UPDATE: I want you to like this film and to take many many people to it. Please read the far superior reivew at AICN. Oh, and the whole Christian thing is so blown out of proportion. No one writes articles on how "The Game" and "The Matrix" affected the EST community, or how "Star Wars" converted people to Taoism. Freaking ridiculous.
I really wanted to love it. Me and this film have BAGGAGE, from my memories of reading it with mom in third grade to the poster I brought from comic-con straight to her hospital wall, to the anger that she's not here to see it with me. Not sure if I wasn't able to suspend disbelief on the first viewing because I know the source material so well, or because the FX were unconvincing and a tad awkward. The script was fine; definitely covered most important moments of the book. The kids' acting was a little uneven, but better than most.
My biggest problems were the talking animals looking strange, and that the majority of digital shots were during the day. I kept coming out of the movie, looking at the shortcomings of the digital art. And I hate to say it, but I didn't believe Aslan. It really bugged me that his right side of his face looked a little smashed in, and that he wasn't white. REALLY bugged me that he wasn't white. I just don't understand the choice. The digital polar bears and unicorn were white and looked much better, so it must have been some misguided choice not based on technology. He needed to be more special, emanating light. A regular lion was too easy to compare to a real one, or even a cartoon one like The Lion King.
Lucy was fantastic, and so was Mr. Tumnus.
Tilda Swinton was her usual effing amazing, badass self. Girl crush. She was just killer.
I'd like to see the movie again with a crowd of children. My preview crowd was adults grumbling about how they hadn't read the book. Some jackass behind me compared it to the Little House on the Prairie series. Wanted to leap over my seat and throttle him with a lion's roar.
The other thing I keep thinking is who is their audience? Seems like it's exclusively for ten year olds. Not the filmmakers' fault really, because they were faithful to the book. Giddily, awe-ishly faithful. Never seen grown WETA men cry at Comic-con presentation before. But the first half of the movie is too childish for eleven year olds and up, because the ones I know are watching Lord of the Rings and Resident Evil. And anything younger than ten would enjoy the first half of the movie, then probably wet their pants when Aslan is stabbed to death on the stone table and Ed and Peter lead the battle against the extras from Lord of the Rings. And if parents were so worried about the death in Goblet of Sex, then they maybe should be prepared for Ed to get "killed" on the battlefield.
I don't know, I don't know. I'm fretting. I'd really like to see the movie do great.
It's hard though, because some of the most vivid memories I have of the book are things like the description of Lucy riding Aslan, her fingers intertwining in his mane as she buried her face in it and just felt safe and protected and loved by her god. That just wasn't there in the movie, and really, how could it be? But it's so important.
Emotionally, I didn't lose it. Pretty proud of that. Thought of mom a few times, mostly of her comment to me on her last day that she was ready to grab Aslan's mane. He was totally her spirit animal.
Got a small fishie from her. The Laura Engle jackass behind me wouldn't stop talking about how he'd just gotten back from visiting his uncle dying of terminal cancer, and what the "last hospital he would be at" was like, and how suprisingly lucid he was. Kept talking about it right up until the curtain opened for the credits. Come to think of it, that guy was lucky to get out of there alive. You never know what unstable nutjob blogger is sitting right in front of you during a movie, grieving her orphaned status.