How does this compare to Harry Potter? We in this 'critic's' opinion that is like comparing the depth of MacBeth to East Enders. I did try to read a Harry Potter book - once. I haven't bothered since.
I think that the 3D format gave this film a real boost because there's such a lot of story to cover within such a small time frame, and it brought the whole thing to life. It also greatly enhanced the presence of the ship, itself a main character. That is always a difficult thing to pull off but I think it succeeds here.
Any plot adaptations that were made were in keeping with the spirit of the book and further served to unify and bring extra meaning to the themes. Also the almost noises-off presence of Susan and Peter, Anna Popplewell and Will Moseley helped continuity as it was seeing old friends.
Most main characters' faces were familiar to those who have seen the previous films. Tilda Swinton's continued presence as the embodiment of evil (a green mist this time) works well because let's face it, Tilda Swinton can be green mist if she wants to be - or anything else... Her role is one reason I hope the production team will try to make The Silver Chair - a gift vehicle for such a talent!
Reepicheep was as adorable as ever and the change of voiceover in this film I think, improves his gravitas and boy does that mouse have gravitas ;) I have to say the furry characters are much furrier in 3D and when Lucy hugged Reepicheep you could almost feel that fur. The poor, funny Puddleduffs are quite adorable too.Fellow Ballymena-man Liam Neeson is the voice of Aslan once more. (God just has to be a Ballymena man!)
In this film Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes and the very dashing Ben Barnes reprise their roles as kings and queens of Narnia. It has been said they cannot carry the story but these stories do no rely on a single set of actors to carry them. The whole point of Narnia is that the characters change but the story goes on. That depth of meaning allows Will Poulter as the obnoxious Eustace Scrubb (he really does deserve the name) to be ultimately redeemable and he can take credit for a fine artful-dodger-style performance although not for the cgi dragon...
I was interested to see how another director would handle Narnia. Michael Apted's direction was a seamless takeover from Adamson, I imagine that was a conscious decision and the right way to go. Apted did a fine job in bringing this film to the screen and as one who has waited 40 years to see it, I loved what he did with the magician's Mansion, Death Water, Dark Island, Ramandu's Island... I can't think of a single thing that didn't exceed this Narnia fan's expectations and I look forward to the next.
By the way, if you already own 3D glasses of that type with red/green lenses, they won't work here. 3D is not done like that any more. It's done by polarising lenses. Light rotates clockwise for one eye, anticlockwise for the other and then the frames are alternated on screen at terrific speed to fool your brain into thinking the images are not alternating but simultaneous. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the extended dvd so that I can study the making of... One of my favourite things about film is getting behind the scenes. Ooooo how do they do that? How did they make that water so - wet?
I was glad to hear the name Jill Pole mentioned right at the end of the film - it held out hope that I will indeed be going back to Narnia even is Edmund and Lucy will not. Can't wait.
"Once a King or Queen in Narnia, Always a King or Queen."