Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lions, and Witches, and Wardrobes? Hooray!

It’s almost too good to be true that at last the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are being retold in live-action glorious cinema. One of my favorite series to read as a child, the first book in the seven volume series, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was the one I loved the most. There was something about the concept of stumbling upon an ordinary piece of furniture, which upon entering would take you to another world, that completely (and still does) enthrall my imagination.

The teaser trailer was finally posted on on Sunday, and I thought it made the film look amazing.

There is also this featurette done by WETA, Peter Jacksons FX company. Richard Taylor, who runs the company, does a neat little survey view of a lot of the creature and FX design for The Lion, the Witch, and teh Wardrobe. Taylor, who oversaw everything for Lord of the Rings as well, is one of my heroes; he manages so much, yet remains creative and seemingly laid back all the while.

I think the teaser trailer successfuly captures the magical elements and sensation of childlike wonder at Narnia. I love the way the sheet falls off the wardrobe when Lucy yanks it, and the shots of the children first arriving in Narnia. The creature designs look great, Tilda Swinton as the white witch looks creepy, and the New Zealand landscapes seems to serve Narnia as well as it did Middle Earth.

My biggest concern for this film is the fact that Andrew Adamson, the director of this film, has never directed a live-action feature film before. He directed Shrek 1 and Shrek 2, but those are the only credits he has under his belt. I actually happen to think the Shrek films are a bit overrated, the first one was alright, but the second one wasn’t very good, and I don’t really get the hub bub about them, as they seem very obviously done. Granted they are kids movies, but they are a little too crass and pop culture oriented to truly ever become children’s classics either. Adamson also wrote the script for Narnia, and his only other screenplay is Shrek 2. Yikes. Hawaii 5-0 references, and Pinocchio thong jokes won't fly in this one my friend. I found it interesting that Disney went with Adamson to direct, being that he is fairly inexperienced with directing, and seemed has worked exclusively with Dreamworks animation in the past. At least Adamson seems to have worked with special FX before, his resume on IMDB lists several big budget movies that he's worked on as a Visual Effects supervisor.

I just hope we’re not in for another Lemony Snicket:Series of Unfortunate Events on this one, where the visuals were grand, but the way the story was told and the characters were developed was about as stimulating as cold oatmeal. Granted the source material they are working with is absolutely tremendous, so that should help matters.

December 9th, here I come!


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