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Holiday Moviegoing

David and I went to see a matinee of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe yesterday. It’s gotten pretty decent reviews, so I figured it would be at least entertaining. I read the books a few months back and was fairly unimpressed. They’re blatant morality tales, almost completely lacking in humor, and fairly medieval in their take on race, gender and other religions. Still, sometimes simpler stories translate better to the screen as much less editing is needed.

The visuals of the movie were overdone. WETA (the production company that worked big screen magic for the Lord of the Rings trilogy) was up to it’s usual tricks, but to much less effect. All the cgi animals were highly cartoonish, except that in cartoons, the movement of the animals is generally portrayed accurately. These creatures had none of the fluidity of the animals they represented – the movement was spasmodic and unnatural.

The White Witch had some interesting costumes, the main one looked like a wedding gown that had been created entirely of dryer lint and shoulder pads. She herself was good and scary, but as her dialogue sucked, so she wasn’t as creepy as she should have been.

The children were not great actors, and terribly overshot. There were far to many lingering moments of looks of fear or sadness or strained delight that broke the pace of the movie, and highlighted that the kids were not the most seasoned or talented actors.

The most annoying aspect of the movie was the music. It was a constant barrage. From the minute Lucy first steps into Narnia to the end, your ears are bombarded with sappy, sweeping, or soporific, and incredibly loud music. My voice teacher in college taught me to work with the whole range of my voice. If you sing at the top of your lungs all the time, you have no where to go when you reach a climactic moment in the piece. The director obviously missed the memo on that point.

To sum up, watching this movie was like being rythmically beaten over the head with a sugar-coated baseball bat for two hours and fifteen minutes.

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