I’m Baaaaack! We have another book vs movie to do today and this was NOT part of our regularly scheduled programing (and by that, I wasn’t planning to do this one any time soon).
All the same, here we are. The reason I’ve done this one was because the Narnia books have been calling my name, like a lions roar from inside a wardrobe… okay maybe not quite that dramatically but I was very interested to read at least the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Then I figured, why not compare it to the film! So let’s do it now:
The Book by C. S. Lewis
I started with the book (my preferred method for these explorations anyway) and there were some great elements that I’ll share first. Every so often, Lewis added this little asides – almost like 4th wall breaks or funny quips – that really gave some levity and fun to the book. The premise was built upon it being written for a young child that Lewis knew, and so he wrote it as if it was a secret story just between the two. We get to be in on the secret, and that was really nice. The voice was more of the narrator 3rd person, than a particular character, which meant we could get some exposition from various characters and places in the same chapter without it feeling too jumpy. It was really quite easy to read, and just under 200 pages – so not too much of a time commitment. I think just under two hours is what it took me to get to the end.
One thing I did notice, was that the magic system for Narnia wasn’t really explained much at all. There seemed to be rules, but they were often contradictory and not explained as to how they worked – they just did. Although these days I am used to reading more stories that have at least a cursory explanation, I didn’t mind it for Narnia. It wasn’t something that bothered me so much that I switched off from the book and the story.
Another thing I noticed – which could just be me – was something very interesting in terms of the door opening in getting to Narnia. The book made a point to mention how silly it would be to close the door on yourself inside a wardrobe, and when Lucy alone goes in and they all go in with Peter at the door, they both leave it open (see above reason). However, when Edmund follows Lucy in, he closes the door and is the only one to come across the witch when he goes in. Coincidence? Maybe… 😛
Overall the movie was better than I remembered from school (which is where I watched it the first time.. boy I’m old). It had some lovely cinematic choices (like a silence right before the moment of battle at the end) and the animation of the animals and such was surprisingly good. Something I noticed was that Aslan (and most of the others as a matter of fact) was better animated and created than ALL the Lion King remake characters combined… which was a little sad for the Lion King. Nice bits and pieces from the book were hinted at like the books Mr Tummnis owned on humans, or the drawing of a moustache on a stone animal staying when it was reanimated.
The Witch wasn’t as white as she should have been. It wasn’t describing her as slightly more caucasian than most, she was supposed to be paper white – sickly and ghastly looking – but the film didn’t go quite as hard as they should have with the makeup in my opinion. I will say that Aslan’s death was a lot more impactful when you watched it – and something which wasn’t in the book was that look between Lucy and Aslan as he died was very sad. On the flip side, we got to see something really fun which was the way the trees were alive, and how that looked – something the book never explained.
While the book seemed more plot drive, it was clear that the movie wanted a more balanced – and dare I say leaning closer towards character driven – story. By doing this, they gave characters (in particular Peter and Edmond) richer setups for their characters and the choices they were going to make in the movie. They added a lot more animosity between the boys, and they had moments of greater meaning that hadn’t been in the book to give more impact for those moments. An example of this for Peter, was the scene on the melting river with the wolf, then finally getting his chance to kill him – only the latter was in the book. Similarly for Edmond, Mr Tummnis alive and in prison with him having a heart to heart, before he went out and the fox was turned to stone in front of him. Something that gave Edmond more time to realise what he had done, rather than come to that realisation pretty quickly and with a lot more self interest (like he did in the book). As for the girls, well Susan was a bit more sharp in the films, and they had minimal character development.
We got extra scenes like the war at the start, and how that impacted the children, more about the siblings and their relationships, Mr Tumnis’ realisation of turning over Lucy was great, the missing internal dialogue was a shame in some moments, and the general timeline for some events were a bit different (like Edmond sharing where Aslan would be located). Out of the few things that the movie didn’t explain very well, was my personal annoyance – the Turkish Delight. It was actually magically enchanter. The book explains that it was enchanted to make the eater just want to continue it forever, and it gave a lot more reasoning into why Edmond wanted to hand over his siblings for candy. I think not explaining did his character a disservice. One thing we did get though, was seeing the start of the final battle from Peter and Edmonds POV – something that we missed in the book.
I don’t know why they decided to just give these “kids” titles like “The Just” and “The Gentle” when they hadn’t earned them yet (something that only came after years of ruling as Kings and Queens), but whatever. My final question, which I think is the most important of all, was HOW THE HECK DID MR TUMNIS NOT GET COLD WHILE HE WASN’T WEARING A SHIRT IN THE SNOW????
Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope to have another Book Vs Movie out soon. What were your thoughts on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? Did you agree with my insights? Share in the comments.
See You in the Adventures!