Looking back, the review contains one spoiler for the movie. You have been warned, though I personally wouldn’t sweat it, I don’t think. It’s not that kind of movie, being based on a decades-old book and all.
So, way back on opening day, we trekked across town to the Rave theater in northwest Fort Worth, because the guy who sold my dad his TV had claimed that that chain had the best equipment in town. It was fine and all, don’t get me wrong, but nothing like worth that kind of drive. If we hadn’t also had other things to do quite near there indeed, it would have been pretty much a terrible waste of gas. It occurs to me, in retrospect, that when he claimed the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had beat out the Lord of the Rings movies for both story and technological advancements, that should have been a sign that he was a loon on other fronts as well. (In fact, I’ve just talked myself into being a bit worried about the TV, which hasn’t been delivered yet.)
The thing is, it was a pretty good movie, and suffered only by that comparison. True to the source material without carrying along Lewis’ overbearing tone, pretty as all get out, and with excellent sense of wonder quotient. Sure, it was a kid’s movie, and there were elements that were not just fantastic but downright nonsensical. (It’s not just that Santa Claus showed up to give them presents. It’s not just that this was a sign that the evil winter was coming to a close, even though 12/25 seems to fall at the beginning of winter in the majority of farmer’s almanacs that I personally have perused. It’s that he chased them halfway across a frozen lake without using a few hos to identify himself, just to create tension with the other ensleighed character of the film. Cheap, is what.)
So. Good movie? Yeah, despite being unapologetically for kids. It didn’t have those ‘for adults too’ winks and nudges, which sometimes work and often don’t. But it was still really good, in that you could put yourself in a kid’s position and still remember caring and fantasizing about things like this. The two family-friendly movies out for the season that involve multiple ‘parents with way too many kids‘ scenarios? No adult wants to remember wishing for that as a kid; I’d like to think that no self-respecting kid wishes to experience it now.
Christian movie? It’s very visible, yes. If you wanted to use it to talk to your kids (or your pagan friends, though that might be dangerous, considering the history underlying resurrection myths around the world) about what happened with Jesus and why, the parallels are there to be drawn. If you’re in a minority that’s as allergic to Jesus as a minority of vocal Christians are allergic to anything non-Christian, then, well, the parallel will almost certainly set you off in hives. If you’re most people, it falls somewhere safely in between, to be ignored if you want it and savored if you do.
Speaking of minorities, if you’re in the one that’s allergic to Furries, well, Narnia is one of the early examples of the genre, so that’s going to be unavoidable. And if you’re in the one that really gets off on that, well, try to go to a theater late in the run where nobody else will have to listen to your heavy breathing, okay, pal?
Effects? Yeah, they were fine, but don’t expect any awards.