We just got back from watching “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Short review: We liked it a lot. Did we love it? That’s harder to say. Melanie said that while she liked it a lot, she felt a little disappointment as the credits roll, but mainly because she has read the books so many times, and knows them so well, they couldn’t have made a movie that didn’t leave even slightly disappointed. That said, it’s about the best movie we could expect them to make. If that’s not singing praises from the rooftops, so be it.
It’s been a lot longer since I’ve read the books, so I was remembering a lot along the way and didn’t miss the bits they left out for the most part. Here are my quick impressions.
- The White Witch reminded very strongly of the Satan character in “The Passion of the Christ.” It probably wasn’t intentional, unless it was on the part of Mel Gibson using Lewis’ white witch as his inspiration. Still, for those who saw The Passion, this is an image that resonates.
- The character of the White Witch struck the right tone. In his review for the Catholic World Report December issue, Steven Greydanus says that the witch’s appearance before Aslan to demand the blood price was too strong and proud, and perhaps that’s true. Still, I got the impression that just below the confidence of one who demands what she knows is hers by right is the fear that she is demanding it of one who is both more powerful than she and who is her enemy. That confidence-masking-fear stays with her throughout the film too, right up to the point of the sacrifice. Even then you get the sense that she thinks any moment her victim will leap tp his feet and tear her to pieces for her temerity.
- Edmund struck just the right note, although his betrayal didn’t seem like ... enough. It wasn’t enough to demand such a high price in return. But then do our own sins seem like they should demand the price of the Christ’s death on the Cross? Maybe that’s exactly how Edmund’s betrayal should be, tenuous and not quite horrific.