The Chronicles of Narnia Movie

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I so wanted to like this movie, because I loved the books as a kid. I re-read the books in 1997 and didn’t enjoy them as much as I had when I was young, but there still was a lot of the magic there, even though some of the story bothered me.
But this movie… I hated it. I didn’t empathize with any of the characters. The story itself didn’t make any sense (which, to be fair, is also the case with the books) and a couple of inserted scenes really struck the wrong note with me.

To start out with, they spent a huge amount of time at the beginning of the movie focusing on the children and their mother in London being bombed during WWII while their father fights in the war. All of this was completely invented and never appeared in the book, where the children’s arrival at their uncle’s house is all of two sentences, and their parents both stay in London. The heavy-handedness of this insertion throws the movie off-balance later, when the children don’t hurry back home. I wouldn’t lolly-gag around being royal if my mom was being bombed and my dad was in a war.

Some of the rest of the story line seemed absurd on screen. The children’s immediate and unquestioning loyalty towards Aslan seemed odd; it’s addressed in the book but that never makes it’s way to the screen. The Narnia folk keep calling the children the saviors of the world, but there’s no reason why anyone should think that, based on the children’s behavior. And the children never actually do anything other than traipse around through the countryside, and participate in a battle that all of the folk who live in Narnia also perform valiantly in. So why do the kids get crowned, and not the beavers?

The sequence at the frozen waterfall where Peter wusses out of killing the wolf was also an invention and not in the book. I HATED this scene, mainly because it was the first of many where Peter stands around awkwardly holding a sword out away from his body. Pull your elbow in kid, or they’ll just knock it out of your hand. And while you’re at it, wave it around a bit and at least try to look intimidating. The whole scene didn’t make any sense; why not walk across the frozen falls at the top, like the wolves did, rather than climbing down to cross over the melting ice?

During the battle, Peter turns to look at his centaur general and asks “Are you with me?” I should hope so, dork, he’s standing right there.

The one bone they threw me was at the very end, where Susan kills the dwarf before it can kill a wounded Edmund. That wasn’t in the book, and is probably intended to temper the wide-spread criticism from the book that the girls are not allowed to participate in the battle (why give her arrows at all?) while the boys are.

My expectations were probably way too high for this movie, given how much I loved the books as a kid. But still, they could have tried to rise to the occasion…

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Movie Review: Closer

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Dan (Jude Law) is walking down the street one day when he runs into Alice (Natalie Portman) who, while staring at Dan, is hit by a car. He helps her to the hospital, and then begins a romance with her, despite the fact that she looks like jailbait and there’s not a single hint of chemistry between them at all.

They’re in a relationship for a year, during which Dan, who is a “writer” without a single original thought in his head, cribs Alice’s life story (you can only do that once, dummy!) and gets a bestseller as a result. During a PR photoshoot for the book, Dan meets Anna (Julia Roberts) and makes a play for her, while admitting that he’s in a relationship with Alice. Anna blows him off, but you can see she’s charmed by him, which hey, when confronted by a lying philanderer who oozes disrespect for you, who wouldn’t be?

As payback for not hopping in the sack with him, Dan picks up nutjob Larry (Clive Owen) in an online chat and sends him in the direction of Anna, a particularly cruel and dangerous joke that no one ever takes him to task for. Larry just manages to conceal that he’s a sexual predator/sociopath while meeting Anna, and they hook up and marry. Because Anna’s into the whole disrespect/degradation thing, as we’ve already seen with Dan.

Eventually Dan and Anna hook up, and Larry tries to make it with Alice but can’t because he’s such a loser, and there’s much stormy confrontation and accusations about everyone’s behavior. And then there’s a weird non-ending that ties up no loose ends, brings about no revelations, and causes no growth or changes in anyone’s behavior. The End.

In case you can’t tell from my outline of the plot, I thought this movie was a steaming pile of… I’d say shit, but that seems too polite. I hated the fact that everyone in the movie was lying and cheating on everyone else, but they each expect the others to tell them the truth and be faithful. And when they didn’t get what they wanted, they had big screaming hissy fits about it.

I especially hate the fact that this movie is getting critical raves — it makes me a little afraid of my fellow man. Um, people are not allowed to act this way, folks, and if you know people who are like this, or if you yourself are like this, I’d like you far away from me, please. Come to think of it, I have some ex-partners who probably LOVED this movie.

I’m sorry, but there was nothing interesting on that screen to me at all. Sure, all the actors were beautiful at first glance, but five minutes into meeting each character made them uglier than dirt. I couldn’t even ignore the actors and stare at the sets, because they were all cold, sterile and hostile. No wonder these people are so unhappy; look at their apartments. The only remotely redeeming thing about this movie, is that in the scene where we meet Anna, she’s wearing some very cool corduroy mens trousers that look great on her. I actually pointed out that I wanted those pants.

Entertainment Weekly is predicting that this movie with get some Oscar consideration with possible nominations for Clive Owen and Natalie Portman for Supporting Actors, and perhaps “Best Adapted Screenplay.” The idea makes me want to vomit. But in I guess we live in George Bush’s America, so viscious, nilhistic behavior and self-righteousness are bound to be rewarded.


One Half
I’m giving this half a star for Julia Robert’s pants.

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