I watched “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” yesterday.

It was visually exquisite. It was very faithful to the spirit of the book (with one exception I’ll explain later). It was, in a word, a movie which actually made me tear up, due to the sheer power of presentation – which, I’ll say, was due to three things.

1. The absolutely breathtaking visual presentation.

2. The casting genius, and acting skills of the characters.

Most importantly:

3. The story.

As far as #1 goes, this was what made the movie work. No doubt, and no argument allowed. Narnia was…. impossible, incredible, and just like you imagined it as a child. Exactly like it. Whoever came up with the visual “look” for Narnia.. was a genius. The effects were superb, and Aslan was… Aslan. Down to the eyes. It was magnificent.

As for #2: Peter looked exactly like Peter should. Edmund looked just like I’d always imagined Edmund – even down to the bratty older brother looks he gave Lucy. Perfect. Susan was, indeed, Susan the Gentle. Lucy… the most adorable little girl I’ve seen on film since Drew Barrymore in ET.

The acting was great. The white witch was almost perfect… except she was blond. Plus the whole “ninja queen” thing at the end. C’mon. Oh well. Aslan ate her. hah.

Liam as the voice of Aslan … awesome. The dwarf? Picture perfect. The minotaur? Great. The centaurs? Rockin. The fauns? Holy crap, they were great.

The giants! Sweet!

#3? The story, was… C.S. Lewis. Fantasy by a professor of medieval literature is, and SHOULD be good. It is, and always will be, one of the hallmarks of children’s fantasy.

How did they screw up? They departed from the story. Every part of it that was Lewis’ shone through with the brilliance of a master’s work. If you realize a master’s work, it will be masterful. The departures looked forced, they didn’t make as much sense as sticking with the story would have, and the character departures were jarring. Even if I hadn’t read the books over 3-4 dozen times, I’d still say the same. Peter was Peter… until they made him a wuss. Then, he was someone else for a while – and it showed. Edmund was spot-on. Susan was a bit less gentle then she should have been, and a bit more bossy. Lucy… was spot-on. The two older children were messed with, and they should not have been, to fit cultural “norms”. The book is about gentle young women, and strong young men, and how those two are what make Men and Women.

Anyway. The movie, despite the departures, is EXCELLENT. I recommend it very highly. I really wish they hadn’t changed parts, the same as I wished it with LOTR. Despite that, it’s incredible. Peter’s charge will bring tears of joy to your eyes, you young men. Don’t be ashamed. That sort of thing is what young men are made for. A glorious charge, a righteous fight – these are the things men are built to do. We love them. Well we should.

Aslan’s roar… a thing of beauty. There’s too many great things to count. A few things which mar it, but overall, it’s awesome.

Watch it. Peter isn’t as strong as he should be – but he’s still the High King he should be, once the battle starts. Edmund is still the hero, attacking the Witch. It’s not quite – the BBC version was closer to the book. This version, however, is simply a masterpiece, (visually) if not quite as story-perfect. The BBC version’s effects are quite dated. This is Narnia, and nothing else has ever looked anything close.

Aslan is on the move. Long live Aslan.