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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Disney, 2005) December 27, 2005

Posted by sensawunda in Movies.
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I think I’m really a bit handicapped in trying to measure the sensawunda in a movie that’s based on a book I’ve loved since the 4th grade. How do I factor in my predisposition to like it? How would I feel about this movie if I came to it fresh, not knowing what to expect? There’s only one first time. But I’ll try my best.

The closer a movie hews to the spirit of the book it’s based on, the better I’m going to like it. No complaints on that score. I figured this one probably would when I noticed Douglas Gresham (C.S. Lewis’s stepson and executor of his estate) listed as an executive producer. (He also performs a voice-over of a radio announcer.)

My husband and I compared notes on everything we liked about it all the way home from the theater — it caught our imaginations despite our familiarity with the story. The Witch was quite otherworldly, Narnia less so… although it’s really not supposed to be, is it? Sometimes the sense of wonder comes from something completely, startlingly alien. And sometimes it comes from seeing the familiar more clearly. A world that seems ordinary… except that fur coats don’t usually turn into pine needles… and that guy over there has hooves. This film did not always succeed in this respect, but at times it did.

The Stone Table sequence reminded me of The Passion of the Christ, and not just in the obvious ways. The emotion, the color palette, the triumph of the Witch—like Satan in the Passion, she really thought she was winning. (Except that she let her dread of Aslan show through here and there… the best performance in the film.)

Sensawundameter: WandWandWandWand

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