Well, it didn't lose any of its beauty nor its impact for me on a second viewing. Still so pretty, and I felt it mostly held true to the book. There are a few places where I actually like what they did in the film better - particularly that Mr. Tumnus is the first to be released from having been turned to stone. And OMG, Lucy's facial expressions during that scene - that girl is an AMAZING actress! All the other kids are too, really, but we do seem to see more of Lucy than of anyone else. And little Ms. Henley is spectacular. I almost hate to compare them, but IMO, she puts the Harry Potter kids to SHAME. (Not that I blame the kids entirely - I think a lot of the blame falls on the directors, who have perhaps not gotten as good of reactions out of the trio as the Narnia director got out of the Pevensie children). But still, all of the Narnia children were wonderful, not to mention deeply attractive and believeable as a family.
Let's see - I also liked the scene they added to the beginning for its emotional impact. I was in tears AGAIN tonight at the thought of all those parents sending their children away. I really can't imagine it. Seriously. I also liked the bit where Edmund wanted the photo of his father, although I'm not sure if I think it's really in character for Edmund as we know him at that stage in the books. It seemed to me that they wanted us to see that Edmund thought he could protect his father by making sure the picture stayed safe, too, which is a lovely thought, but, like I said, is that how Edmund really was at that point? *shrugs* Don't know.
Jadis was more than suitably horrible - also well cast. Oh - and wanna talk about creepy? 1) Jadis' eyes after she kills Aslan. OMG how big and dark are her irises? She looks like she's just got gigantic black pupils. I didn't notice that the first time, but I did notice this time and it was SO creepy. Also, 2) OMG, how disgusting is it that she made herself some attire out of ASLAN'S MANE, and rode into battle dressed like that???? Super disgusting, and such a really WONDERFUL touch on the part of the filmmakers. Bordering on brilliant, I think.
McAvoy was adorable (although I'm not lusting over him as certain others on my f-list seem to be :D Nor, for that matter, do I have any reason to be relieved that William Moseley is of age. ;) ). And most of the CGI animals were really well done - a few of them were spectacularly believeable; others, not so much. I didn't really like Maugrim's voice. Nothing against Michael Madson, but I found his voice to not quite fit the character, somehow. This might be due to the fact that I'm so used to hearing Maugrim with a Scottish accent, as that's how Michael York plays him on the audiobook. Hmnh. That just might be it, in which case I'm not really being fair to Madson, am I? Although, I still prefer the brogue. :D
Speaking of dialogue (heh), that brings me to another thing I've noticed in this film, and other book adaptations (particularly Harry Potter). Sometimes, I just don't get why the screen writers change dialogue from the books. Oh sure, manipulating certain things is unavoidable, and I'm not expecting everything to be taken right from the text, but in scenes that happen pretty much as they do in the book, why oh why do they screw around with the dialogue so much? I noticed several times in this film (as well as all the HP films), where the original dialogue has SO much impact that I remember those original lines, and yet they changed them for something that just wasn't as powerful. And I wonder why on earth they would change them. Erm, if the author had enough going on to write a book that was worthy of a film adaptation, perhaps we should try and use as much of that material as possible, don't you think? Of course, now I can't think of a specific example, but I know there was one in that first scene with Lucy and Tumnus, and others later on, as well. (And I so wanted here her to say, "Rather!" when he asked if he could keep the handkerchief. That's SO cute, but they changed that around, too, so they could balance it out at the end of the film. Wah). I really don't get why filmmakers mess with stuff that really would have been better left alone. *shrugs*
Hmnh. I'm kind of jumping all over the place here, but I've just remembered I wanted to say some things about Susan. She's not a favourite character of mine in the books, but I think she got a REALLY raw deal in the film. Because I am VERY certain that no other daughter of Eve in the history of humankind was ever forced to wear such gawd-awfully ugly shoes before. Those loafers were just dreadful, and thank heavens she got to change them out when she and Lucy changed into Narnian clothes. :D
Okay, so I did hate Susan's shoes, but seriously, I really do think she got a raw deal. Even though in the book, Susan is the reticent one, the one not wanting to go off on adventures, she did NOT whinge and moan about things all the time, as she seems to do in the film. IIRC, once they actually commit to staying in Narnia (and going to visit Mr. Tumnus, before they even know he's been arrested), Susan never again says one word about going home. Oh wait - maybe she does say something after they learn about the arrest, but once Lucy points out that they really MUST help him, because Lucy herself was "the human," Susan is the one who agrees that yes, they really do have to stay and do something to fix things. So why did they make her so whiney? And why did Peter keep trying to send the others home? Again, I don't see what that added, so why change it from the original? Ah. If only they'd have asked me. Of course, I hadn't read the books myself yet when this movie went into production, so perhaps my advice wouldn't have been that valuable. (Not so with the second, third and fourth HP films, though. I could have kicked ASS as an advisor on those). ;)
As with my first viewing, one of the moving scenes for me was the one with Father Christmas. I like that scene in the book, too, but it had a LOT more impact on me to actually SEE Peter pulling that sword out of his sheath - that just seemed so WRONG to me. They're children; they shouldn't have been involved in a war like this. Of course, it's fantasy and that's sort of the point of the whole thing, and in the book it doesn't seem so awful to me - I've read all sorts of children's literature where the children are put in completely inappropriate situations, and it's wonderful good fun. But there was something for me about seeing him on screen with that sword that hit me very hard. War IS an ugly business (and HAH! I KNEW they would change that line from the original, as there's no way they could have let the original line stand. It's certainly my least favourite line in the entire book), and in reality children shouldn't be in those situations. (Neither should grown men and women, for that matter, but I digress). And sweet, brave Lucy. *loves*
This film also got me thinking about war in general, and how awful it is. Some of the scenes of the battle are VERY moving, and really bring home the point that yes, some things are worth fighting and dying for (I felt this way during parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well). And I started to feel a bit guilty and hypocritical about how strongly I'm against the war in which my country is currently engaged. I felt like I was showing more respect and affection towards the characters in this film than to the real-life men and women who are over now fighting in the Middle East. But then I stopped and remembered that it's NOT that simple, is it? In Narnia, it's pretty clear cut who the villian is. Jadis is evil, unashamedly so, and her army was pretty much entirely dreadful creatures who really just wanted to wreack havoc on the "good" guys. And that's *not* the situation in the Middle East, no matter what George Bush would like us to believe. If anything, I'd have to say that HE is the Jadis in this particular equation, and that thought made me feel ill. Because that means that we (meaning the U.S.), are not the Narnians. And isn't that a horrible thought? *sigh* I'm not sure this was the point the filmmakers expected I would take away with me, but there you have it.
To end this one not such a depressing note, I'll gush just a bit more about the excellent acting - one of my favourite scenes in that way was when Lucy and Susan come down to Aslan's dead body. They're both SO expressive, and it was really heartbreaking to watch - both of them, in different ways. Although I found so many things about this film to be beautifully well-done, in the end, I think it really does come down to the fact that those four children were amazingly believeable, and that's what made the whole thing work. So, YAY for the Pevensie children! *loves*