Last night I did something I seldom do anymore: I went to a movie. Now, in order to actually get to a movie theatre not only must I drive 35 minutes to get to the city, but then I have to battle the hoards of Christmas shoppers because of this ridiculous habit of putting oversized 16-screen theatres into malls. I mean, what are they thinking? That the average shopper will glance at their watch and say, "Hmm, lunch at the foodcourt or I could get a popcorn and watch a movie. And with all these bags from Sears and Reitmans and Chapters, it would be nice to sit down and rest my feet..."
So, I suppose it must boil down to something about convenience. Likely for that most insidious group of the population: parents.** Send the kids off to see a movie and go to the lower level of the mall for bowling. Or across the street to the adult bar. Or the theatre lobby for those kick-ass video games.
But getting back to the point, it's a fair drive. The parking sucks. Then, there's the ticket prices. Wow. For the price of two of us, I can wait six months and buy the dvd. And we aren't even talking about the absolutely crappy food for sale at outrageous prices. Personally, that recent box-office slump was cause to celebrate. It costs more to go to the average movie than it does to buy my nephew's birthday presents (and we do not cheap out on the birthday presents - X Box games and more) and I resent it when the Big-Name Actress is getting $20 mill for her part in the production at my expense.
Since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I can count on one hand the number of movies I've gone to see in the theatre. I can probably count on one hand the number of dvd's I've bought as well. If there's one thing Hollywood's really good at, it's producing predictable crap.
But the release of Narnia was an event that could not be missed. Since I was 7 years old, lying in bed one hot July with pneumonia, I've been entranced with Narnia. It all started with a (then) rare act of kindness by my older sister - she brought me home some library books. Man, way back then, we had to share a double bed. I used to kick her in the back while I did my nighttime gymnastics. Could explain the incidents with her holding a pillow over my head. Anyways...
I remember reading almost all of the Narnia books then, and I've always loved them. And I've always owned a complete set. The decision to make a movie had the same good/bad reaction for me that the news about LOTR did. Would it match up to the book? Or would I be disappointed.
Lord of the Rings was a fantastic achievement. In some ways, that made the forthcoming release of Narnia even more nerve-wracking, for there would be the inevitable comparisons. And how can you compare? LOTR was an adult series meant for an older audience. Narnia was written for children, but remains loved by adults. LOTR features adult actors. Narnia centers on four children.
If you haven't read the book and want to see the movie or don't want spoilers, don't read further.
The film is quite accurate. The essence of the book was in tact. One thing that might have been nice for those who didn't know, was an explanation about the wardrobe and who the professor is. But it's not necessary if you just accept the wardrobe as magic and leave it there.
And the beginning of the movie was great.
I thought they did a fabulous job with the battle. Of course, I wondered how they'd handle it, because Narnia is much more for children than LOTR was. But they didn't sugarcoat it. They also didn't overdue the violence, IMHO.
I felt the role of Edmund was played extremely well. Here's a talented young man who has a future in movies. Not that the others don't necessarily, but that role was vital. Susan, for example, could have been played poorly and it wouldn't have been as critical to the overall success. But if Edmund had been a flop, the whole movie would fall. And I thought he did a great job. I believed in him as the villain, and I believed in his change.
There was something disturbingly familiar about Tumnus. I must go check that actor's bio.
I haven't looked into it, but I do hope that Disney is going to do a few more of the books - oh, and please, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. That would be excellent.
And, if you're a sappy schmuck like me who cries easily, close your eyes if they show the preview for the story in the antarctic about the sled dogs. I'm getting all choked up just thinking about it. Damn, they need a guidance system for adverts like that - rated Tissue Necessity: Very High. That way you can get enough napkins when you're buying your overpriced popcorn.
** Seriously, it was nice to see so many families out for this movie.*** I actually overheard a father and son talking about reading the books on their way out of the theatre - music to my ears.
***And I'm sure it made Disney happy too.