April 25, 2006

Pinkerton on Narnia

Writing about web page http://www.jaypinkerton.com/blog/archives/001437.html

Jay Pinkerton watched the Chronicles of Narnia DVD and really didn't like it. I thought it had the odd problem myself, but Jay was much more scathing:

Narnia, meanwhile, has a talking rhino run through the middle of a battlefield skewering centaurs and bears, and Iím sitting there wondering if thatís a good thing or a bad thing. Hooray! The brave rhino killed the evil centaurs! Or… boo! The dastardly rhino killed the noble centaurs! Or… something.
In one scene a pair of badgers have a conversation with Santa Claus, and in another a human on a talking horse does battle with the White Witch of the North while griffins divebomb centaurs, and your headís just spinning from the random senselessness of it.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Karen Mortimer

    But it's a childrens film/story – it doesn't have to make sense! Let's suspend reality for a moment and understand what it's like in a child's imagination where anything can happen. I read the Chronicles of Narnia many times when I was young and thought (and still think) that they are magical.

    26 Apr 2006, 17:27

  2. John Dale

    Well, yes. But I linked to Jay's post for two reasons:-

    1. I think he's right that the film particularly is narratively incoherent. The battle scenes are clearly designed to be Lord of the Rings style mayhem and the consequence of this is that it's hard to tell who'se doing what and why. This is a failure of the film-makers' storyboarding and editing, not a failure of the original books. That said, I think the idea that in childrens' literature, things don't have to make sense is risky. Children do have expectations about characters acting in character, about cause and effect, about morality and good and evil, and while I agree with you that the Narnia books are in the main pretty good (except for The Last Battle, which is a bizarre attempt to recast the Book of Revelations into Narnia, and is frankly bonkers), I don't think children do suspend reality when they read or are read to. I'll give you an example: in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe we're told that the beavers have a side of ham hanging from their ceiling. My son and I (when I was a child) both found that jarring; did the beavers kill a pig? How? Was it a talking pig? Wouldn't that have been wrong?

    2. It was funny.

    26 Apr 2006, 22:13

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