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January 02, 2006


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Have to agree.

I actually have a soft spot for the Narnia stories, because of my upbringing. And I think as a kid I enjoyed them because they were my first foray into fantasy. Having a minister for a Dad didn't hurt.

I don't mind the fundamental silliness of the story. What I mind is that the central characters are fundamentally uninteresting. It's essentially true of all the Narnia books. The children are interchangeable, essentially polite, and have no needs other than to get home, or have tea, or live up to their obligations. They also love "cute" animals and don't like nasty ones.

I read the Phillip Pullman trilogy also, which I enjoyed, but found the final chapter (no "spoilers") a bit TOO anti-religious, much like "The Last Battle" is almost creepily over-the-top and judgemental and pro-heirarchy. That being said, Pullman's stuff is fantastically scary and much more modern and fun. My girlfriend and I tore through them.

I'm personally shocked that King Kong isn't doing better, but hey... that's just me.


I've got two words to describe the costumes: Ren Faire.



I actually really only meant Tilda Swindon's positively insane get ups... but I was trying to be nice.

Alison Croggon

I adored Tilda Swinton's White Witch and her ott cossies, but not much else about the design (and how they ripped off the Two Towers battle scenes, to such ill effect!) Aside from your comments, Isaac, which I think are on the knocker, the film was marred by a Disneyfied piety which CS Lewis, for all his faults, manages largely to escape in his books.

The comment about Lewis' schematic descriptions and their invitation to imagine is acute. In another of my lives I am a fantasy writer, and it's been very illuminating to all my modes of writing: after all, even the smallest poem is in some way the making of a world. I've been astounded by how readers take characters and imagine them alive, and the various and precise ways in which they imagine them. It's made me realise that writing of all kinds is deeply about stimulating that possibility, the active participation of a reader in the creation of a work, so that it exists, in a way, in an infinity of possibilities, in readers' minds. Also, as Yannis Rotsos says in a poem somewhere, that writing and reading is a "meeting", if of a particular and displaced kind.


My biggest problem with the movie was that I could forgive the silliness of the plot, had the director allowed me inside the lives of the children for even one second. And I don't mean moments like the clumsy I-Miss-My-Pa bit with Edmond. I never for once felt what Lucy experienced on her first trip into the wardrobe. A fantasy movie works when it makes an alternate reality palpable, not by its literal rendering of the reality, but by its portrayal of the character's experience.

"The more literal an image becomes, the less the audience's imaginative capactiy can be realized"

A lot of that point in APPARITION...

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