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Berengaria (Denmark)

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The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe [DVD] [2005]
The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Georgie Henley
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.97

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and (almost) perfect, 4 Dec. 2006
It has been a few years since I read C.S. Lewis' magical tale, so perhaps that is why I accept this film much more readily than die-hard book fans. However, this movie IS well-made. Although the story is compressed, Narnia comes to life. The panoramic splendor of New Zealand, the gorgeous special effects and perhaps most of all, the soaring music all make a vivid, textured back-drop to the story.

I think you have to think of "Narnia" also as a movie/story in its own right; the characters of the four children are changed and exaggerated to give room for development. Peter is the well-meaning eldest, trying to replace their lost father when he is basically still a child; Susan is the "smart one", almost hyper-rational, and she must learn to doubt her loved ones less; Edmund is quite a weakling, a sulky selfish little boy, but I like him because you can see the guilt that plagues him, which makes his final transformation more convincing; Lucy is always the ideal child, trusting, innocent, single-minded and brave. Yet her vulnerability is partly what brings this fragmented family back together.

I give this movie four stars because there were a few things I didn't agree with. The acting is ocasionally stiff and I found the White Witch's costume irritating (why is she wearing an inverted cone around her torso?). But the visual impact of her palace was awesome. As time wears on (and visual technology improves), Aslan looks less convincing, but I still love how his mane shimmers when he moves and the expressiveness of his face.

This is a very personal creation, a very specific vision of Narnia, but beautifully crafted one. I would rather see a director's heartfelt version than something utterly debased by trying to please everyone. The characters are heavier, the story less innocent and childlike, and the Christian allegories are minimised. But the morals are still there, C.S. Lewis' beautiful tale about the human nature of good and evil, embodied in four "ordinary" children.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2009 12:26 AM BST

The Ringed Castle: The Lymond Chronicles Book Five
The Ringed Castle: The Lymond Chronicles Book Five
by Dorothy Dunnett
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book in the series, 4 Dec. 2006
Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are an epic achievement, in terms of research, scope as well as gripping narrative. "The Ringed Castle", however, is one of the best books in the series (next to Game of Kings and Checkmate). This is due in part to her fabulous depiction of Russia, a fledgling nation in an all but fledgling environment. The humbling landscape of ice deserts and primeval forests is a superb backdrop to the struggles of these hearty, savage people and their tragic, gifted tsar. Then there is the continued mystery of Lymond himself. Although we feel we know most everything about him - his age, his haunted past - Dunnett still bewilders us with his behavior. We have to start over again as we try to understand the changes in his character. Parallel to to the swashbuckling and continent-sweeping intrigue, Dunnett sets the stage for the finale in this singular man's emotional odyssey. And she brings another character to maturity, whom we all have watched with interest; Phillippa comes into her own in this book, unconsciously wielding a power far greater than she or we anticipated.

This book has a certain place in the series, so don't read it out of hand - but look forward to it!

The Last Of The Mohicans [1992] [DVD]
The Last Of The Mohicans [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: £3.75

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, heartfelt and well-acted, 4 Dec. 2006
This movie tells, mostly, the epic love story of Cora Munro, the strong-willed daughter of a Scots colonel, and Hawkeye, white adopted son of Chingachook of the dying Mohican tribe. Caught in the blood and mayhem of the French and Indian War in 1757, Cora meets the rugged frontiersman when he, his "father" and "brother", Uncas, save her, her sister Alice and their escort, Major Duncan Heyward, during an ambush. The passion growing between Cora and Hawkeye is challenged by Duncan's jealousy and the bloodlust of Magua, a Huron war-leader bent on revenge.

This is a masterpiece because it combines inspired cinematography and score with a layered story that blends epic symbolism with a stirring attention to human emotion. Although it focuses on Cora and Hawkeye, the minor characters are also given space; we see Duncan's weakness and internal struggle, Magua's bitterness and, most skillfully, the love of Uncas and Alice. Totally overshadowed by Cora and Hawkeye, the romantic awakening of timid Alice and quiet Uncas is shown in tiny flashes and only at the end do they shine, and you realize the power of their feelings quite matches those of their bolder siblings.

The ethereal, panoramic views are glory enough, but the score is perhaps the best I've heard in a soundtrack. It captures the mood and the era - the exotic drumbeats mixed with the poignant European orchestra. It makes you soar, but hints at grief; it reminds you that these people were at the mercy of the wilderness, embodied as much by the savagery of the war as by the humbling environment.

I recommend this film because it rests firmly not just on cast or crew or script, but all three. It portrays the frontier as a crucible for social and racial distinction, but also for moral and emotional boundaries. As a date romance, an action adventure, or a human drama best studied over and over (as I have), it is EXCELLENT!

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