"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Non-Reviewer Reviews Narnia

Sam's probably got real reviews of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe running in half-a-dozen places, but I couldn't resist offering my own scattershot impression. I just returned from a first-day showing and I am blown away. This movie not only avoided every pitfall I dreaded upon hearing Disney was involved in the project, it is a gem. Not flawless, but a gem nonetheless.

There is too much in this movie to take in all at one go. Luckily I am guaranteed a return visit next weekend, as my husband, poor unlucky sod, was sent to Paris on business for five days and so missed tonight's outing.
  • The soundtrack is for the most part a work of artistic genius -- eclectic, original, and without cliche from beginning to end. The only choice I'm not sure about is Alanis Morissette over the closing credits, but we were the only ones left in the theater at that point anyway.
  • Technology has finally become so sophisticated that there is no longer a need for the audience to will belief in depictions of fantastic worlds. The centaurs were as convincing as the Pevensie children. Aslan is almost too perfect -- at one point I found myself marvelling at the way his mane rippled in the wind instead of paying attention to the plot.
  • There will be controversy over the beavers. I liked them, Rachel did not.
  • This is one of the few book to movie adaptations I have seen where I have agreed with the changes and omissions. At 150 minutes it is long for a movie aimed at a young audience, but there was no restlessness in the theater.

And now a review of the audience: there are now two full generations of people who have no earthly idea how to behave in public. I am accustomed to being surrounded by obnoxious morons in movie theaters. I am not yet accustomed to mother and son pairs offering non-stop commentary loud enough to drown out battle scenes. Sample dialog from the brace of mental giants directly behind us, on the appearance of a squadron of airborne war gryffons:

Hey! Is they Pegasus things?

You dumb%&@, they're cat-eagles.

They had to take time off from kicking the back of my head to think this stuff up.

2 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

Kathy, I'm glad you brought up this film behavior thing. I've been there, really been there, big-time.

I'll never forget going to the final installment of Lord of the Rings, which was packed full, to listen to three young teens blathering on for the duration of the entire film. My experience of the film was ruined because I couldn't stop hearing their lame commentary throughout.

After nearly three hours and with their comments becoming more extensive (all whispered in that even louder than speaking hush tone), I lost it and turned around angrily and asked them to cease. I must have looked truly annoyed because they did shut it down.

On the other hand, I've asked others to be quiet in films before only to have it stop their discussion for about five minutes. I once experienced a couple talking about everything in their lives during the whole length of a film. I kept wondering why they would come to a theatre to do that. Ever hear of Starbucks?

Kathy Hutchins said...

I am a bit of a movie theater purist. I went for a space of years never seeing movies in theaters because the kids were too young; now I want my theater experience and I want it perfect, darn it! I don't go to the nearest movie house, I drive an hour to go to the only Muvico in the area because it's got the best sound system, the best seating, and the best projection equipment. And then the whole thing's spiked by the louts sitting behind me.

I am already paying $9 a ticket to see a movie. I would happily -- I repeat happily -- pay 50% more in exchange for a guarantee that the people behind me would not blather, kick my seat, spill Coke on me, or answer their cell phones. Theater owners, are you listening? You are ignoring a premium market out here.