I’ve now seen all the Narnia movies in the theaters, and been freshly disappointed by every one. Is there a third line in that old “fool me once” adage? Fool me three times, I need to make adjustments to my life and attempt to become more of an adult?
The sad thing is if The Silver Chair ever comes out I’ll probably see it, too. I can’t help myself. These books were a MASSIVE part of my childhood. They were the first books I ever read, and I loved every one. I used to daydream about Narnia constantly. It prepared me well for a life of daydreaming about LOTR, Dune, King Arthur, the X-Men, and all the other nerdy things I’ve read*. The Chronicles of Narnia literally started me on the path I now Dawn tread.
*This is maybe not as much as some people might think, actually. Most sci-fi/fantasy is total junk, and I try to stay away from that. I like to think I stick to the nerdy stuff thats good. But then, every nerd probably thinks that. I was definitely really into the Ann Rice Vampire Chronicles at one point, and I can’t imagine thats very cool for a guy in his twenties.
I have no choice, I have to see these movies. So every time I find some way to convince myself this time it’ll be better. “Well Prince Caspian was the best book….” or “Dawn Treader could have some really cool visuals”. It’s pathetic. I need to just admit to myself that I’m in for a bad time.
Oddly enough, I didn’t see this one solo. My boy Big Wing had texted me a few days before wanting to schedule a 3D hang. I wasn’t even aware the movie was in 3D, and I was shocked Big Wing wanted to see it. He’s in his mid-thirties and never read the books. But he was enthusiastic, and it was infectious. He thought it was going to be visually stunning. I allowed myself to hope for that too.
It wasn’t visually stunning. Big Wing had made a terrible mistake. He really didn’t do his research on this one. As it turned out, he had never seen the first two and didn’t really even know they were children’s movies. I pitied him having to sit through what was essentially a mediocre movie for little kids that he had no tie to whatsoever. Poor Big Wing.
As for me, I gleaned some small enjoyment from seeing a world I’d often imagined brought to life. In the closing credits they used the original illustrations from the books, and that was pretty cool. There just wasn’t any imagination at work here. The kids aren’t good actors, the sets aren’t cool, there is no jaw-dropping scenery, and everything is kept as basic and safe as possible. Even the cheap jokes seemed half-assed.
I blame Disney. They just grabbed the rights to something they didn’t create and started churning out the simple money-makers. If Narnia had been handled lovingly by someone who cared about it, it could’ve been a beautiful, unique thing. Still a kids movie, sure, but one that could evoke emotion from adults as well. Those exist. Just this year I saw a movie called The Secret of Kells that was thoroughly impressive. Both plot and appearance drew me in. It can be done, but only by people who care. The rich, fat, old perverts in charge of Disney don’t qualify.
One legitimate positive: I thoroughly enjoyed the kid who played Eustace Scrubb. He reminded me a lot of my boy Ol’ 2. My inner monologue was repeating all his lines in my Ol’ 2 voice. At one point he said “Mother says I have an acute disposition” and I had a good laugh. That was the highlight of the movie.
I guess when you go see a movie whose target demographic is 20 years your junior, you have no right to expect anything. Lesson learned. Psych.