Last night, I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe with my sister and my five year old niece.
I loved it. It was faithful to the spirit of the book; while part of me was saying about some scene or other, "that's not how it was in the book," the other part answered, "but that's the way it needs to be conveyed visually." The magical moment when Lucy enters Narnia -- perfect.
On the family front, the darling niece wants to see it again right away. The saddest parts? "When the lion died, and when the children had to leave their mommy." What did she like best? "The lion."
Interestingly enough, the DN accepted without any questions to her Mom or I all of the elements of the movie: the new world entered thru a wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus, talking beavers. She had a few questions about the White Witch -- if she was evil, why did she look so pretty? And why did she act nice, at first? And also about the battle.
But her big, wouldn't let them go, questions were about the beginning. While Lewis used a few words to set up that the children were evacuated from London because of the Blitz, the movie has several sequences. And these got the brunt of the questions. What's happening? Why? Why are they bombing? Why do they have to go away? Why doesn't the Mommy go with them?
Overall, the DN was more accepting and willing to follow the story when it was fantasy. The reality was the part that was a real stumbling block for her and took her outside the story. This is why fantasy works so well to convey story: because it is wrapped up with the make believe, it's easier to enter into the story. To believe.
On an adult note; my sister didn't read the books, had viewed with the DN the BBC versions, a cartoon version (maybe this) and LOVED the movie. Almost surprised herself with how much she enjoyed it.
Odd confession: I found myself getting quite the crush on Mr. Tumnus. The chemistry between himself and Lucy was wonderful, and James McAvoy conveyed this conflicted character very well.
Links: check out The Horn Book's Narnia Chronicled. And Cynthia Leitich Smith describes a viewing experience in her spookycyn blog that makes me want to move to Austin, Texas.
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