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Chronicles of Narnia movie book

Adaptation is the name of the game in Hollywood these days, and the 2005 holiday season is full of it. Aeon Flux comes from an MTV animated show. Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Brokeback Mountain all come from bestselling contemporary books, with Pride and Prejudice and Oliver Twist representing the classics. Yours, Mine & Ours and King Kong are remakes of previous Hollywood flicks. Rent is based on the hit Broadway musical. And A History of Violence comes from a comic book. Into this veritable throng of old ideas strides another, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, a screen translation of the first book in C.S. Lewis's beloved fantasy series. It's a film that demonstrates what adaptation should be all about.

The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe follows the adventures of four English siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy—who are sent to the countryside during World War II. In the house of a mysterious professor (the delightful, but sadly underused, Jim Broadbent), the children discover a wardrobe that leads to Narnia, a magical but frozen world of mythical creatures and talking animals. As they journey, the siblings are drawn into an epic war.

It has been years since I read the Chronicles, so my memory of details is sketchy, but I can say that the film feels like a very true adaptation. Andrew Adamson (director of both Shrek films) brings C.S. Lewis's set to life with beautiful CGI (I personally loved the gryphons, which are amazingly real), elaborate costumes, and fantastic cinematography (much of the film was shot in New Zealand). Adamson never makes it as silly or as mocking as Shrek, however, choosing instead to sprinkle moments of levity throughout.

Tilda Swinton leads a stellar cast as the White Witch, dominating every scene she touches. All four of the children are well-played, especially the young and curious Lucy (Georgie Henley), who must first convince her three elder siblings that Narnia really exists. And Liam Neeson lends an air of sage-like power to the film, providing the voice of the CGI lion Aslan.

The Christian undertones and symbolism of the Chronicles have often stirred up controversy, and the new film certainly doesn't bury any of that subtext. But neither does it throw the religious elements in the audience's face. Disney plays the balancing act well—those who want to draw religious parallels will find them readily available, and those who just want to be transported to a magical world can let themselves be carried away without bother.

The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe is such a powerful adaptation because it manages to capture the spirit and emotions of the novel and pass them on to the audience. We share Lucy's joyful fascination and curiosity as she explores a newfound fantasy realm. We cringe or weep when the White Witch turns yet another animal to frozen stone. And we cannot help but be swept up in the tide of battle when it finally comes. In its most expensive movie to date (with an estimated budget of $150 million), Disney has created a masterpiece that truly brings C.S. Lewis's imaginary world to life on the silver screen. With any luck, it will be the first in a series of films that will never disappoint.

Neil is a an aspiring writer who dreams of being a movie critic someday. He writes part-time for a newspaper in Columbus, Ohio, while washing dishes full-time at night to pay the bills and writing movie reviews on the side.



Neil is a an aspiring writer who dreams of being a movie critic someday. He writes part-time for a newspaper in Columbus, Ohio, while washing dishes full-time at night to pay the bills and writing movie reviews on the side.
Current Issue
30 Jan 2023

In January 2022, the reviews department at Strange Horizons, led at the time by Maureen Kincaid Speller, published our first special issue with a focus on SF criticism. We were incredibly proud of this issue, and heartened by how many people seemed to feel, with us, that criticism of the kind we publish was important; that it was creative, transformative, worthwhile. We’d been editing the reviews section for a few years at this point, and the process of putting together this special, and the reception it got, felt like a kind of renewal—a reminder of why we cared so much.
It is probably impossible to understand how transformative all of this could be unless you have actually been on the receiving end.
Some of our reviewers offer recollections of Maureen Kincaid Speller.
Criticism was equally an extension of Maureen’s generosity. She not only made space for the text, listening and responding to its own otherness, but she also made space for her readers. Each review was an invitation, a gift to inquire further, to think more deeply and more sensitively about what it is we do when we read.
When I first told Maureen Kincaid Speller that A Closed and Common Orbit was among my favourite current works of science fiction she did not agree with me. Five years later, I'm trying to work out how I came to that perspective myself.
Cloud Atlas can be expressed as ABC[P]YZY[P]CBA. The Actual Star , however, would be depicted as A[P]ZA[P]ZA[P]Z (and so on).
In the vast traditions that inspire SF worldbuilding, what will be reclaimed and reinvented, and what will be discarded? How do narratives on the periphery speak to and interact with each other in their local contexts, rather than in opposition to the dominant structures of white Western hegemonic culture? What dynamics and possibilities are revealed in the repositioning of these narratives?
a ghostly airship / sorting and discarding to a pattern that isn’t available to those who are part of it / now attempting to deal with the utterly unknowable
Most likely you’d have questioned the premise, / done it well and kindly then moved on
In this special episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, reviews editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland introduce audio from a 2018 recording for Jonah Sutton-Morse’s podcast Cabbages and Kings which included Maureen Kincaid Speller discussing with Aisha and Jonah three books: Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan, and The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar.
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By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
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