BBC Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- 2019 Review

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BBC Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- 2019 Review

Postby Cleander » Feb 26, 2019 7:50 pm

This past month I watched the BBC version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" for the first time! I had seen all the other BBC Narnia movies, but I finally got around to watching the first one last! :-\
So here's my review:
First, I would like to make allowances for the lower level of technology these people had to work with (who doesn't?). BUUUT.... for the 1980's even, I think this was totally corny. The animal costumes were not as realistic as they could have been, the acting (especially Barbara Kellerman as the White Witch) was overdone and awkward, the animated creatures were both stupid AND unnecessary, and the battle... oh boy. They didn't even look like they were fighting! And the music didn't fit and blah blah blah blah....
OK, I know that's probably a common shpiel among many Narnia fans. So now, what aspects of the BBC LWW were admirable? What did they get right that other versions should (have) pay(ed) attention to?
There were a lot of things that did stand out to me, actually here's a few of them:
1. The White Witch's Castle was made of stone. True to the book, with a very creepy interior, though not a very big one. And it doesn't run the obvious risk of melting. ;)
2. Slower pace. There's more time to meet the characters (though I may not have liked all of them) and enjoy the atmosphere of the world (which for the most part is pretty enjoyable. Especially because it's REAL.)
3. More real stuff! There's just no need for CGI backdrops and excessive use of studio sets! The real world has enough beauty in it to have inspired Narnia; let it represent it!
These are just a few on my list; I'm hoping to further discuss this with ya'll later!
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Re: BBC Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- 2019 Review

Postby Col Klink » Feb 26, 2019 8:22 pm

It's been a while since I watched that adaptation but I remember not liking the casting of Peter. Or maybe there was a problem with the writing.

He was always chastising Edmund for being a brat which I theoretically like; it definitely makes sense for the characters. But the way it played out, it made Peter come across as really self righteous compared to the other kids. I found it hard to like him. (When Susan objects to being "it" when they play hide-and-seek, he says she has to because he's the oldest and he says so.)

I know some people are throwing up their hands at me saying that about the BBC series when the Walden Media adaptation of Peter made him way more full of himself and hard to like. But...I can think of other things to say, both good and bad, about that Narnia adaptation. There's not a lot about the BBC LWW that stands out me so I focus on what I can.

I kind of wish there was a transcript of online for me to read. Then I could give more thoughts on the adaptation without having to actually watch the bland thing. ;))
For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
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Re: BBC Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- 2019 Review

Postby Narnian78 » Mar 05, 2019 8:34 am

There was one thing that I liked about the BBC production that hasn't been mentioned here before was the location of filming in Wales and other parts of Britain. I think Narnia (as C. S. Lewis portrayed it) was much like medieval England. The outdoor locations made the setting feel more like Britain (where much of it was actually filmed), and although they didn't have much money, I think that part of it worked. As for the sets, they were simple and maybe even a bit plain according to the small budget, but I think they did the job. The Beaver's house and dam were actually quite good. If they had more expensive equipment the artwork of the sets and the outdoor locations (e.g. of Scotland where I think the White Witch came to Edmund) would have shown up better.

Of the actors I loved Tom Baker as Puddleglum in The Silver Chair. In fact I think he was as about as good as he was as Dr. Who. It doesn't really matter that much to me if some people believe the series was corny. The actors playing the four children were not professionals and performed as well as most children would. The animal costumes probably could have been better, but maybe the people that made them thought they were making the best ones possible.

If you visit The Lamp-post Listener podcast you will find a generally positive review of the old BBC series. Here is a link to the podcast:

I think it is the best and most fair review that I have found of the BBC version because it discusses both the positive qualities and limitations (imperfections) that the old series had. It's also well worth checking out their other podcasts.
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