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groundless criticism time!

Yet another reason why I don't want to see the new Narnia film: I just heard a clip with Mrs Macready, the housekeeper. Despite the fact that she has a Scottish name, apparently the film decided she should have a really shit Irish accent. You know, we can actually say the "g"s at the end of our words, and if you're trying to do some sort of vaguely middle-class Irish accent, you should take that into account.

Also, since when did the Witch become the "Ice Queen"? And polar bears instead of reindeer? And a wardrobe that is so obviously weird and magic looking that you'd be surprised if there wasn't something odd going on, thus defeating the entire point of book's very ordinary and hence imagination-triggering wardrobe? The fuck?

Okay, I know that I'm criticising a film I haven't seen. But I don't want to see it, because it sounds so shit and if it really is that shit, I'd rather not have my memories of the book that basically introduced me to literature (I read it when I was five) despoiled. Apparently the religious stuff is really stressed in the film - I know Aslan isn't exactly a subtle Jesus allegory in the books, but it's not too overt at all in The Lion.... - I remember being very pleased with myself when I realised that, like Jesus, Aslan had died and risen again, but I was just impressed by what was basically the first allegory I'd ever encountered. And more importantly, you could easily read it without noting the religous overtones, not least because the god that dies and rises again is a myth much older than Jesus. But a film funded by some American Christian group - as this is, although they're not highlighting that on this side of the Atlantic - is unlikely to handle this in a subtle way.

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
pescana
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
Funded by some American Christian group? Oh shit. Not going to see it either. I didn't really want to, exactly, but now I really don't want to.

It's very sad.
alltheleaves
Dec. 1st, 2005 10:16 am (UTC)
I didn't know that either. damn. I hate it when they fuck up really good books.

And being Jewish it took me 20 years to notice the allegory about religion and that was when I was whacked round the head and had it explained to me.
socmot
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
A fundy group? I think I might desist from going to see it also, as I'm not keen on giving my hard earned money to such an agenda...

And yes, it does sound rather different from the books, which I also read at a similar age to yourself.
cangetmad
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wait, Irish and Scottish aren't the same thing? But they've all got red hair, right?

No, I think I'm planning to leave this one well alone, despite the Tilda Swinton.
stellanova
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do love Tilda Swinton (she's got hotter with age) but yes, it's not enough.

But, speaking of filmic adaptations of books I love, I did manage to shove in a paragraph on The Painted Garden in the piece I was working on today!
biascut
Nov. 30th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC)
When we saw the trailer for it before Harry Potter, the Heretickal One muttered, "It's Tilda Swinton as the Witch, you know." "Toby Stephens?" I gasped. And then we both had a slightly faint moment as we imagined Toby Stephens cross-dressed and smarmy as the Witch.

I went off it when I realised it wasn't actually Toby Stephens, though.
jeejeen
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
What annoys me is that I know I will cave and see it at some point, if only because god knows there's nothing better to do with a pack of christians in wisconsin at christmastime.

Heh.
stellanova
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
Heh, I think that could be the only justifiable reason to see it...
zoje_george
Nov. 30th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
And THEN, you could SNEAK OUT of the theatre and come see ME!
millamant_
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
I'm leery of seeing this because it's being produced by Disney, and I have the sneaking suspicion that they won't be able to resist the temptation to be as heavy-handed as hell on the allegory stuff. I'm hoping that Disney is trying to cash in on the Harry Potter movies here rather than Passion of the Christ. But if the movie gets uniformly good reviews, I might go see it.
barsine
Nov. 30th, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
I have been invited to a children's books talk about the Narnia books on Sunday, and they are giving us a mysterious 'treat' after; the talk is in - wait for it - a CINEMA!! Could the treat be a preview of the film???? I am bringing a bag of turkish delight with me just in case!
blue_monday
Nov. 30th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
I want to see it, despite all the heavy handedness that there is likely to be. I'm not going to re-read the book 'til after I've seen it though.

Bah in general to the stupidness.
cloud_hands
Nov. 30th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
My daughter is absolutely dying to see it, so I may have no choice. The good thing though is that if she gets any of the religious aspect at all, I will be the one answering the thousand and one questions she's likely to have. And then we can read the book together. I've actually never read it, so I think I'd rather see the movie first and then find out just how much better the book is.
rozk
Dec. 1st, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
It really isn't as bad as you fear, mostly because there is so much Tilda Swinton in it, in a lot of stunning frocks. She gets the reindeer, but they are her wandering around Narnia in the snow transport, as opposed to the matched mini-cyclops palanquin bearers who are her diplomatic mission transport or the bears who are her war chariot transport. All of that works.

The Christian stuff is about as underlined as it is in the book, which is fairly heavily. The thing I had most problems with is that kids of that age running battles hits my squick button - Aslan recruits them as child soldiers...
stellanova
Dec. 1st, 2005 09:38 am (UTC)
The thing I had most problems with is that kids of that age running battles hits my squick button - Aslan recruits them as child soldiers...

Wow, that never struck me before, but you're right, it is pretty dubious. It's funny, as a child it seems completely normal that they fight in a battle. Now "send that eleven year old in to fight a wolf!" seems pretty monstrous.

I actually don't think the Christian stuff is enormously heavy handed in that book - unlike some of the later ones - mostly because it's surrounded by all the Classical stuff, so when you read it as a kid, Aslan=Jesus isn't so overbearing.

What about the wardrobe itself? From the trailer and still shots it looks ostentatiously magicky, and I really do think that Lewis's idea of turning a very ordinary wardrobe, the sort you might have in your own room as a child, into a gate into another world is one of the greatest ideas in literature. I don't think I know anyone who read that bookas a child and didn't try the back of a wardrobe just once and almost convince herself that it was going back just a little bit too far. There are very few things that will trigger a child's imagination like that - unlike, say, Harry Potter, where everything is obviously magic and rather flashy.
radegund
Dec. 1st, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)
What about the wardrobe itself? From the trailer and still shots it looks ostentatiously magicky...

Yes! I want to know this too. I saw the trailer ages ago and was incensed at the Disneyfication of the wardrobe. The cheesy music, the rays of light, the awe-faced child. That's not what's supposed to happen AT ALL! She jumps into the wardrobe as a last-minute hiding-place and stumbles out into a different world. The understatedness of the event as described in the book is what gives it its power. Gnrgh.
leedy
Dec. 1st, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
I don't think I know anyone who read that bookas a child and didn't try the back of a wardrobe just once and almost convince herself that it was going back just a little bit too far.

Or were convinced by an older sibling to get into a wardrobe on said grounds and were then locked into it? Ahem.
theodicy
Dec. 1st, 2005 12:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, speaking as the resident liberal Jesusy person, I gotta say: either art works AS ART without reference to any didactic claims, or...it fails. I've not reread the Narnia books in years - if in fact I finished them at all, which I doubt - but I'm not looking forward to a movie whose message is thrust down my throat. Maybe we'll give this one a miss, too.
crunchcandy
Dec. 1st, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
I've been excited about this film because I love Narnia so much- I am also a bit slow and it took me until really recently to figure out the whole Christian thing. Probably never would have dawned on me had I not been living with a boy who banned the books due to them being "christian filth"- I read them and thought they were magical stories right up until about the age of 27...I guess I read a lot of other books where things like that happened and it didn't strike me as odd or symbolic that Aslan would die and rise again- that's just the sort of magic thing that happens.

I think perhaps now i'm going to have to give it a miss, I can't have all my childhood dreams shattered.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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