THE PRODUCERS of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have bundled
together an impressive package of extras for the DVD release of the film, just
in time for Easter.
The most important thing, though, is the chance to see the film again. The
good news is that it survives a second viewing. Somehow, divorced from the
"Chronicles of Narnia" pomp of the film's cinema release, it comes across as
more straightforward and decent.
As our original reviewer remarked (
Arts, 9 December 2005), the dialogue in the film is too much in awe of the
book. There were just a few Shrek-like outbreaks (the director, Andrew
Adamson, had cut his teeth on the Shrek films), particularly with the
Beavers, and the talking horse ("My name is Philip"); and the line that
miraculously survived the Hollywood machine: "We're not heroes - we're from
Away from a cinema audience, however, these moments matter less, and the
adventure takes over.
Among the extras, there's an illuminating interview with the producer, who
described how Adamson began by sketching out a treatment for the film based on
his memory of reading the book as a child, before rereading it. This retained
the dramatic balance of the story, since Lewis polishes off many of the biggest
scenes in a few paragraphs.
The interviews also pointed up some bits that I'd missed, such as the fact
that the wardrobe is carved with scenes from The Magician's Nephew,
what would now be called the prequel. And in "the making of" scenes, it was
enjoyable to watch how Georgie Henley, who played young Lucy, was led blindfold
on to the set by the lampost, so that the cameras could capture her genuine
delight at the snow scene.
It's a value judgement how much to show young children, though. Do they
really want to see Mr Tumnus walking around with fluorescent green tights with
red blotches, ready for his computer-generated goat's legs? Or see a small
group of bulky men with remote controls operating the "muscles" in the head of
one of the minotaur villains?
In a nerdy moment, it was good to see how the frozen waterfall scene was
created on sets in three different countries. But in the end, the film's the
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,
Disney/Walden, two-disc DVD £24.99; single-disc DVD £20.99 (though offers are