Written by Old Bluffer 14th Dec 2005
Sunday school was never so much fun as this Disney adaptation of CS Lewis' classic allegorical tale.
Liam Neeson voices a CGI Aslan, but doesn't have too many lines to make the role his own. Tilda Swinton by contrast steals every scene with her charismatic portrayal of a cruel, powerful and surprisingly sexy White Witch named Jadis.
Clash of the Alternative Judaeo-Christian Titans: Digital lion vs disturbingly attractive witch
Jadis has corrupted a rather unpleasant young oik called Edmund, into betraying his pre-pubescent siblings. This means she can triumphantly invoke the laws of "Deep Magic" and demand that Aslan release the child so she can sacrifice him as a traitor. This not only serves to teach children not to be a backstabbing little Judas, but also warns them of the perils of accepting sweets (Turkish Delight) from strangers. Unfortunately the latter moral lesson is somewhat undermined by an earlier scene where the young Lucy meets a suspiciously Satyr-like figure known only as "Mr Tumnus" and is persuaded to go back to his house for "tea and sardines".
Is this really the message we want to be sending to our little angels?!
Unsurprisingly, the Army of
Sure enough, later that night Aslan pads out of the camp, followed by the two "Daughters of Eve" (subtle Lewis, very subtle), and after a touching bit of mane hugging proceeds alone to give himself up to the mercy of the witch and her minions.
Prisoners of war in Narnia seem to get treated in a similar fashion to those in our own time. He therefore receives a beating, verbal abuse, is painfully bound with ropes and then has his hair cut off to complete the humiliation. At least he wasn't made to wear a fluorescent orange jumpsuit though.
This graphic portrayal of bestial S&M is surely unsuitable for a children's film!
Suitably chastised, Aslan is then dragged unceremoniously onto the Stone Table and Jadis finishes him off in a traditional yet classic method, with her sacrificial dagger. The Army of Evil then head off to slaughter the hapless dryads, pixies and other creatures of Good (including rhinos, which is nice - maybe they are related to unicorns).
Lucy and Susan are distraught at the loss of their new friend, and are soon hugging his bloody corpse as if he is somehow going to come back to life - which he promptly does as soon as they turn their backs. We looked in vain for an Easter Bunny holding a chocolate egg viewing the resurrection from the sidelines but sadly didn't see one.
The film ends in a climactic battle sequence that *desperately* wants to be the Lord of the Rings. Sorry Disney, you can film in New Zealand all you want, but a cheap budget and uninspiring soundtrack is not going to impress us. The various creature graphics did give me an idea for a video game I'd like to see though - "Kong vs Aslan" would be a lot of fun (we think the ape would go Old Testament on the lion, but it would be an entertaining fight).