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The Chronicles of Narnia

Posted December. 01, 2005 03:22,   


Another epic fantasy movie is coming to the theatres: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” It is an ambitious movie by Disney that cost about $150 million, and is based on the famous novel written in 1950 by C. S. Lewis of the same title. It is also the motion-picture debut for Andrew Adamson, who directed “Shrek” and its sequel. It will open in theatres on December 29, and is rated G.

Novel vs. movie—

The Chronicle of Narnia is quite unfamiliar to Koreans, but it is a classic fantasy novel that has sold over 85 millions copies in the U.S. and Britain. The Narnia Chronicles are composed of seven books, and the production of the six later books will depend on the success of first book to become a motion picture, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”

The background of the movie is set in early 1940s Britain in the midst of World War Two. Four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy move from London to a countryside house to avoid war. There, through a magical wardrobe, they enter the world of Narnia ruled by a witch, and save Narnia with the help of a lion named Aslan. Four newcomers play the roles of the siblings, and Tilda Swinton plays the role of the witch, while Liam Neeson plays the voice of Aslan. Except for increasing the roles of Susan and Lucy, the movie is very close to the original novel.

A children’s version of Lord of the Rings, mixed with the Passion of Christ—

In the aspect of making a children’s fantasy novel into a movie, the “Narnia Chronicles” are often compared to the Harry Potter series, but in reality, it is closer to a mixture of “Lord of the Rings” and “Passion of Christ.” In addition, the normal ingredient in Disney films, “family love,” makes it a typical Disney-style movie. Although the thrills and scariness of the movie are dull for adults, for children, they are quite adequate.

Furthermore, the special effects team of the “Lord of Rings” participated in the film, and the filming location is the same (New Zealand), which gives the film a very Lord of the Rings-like feel.

In the eyes of children, it is a movie about the adventures of four siblings, but in the eyes of adults, it is full of Christian allegories. That is because the movie adheres faithfully to Lewis’ Christian world view. For example, Aslan bearing the sins of Edmond and going to the evil’s nest, is a direct representation of Jesus walking over Golgotha Hill.

At the recent London screening, director Adamson said that “although the story of the Chosen saving the world might be a religious allegory, the ‘Matrix’ is also about the chosen one saving the world.” Furthermore, he said that unlike other fantasy movies, family was in the middle of the story, and family stories appeal to all cultures.

An eye-catching computer graphics feast-

Ninety nine percent of the “Chronicles of Narnia” was completed digitally. The computer generated lion, Aslan, is the peak of computer graphics technology, with all its hairs moving as if it were alive. It is also amusing to watch 23 new species created digitally or with disguises, including the Tumnus, who has a human face but goat legs, and the half-human, half-horse Centaurus.

Even gourmands who feel that computer graphic-laden movies are like food peppered with artificial condiments, the first scene where Lucy meets with Tumnus under a gas lamp, is indeed very moving, that will remain in the memories for a long time.

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com