Movie Magic Monday: The Chronicles of Narnia

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read this series, though I know lots of people who had The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as required reading in school.  Not in mine, which is really a shame because I missed out on an amazing story. But, that’s what movie adaptations are for! *gets pelted by books and booklovers worldwide* Ok, ok. I love a good book as much as the next person, but come on- Jurassic Park?! Still amazingly awesome on screen, I don’t care how good the book is, it doesn’t match seeing that T-Rex for the first time in theatres.

Anyway, I digress. This post is going to talk a bit about both Narnia movies, so we’re doing a double whammy.

Throughout the first ten minutes or so of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I was worried I wouldn’t really like the movie. The characters all seemed a bit cutout and immature and I didn’t sympathize as much as I probably should have with them going off on their own and being victims of the war. This all quickly changed as they were taken to stay with the professor.

That’s when I feel their growth as characters really began. I took a liking to Susan because of her maternal nature and Peter’s although Peter’s acting was kind of dreadful, I understood that he was stepping into big shoes and didn’t quite know what to do with them. The one person I was confused about was Edmund. Initially he was so irritating and whiny that it bordered on comical. But that made his growth into a warrior that much more impressive. In truth, when the day was said and done, Edmund was the true hero in my eyes, more so than Peter, because he fought the greatest battle – a battle with his own mistakes and his own regrets. By the end I cheered him on with gusto.

One of the most magical and memorable scenes was when Lucy first stumbles onto Narnia and spends time with Mr. Tumnus. Visually it was spectacular. Actually, a lot of the movie had some really stellar special effects. The Queen, the Lion, they all really made Narnia come alive. And that not-so-innocent cup of tea with Mr. Tumnus (who I was heartbroken to discover wasn’t as harmless as he appeared to be) quickly became a favorite supporting character. His arc was short but fulfilling and I absolutely sympathized with his moral dilemma. Ok, I’ll admit – I fell in love with him (could it have been because it was James McAvoy? ha ha). The White Witch felt a bit over the top at times, but she portrayed the perfect kind of evil, praying on poor Edmund and his feelings.

The movie got progressively better and Lucy was a hopeful and positive heroine. Her innocence and faith were beautiful strengths and I felt they really captured the spirit of the people they were fighting for. And I’ll admit, I was surprised by the ending, when the four rode through the forest. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean. I truly didn’t expect it, which made it that much greater in my eyes. Overall, a fun movie that I’d give a solid: B+.

I found Prince Caspian much more action packed and much more adult. Not just because the children are older but because the magical world they left behind has changed drastically. Centuries later, their palace is in ruins and their friends are long gone. Narnia is not the thriving kingdom it once was, which lends a darker undertone to the film. And the story’s new plot is not so much based on magic and faith but delves deep into the complex political unrest of a neighboring nation.

Our four main characters almost feel like background players for a while, as we focus on Prince Caspian and the battle with his uncle for power. And that’s not even a bad thing. I was taken by his character immediately, and enjoyed watching him learn how far he would and should go for the sake of his kingdom. When he fights side by side with the remaining Narnians we see it as a real step forward for him, and we can already imagine that he would be a much more compassionate and fair ruler than his uncle. I also thought his little romance with Susan was a great and endearing addition to the story. All in all, this movie was more violent and intense but it hit all the right notes. Add in the fact that the train station scene is just pure movie magic, and I have to give this movie an: A.

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

3 responses to “Movie Magic Monday: The Chronicles of Narnia

  • Lisa

    Oh c’mon, Isabelle, you could read TLTW&TW in a day! Do you know how short these books are? 😛

    I love the first movie… and I love Peter and the kid who plays him, so I’ll hold that little comment against you. haha But they upped the antagonism between Peter & Edmund a LOT in the film, so I guess Peter does come off as a bit high-strung and demanding.

    Prince Caspian… is so, so, SO far off of the book. Which makes it more action-packed, but almost hard to take seriously if you’ve read the books. I do love the little romance between Susan and Caspian, though. Really I just have a big ole’ girl crush on the girl who plays Susan. Talk about gorgeous!

  • Cristin

    I never went to see the Narnia films, because I strongly dislike the books. I know, sacrilege! I just find the Christian allegory way too heavy-handed and, in places, downright offensive (like what happens to Susan at the end of the series, which I think is horrible). The books never seem to want to allow me to read them for their own sake, as an independent story, just as an extended metaphor for Jesus, and that annoys the hell out of me.

    (Also, Jurassic Park is, I believe, one of those rare instances where the movie far surpasses the book. And not just because you get the visuals, the STORY is better and fuller and more exciting. Rare to say that about a movie adaptation.)

    • Lisa

      Hi Cristin! I think the reason the allegory didn’t hit me as hard was because I first read most of the books when I was really young, so it just didn’t make sense to me, and I really was able to see them as just an ooh-pretty story. haha

      But I agree that Susan’s ending is just horrifying. And, I think, completely unwarranted, considering her “sin” is wanting to date boys. Sigh. I’d personally really love to see a novel that takes place from her POV after she’s lost her entire family in this terrible train wreck. I’d write it myself, if I knew more about the time period, maybe…

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