Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday Movie Review (quite early)
I guess this was about Christian faith and symbolism and test after test perhaps by the long absent magical lion Aslan. There was some OK swordplay. The one on one fight in front of Aslan's 'tomb' was actually pretty well staged. More on that below.
There were no charming talking animals, with the possible exception of rat sized mouse Reepicheep (voiced well by Eddie Izzard). This is mainly a war movie set in a mythical land in no historical time. That's a problem for our sympathies. We don't have a lot for anyone, particularly the title character, who seems much older than the character in the book, there a mere slip of a lad.
I have to admit that I liked the endlessly repeating trebuchets. Very nice, but they seemed to do almost no damage. The Telmarines also seem to lack any long range weapon but cross bows of varying sizes. You never saw them reload, which is the crossbow's greatest drawback, if that's the right word. Compare that to the rapid fire Susan (of the good body--see above) is able to achieve with her short long bow. The Telmarines' cavalry was pretty weak too. The purposefully stomping, Roman type shield carrying infantry seemed the bulk of the army, so of course they hardly fought at all.
The director is Kiwi Andrew Anderson, who did the Shrek movies (produced the third rather than direct) and the first Narnia chronicle. He does a good job here, but it seems that the fighting completely overwhelms all the interpersonal action. It's a long movie too which might drag a little here and there.
I had the good fortune not to have read the Narnia books when I was young (I did read most of the Out of the Silent Planet trilogy back then--always a sucker for sci fi). But I did read them recently and this is not one of the good ones. The movie might be better than the book. They added some stuff too, like bringing back the white witch (merely suggested in the book), and the unsuccessful raid on the huge castle. The ending seemed different too, and the opening part, the escape, was much better in the book.
The new companion was a very cynical, but ultimately loyal dwarf named Trumpkin (so cute!) I couldn't tell who played him but it was Peter Dinklage, who was so great in The Station Agent. He nailed the role, but since he is a dwarf, it might not have been too big a stretch for him, if that's the right phrase. On the bright side, too, is the fact that during the sword fights, which were generally clumsy wild swinging things, I didn't feel the need to yell out "Stab him" every time an opponent swung too far ever to recover for a parry. I do that constantly during the 'sword' fights in the ever decreasing in impact Star Wars movies. So it had that going for it.
Doesn't anyone fence or take Kendo out there in Hollywood?