG rating they were aiming for, they pulled quite a hack job on the footage. Worse, I was able to call every alternate shot before they got there. This was really G level material (cartoon violence) and the idea that they actually had to edit it down from a PG13 is absurd.

Dunno. I tried to compare it to Lemony Snicket in my head (in terms of raw quality and professionalism) but that was just plain better than this. Not to mention half of the final battle scene takes place in Rohan (yes, the very same locations you saw in LOTR:TTT)... and there's another scene that's a dead ringer for when Frodo and gang were hiding under a tree from the ringwraith. Now don't start giving me the "they're all fantasys and you cant make that comparison" hullabaloo, the shots bordered on plaigerism. They should have seen that beforehand and modified the scene (I can think of at least three ways right off the top of my head).

There were also some pretty neat (and frightening) "evil" creatures in there... but they only seemed to show up for the brief sacrifice bit. This was another bit also sacrificed (no pun intended) for the lower rating... very limited screentime for the scary critters. "Scary looking" should NEVER result in a higher rating as it has nothing to do with content, but nevertheless, the hypocrites at the MPAA do just that every day. For heavens sakes The Dark Crystal was 100% scary monsters just like this, and it's PG. *sigh*

Could have been good, but feels slightly unfinished, chopped up, censored, with some bad wardrobe. You're kids might get a kick out of it but this isn't winning any awards and dosn't even begin to live up to the bar set by other recent fantasys (Lemony Snicket, LOTR).

6/10

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LOL, Scriv, you kill me man. If there was ever a movie that was intended for kids, it was this one. If there was ever a movie that could pass on the gore and blue language (as Lewis himself unfailingly did) that you seem to treasure so much, it's this one.

Nothing against Scriv personally, but I'm going to offer a general observation on Scriv's reviews of late (since I've only lately paid attention): I think the problem is not that he sees where people actually did edit things down to a lesser degree of violence (although in some cases, perhaps so), but that more often (and especially in the case of Narnia) he sees places where the filmmakers COULD have turned it up and didn't. Apparently for Scriv, choosing to NOT show that degree of sex or gore is not an artistic decision, but some form of capitulation to the ratings gods. I won't argue that in some (who knows, perhaps even most?) cases this may be true, but Narnia was executive produced by Christians and Disney, both of whom are known for gentler depictions of violence; and the source material itself does not include the sorts of violence that Scriv seems to think the filmmakers were cowed into cutting. In other words Scriv, some people show less because they don't think we or the film wants, needs, or benefits from showing more.

On to the rest. I'm not going to take issue with the editing and technical details, but I didn't feel like anything was remarkable enough to take me out of the story.

Tilda Swinton was EXACTLY what she should have been as the witch. Ethereal, beautiful, cold, and deadly. I think she nailed that role the way Ian McKellen nailed Gandalf. I was also pleased to see Deep Roy (the Oompa Loompa from the recent Willy Wonka movie) show up as the evil dwarf serving the witch. James McAvoy was an excellent Tumnus, and I genuinely got to liking him more on film than I did in the book.

Overall, I felt the scenes that were important to the book were present in the movie, and they did an excellent job with the core ideas, much as the Tolkien films did.

9/10

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So basically you think that I'm jumping at shadows? There was an interview with Andrew Adamson on TV yesterday (and also the kids from the movie) where they discussed how they had to get "creative with the editing" to bring the rating down. This is despite precautions they took during filming to keep the footage PG (arrows can go in, but cant come out the other side, for instance). IMO, it's even more absurd since even if the movie had been presented as intended, it still should have been PG (same goes for the latest Potter movie). I doubt they filmed a single thing that would justly qualify as PG-13 material... and it still had to be cut. Interesting.

My problems with the movie are primarily more technical, however. I am very glad they retained the Christian themes (despite uproar from idiots who only complain when Christianity is the issue) - but it nevertheless does not excuse a movie of inconsistent quality. In this regard, I feel the blame lies solely on the shoulders of director Andrew Adamson. WETA did great, the actors were all very good, the script was decent, the costumes magnificent (except for the witches' absurd bucket-top dresses, which would have been forgivable if they hadn't ALL looked like that), the music was very appropriate, the CG was everything from bad to great, and the editing and compositing work was COMPLETE RUBBISH. Unfortunately the best footage in the world can be ruined with poor editing, and here that is exactly what happened... and that, in large part, is because of the struggle with the MPAA over the films rating. The solution, of course, is not get paranoid over a movies rating and just release it the way you originally intended.

It's okay for the kids to read the book, but god forbid they see an accurate movie version!

I doubt we'll a PG13 extended edition on DVD but if we do I'll give it another chance. In the meantime, however, I can't recommend it due to the plethora of distractions. I will reitterate that kids aren't so picky, but I am. Nothing makes me more angry and annoyed than something not done properly or not to it's full potential. Narnia just needed more time to smooth over the rough edges and to cut the movie the way it was originally intended, ratings board be damned. On top of that, maybe they needed more time (lord knows I didn't care for the theatrical releases of the LOTR movies, but loved the EEs on DVD).

We'll see what happens on DVD. Besides, I didn't hate the movie... I still gave it a 6/10, which my friends insist would be an 8 or 9 for anyone else. Nevertheless, it could have been much much better than it was.

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Guest $iLk

I enjoyed it, my kids enjoyed it. The missing gore isn't really an issue for me. With it not being there it makes for a movie my kids can watch without me worrying too much over it.

9/10 - very evenly paced, no real 'downtime' in terms of things needing cutting.

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I didn't read the books, and as such, am not a fan. So I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I saw it. I thought this movie was godawful bad. The witch is your stereotypical evil lady, the kids were annoying (Let's all giggle for no apparent reason!), and the plot? Where shall I begin?

*spoilers*

Okay, so the kids are going to be kings/queens because of "The Prophecy"? Hmm...that's a ripoff of...oh I dunno, every story ever? Lame. And then the lion guy dies and comes back to life because of some utterly random unexplained bullshit they pulled out of the hat? He basically just gets up and says "lol the witch is such a noob." WTF?! The two girls do absolutely nothing in the movie, and the two boys who can barely hold a sword in the beginning are suddenly master combat swordsmen in the end battle with no training whatsoever.

*spoilers*

I could continute to cut the story to ribbons, but I'm going to stop there on account of not being a nit-picker. So yeah, I give this movie a -50/10.

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It would have helped if you had read the books. Expository back-story elements always come across much better in print. Not to mention help explain stuff in the movie (which usually means the movie should have done a better job in that respect).

As for how Aslan came back, I thought the movie's handling of that left a bit to be desired (for one, Aslan's explanation in the movie was slightly but IMO critcally different than in the book). Admittedly, the book's handling of that is very brief itself but at least seems to make sense in the context of the larger Narnian universe.

And no, the girls really didn't have that big of an "active" role even in the book, particularly Susan. IMO I think they were used more as a foil for other characters, and also to provide a human perspective when there otherwise would be none. Yet I think the book would have needed a lot of rejigging for the story to work without them, and an entire allegorical theme would probably be lost.

I really liked the movie. I thought it was very faithful to the original story, with a few small deviations. My biggest gripe was there weren't enough talking animals. Narnia was given to the Talking Beasts as a kingdom. Instead we see a lot of mythological creatures (centaurs, fauns, etc) but not enough talking animals.

8/10

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Guest malbore

I have the movie! And even read the book about the chronicles of NARNIA, it was something really interesting and I will recommend!

Also it was pretty obvious the comparison of the story in the book than on the movie it self I think it's normal to change some settings and characters behavior and cut/add some.

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My opinion on the movie: Was a great movie in my view and followed the story well through the book. It was quite an improvement over previous attempts at the movie which were not even worthy of recognition. The battle scene at the end was amazingly well done seeing as the battle in the book wasnt so spectacular they really did it well. Unfortunately though, there were many times in the movie that seemed kind of phony and they rushed through the story so fast there was hardly any time to see changes in characters. Example: One moment Peter is wielding a sword for the first time and then he is already using it three minutes later against wolves. Twenty minutes further in he is hot in the middle of combat slaughtering hundreds of evil combat veterans. I think they tried to hard to make the kids look like magnificent heros. I still have the dumb scene of Lucy at the end with her bow in hand shoot the dwarf (Just to show the world that she too is a dramatic hero) in what I consider to be the worst moment in the movie. you see this several times through in the movie at different times. While the movie, in all, wasn't bad, it seems to lack the development and quality of what we saw in the Lord of the Rings (best movies of all time). Still I hope they can continue to do well in the upcoming adventures in the Narnia series.

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They got 6 more stories to go if they do them all: one prequel, one that fits in between the last five minutes of this movie and its end, and then 4 sequels. That's a lot of movies to make...

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The trailer for Prince Caspian is out, and looks awesome

Wait a sec... I know the plot of that one pretty well (I remember reading all the Narnia books). I'm not sure I remember some of those scenes. Particularly the opening. I thought I was watching "The Last Battle".

Looks awesome, but they better not have totally screwed up the book. They did an excellent job on the first movie, but that trailer had me wondering when it started.

EDIT: well paint me green and call me Gumby, I totally forgot about Prince Caspian starting out that way. I'm getting that confused with Last Battle and Voyage of Dawn Treader. Looks like maybe sometime I ought to reread those books before I post stupid comments again :)

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Saw this the other day, and I'm quite looking forward to it too.

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