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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Hanging with Bob: Chess and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
11th-Dec-2005 03:24 am
I See You!
Well, I'm dropping off after a brutal chess game with Bob. He came in from the library at midnight to find me still sitting on the same spot on the couch, grading the same stack of papers that he left me with this afternoon. I thought it was only about 10pm, so I was amazed when he mentioned the time. We just simply caught up for awhile before starting to play, and chatted intermittently as we sat before the window, listening to sounds of freshman running around doing their thing outside of McCormick Hall, and laughing at the bizarre irony when I commented at how much the drunken bellowing of someone stepping out of Caffrey's Pub sounded like a Muslim call to prayer. Our chess match looked rather drunken, too, with both of us being pretty evenly matched. Meaning we're both pretty bad. I gave away about half my pieces before the sheer Darwinian weight of the process made me focus and start fighting back. We called a break--if not quite a draw--as things got even and it became clear that we were well past Bob's bedtime. He may head home to Michigan tomorrow, or it's possible he may stick around for a bit more work.

We caught The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last night, with his fellow Biblical student Jim Carlson, who also pastors a Baptist church in the western suburbs. I never see Jim anymore so that was a cool chance to catch up for me. The film itself was fine, most of the effects pretty good. I wasn't sold on Liam Neeson for Aslan's voice, although I concede that that would be an awfully difficult casting job. Certainly I was pleased to see such details as cavalry using lances. (These were inexplicably absent for most of the Riders of Rohan in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, who then, along with such absurdities as Faramir's cavalry charge of the walls of Osgiliath, allowed a book to be published on the "strategy and tactics" of the movie. I would rule that world.) I thought the woman who played the White Witch--Tilda Swinton, of whom I'd never heard, although now that I look her up on imdb I now remember her from Constantine as Gabriel, where she looked disconcertingly like my college girlfriend Angie Brunner--did a very satisfying job, being both coldly regal and outright feral at appropriate moments. Mostly though, Bob and I ended up talking about just the limitations inherent to adapting a children's book to the screen. It was a good adaptation, as faithful as I could hope, I think, although I confess I didn't re-read the book before seeing the film, as I'd hoped. But being a faithful adaptation of what it was, it's at a much more basic level in terms of character than I'd normally hope for. More than anything else, with literature the art is in the language, and so much of the language is lost in a film. To adapt the story is not the same as to adapt the text. That, I am sure, is impossible, and maybe something as simple as a children's story is more likely to lose in being adapted to the screen.
Comments 
12th-Dec-2005 12:37 am (UTC)
Hmm. I don't know that I'm not recommending it. And oddly enough, while I agree--given the nature of the books--that Lewis imagery in the Chronicles is less powerful than Tolkien's, I suspect that it's really the Tolkien adaptations that are going to mess with my memory/mental images more than this one will. Still, I never want to read a set of the Chronicles that lacks the original Pauline Baynes' illustrations. Even after seeing the movie--and by all means take the kids if they want to see it--Baynes' drawing for children remain more fundamental to me.

Or at least that's what I currently imagine!
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