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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

This review may contain possible spoilers. You have been warned!!!!

About a week ago, the wife and I went to see this movie. I had very high expectations and hopes for this one. I read the book series several times as a child, and prayed that they didn't butcher the story in this movie. Was I disappointed? Well, let's see....

The story is based around four children living in the Europe/Great Britain area during the World War II era. Their father is off at war, and their mother does not want them to live in a warzone. At that time, families in non-war affected areas were allowing children to come live with them to escape the battle. And so, the children's mother takes advantage of this, sending them off to live with an estranged professor.

When they arrive at the professor's house, they decide to play a rousing game of hide-n-seek. The youngest daughter decides to hide in a massive wardrobe. (BTW, the children are as follows: older brother, older sister, younger brother, younger sister.) As she moves towards the back of the wardrobe, she is no longer in a wooden, coat-filled box. Rather, she finds herself in a snowy forest, which of course is Narnia. She tells her siblings, they don't believe her, and then eventually they all enter Narnia.

In Narnia, it would seem that there is some internal turmoil. The White Witch is claiming ownership over Narnia, while the true King, "Aslan", is away. The White Witch "seduces" the younger brother, who tells her where the other three children can be found. Apparently, there is some prophecy involving the return of Aslan and the appearance of four humans. For some reason, this prophecy's fulfillment will spell the end for the Witch. After a rather hairy journey, the three children meet with Aslan, while the fourth is being held captive by the Witch.

To make a 2.5 hour long story short, the children eventually are reunited, and join Aslan and his army to take on the Witch and her forces. A great battle ensues, but not before Aslan chooses to lay down his life in return for the safety of the traitor brother. The battle is looking grim for the good guys, until Aslan returns from the dead to save the day. All the children survive, and Witch dies, and everyone is happy.

*WHEW* Ok, now that you have some background, let's dissect this baby. First off, the settings and characters were incredible. Totally immersive. You really get a feel for the urgency of the prophecy. However, there is not much background given about said prophecy. No explanation as to where it came from, why it exists, and how the situation got so grim in the first place. This really annoyed me. There were several unanswered questions, and not the kind that are left unanswered on purpose in lieu of a sequel.

Another odd part for me was the sacrifice of Aslan. This whole section of the movie was an obvious retelling of Jesus' crucifixtion and resurrection. Not that it is a bad thing; I am a Christian, and could appreciate the symbolism. However, it was so blatant that it became a tad annoying. Allow me to explain. (The movie parts will be in regular font, and it's Biblical counterpart in italics.)

The Witch (Satan) demands the blood of the traitor brother, because "all traitors' blood is hers". All sinners' blood belongs to Satan, by law, until that person is redeemed.

Aslan (Jesus) slips away in the night, to meet the Witch and her army. Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, meeting the soldiers of his own will to lay down his life.

Aslan is bound, and his beard is shorn off. He is then tied to very ceremonial stone slab. Jesus was bound to the cross, but not before the Roman soldiers plucked out his beard.

The Witch then gives a speech about how the world will now be hers, since Aslan will be dead. Then she stabs him in the heart, and the evil forces celebrate. While not entirely Biblical, many people believe that Satan did not know what the consequences would be when he killed Jesus. Otherwise, why would he have participated? Satan must have thought that he would be gaining a great victory by killing the Son of God. Man, did that backfire or what?

After Aslan expires, the stone that he laid upon split in two. When Jesus died, the curtain that obscured the Holy of Holies split in two, signifying our ability to now approach the Father freely.

After the celebration, the two daughters come upon Aslan's corpse, and stay with it, mourning. The next morning, Aslan is gone. Mary and Martha, two women, were the ones who first found Jesus' empty tomb when they came to mourn Him.

Aslan reappears in time for the final battle, and he defeats the Witch. During the three days that Jesus was dead, the Bible says he went down to hell and defeated Satan. As a result, we can now be born again and free from Satan's power if we so choose.

Summary: This was a very good movie! The final battle was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Seeing humans fighting alongside cheetahs, rhinos, centaurs, minotaurs, lions, griffons, and one amazing Phoenix was awesome. Some of the parts of the movie annoyed me, but they were overlookable in the scope of the entire movie. Highly recommended.

Score: 9/10

Posted by Ender :: 5:29 AM :: 0 comments

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