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Out of the Closet 

by Sherri Boggs & r & 12:45 pm -- Please, please don't mess it up. While everyone else in the parking garage is praying for parking spots, I'm silently hoping I'm not about to see a beloved childhood memory -- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis -- completely defiled.





1:05 -- It's crowded outside the box office, but not quite as bad as I'd imagined. Maybe everyone stayed home because they already heard the movie is gonna suck.





1:06 -- I mean, it's entirely possible. It's directed by the same guy who did Shrek. What if they fill it with cutesy pop culture references or, god forbid, the macarena? Also, what's with these disturbing things I've been hearing about the Christian right and how they're pitching the movie to churches as a sort of a Passion of the Christ - for Kids! Yes, I know C.S. Lewis was a Christian apologist and yes, I know in later years he was not averse to the idea of his books being taken as Christian allegories. But I also know -- because I went through the requisite C.S. Lewis geekfan phase when I was younger -- he first and foremost wanted his books to be, simply, great stories. Therefore, while paying for my overpriced salty snacks, I decide that Mel Gibson and his ilk had better keep their mitts off, or else.





1:30 -- Previews. Does anyone else think it's weird to show a big cinematic commercial for the National Guard right before a kids' flick?





1:40 -- Omigod, omigod, omigod. It's starting. I'm so excited I break my chip in the little plastic tub of quasi-spicy cheese dip.





1:45 -- So far, so good. Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham appears in the credits as co-producer. Somehow I feel reassured that Aslan won't be voiced by Gilbert Gottfried on his watch. And the opening scene was so riveting that everyone around me actually quit eating. No, really. No rustling cellophane, no audible popcorn crunching, not even the rubbery mashing of Red Vines. I quietly stash my Nachos under the seat.





1:52 -- If I had any maternal tendencies at all, I would want a daughter just like Georgie Henley. She's adorable and she has that thing rarely seen in modern cinema -- a completely round face.





1:54 -- OK, Mister Tumnus is creeping me out. I always pictured him as older, not this half-naked, goat-legged college boy who seems awfully eager to get Lucy back to his "cave." I know it's straight out of the book, but still. And aside from the icky "stranger danger" subtext, I keep thinking about SNL's Goat Boy. Bbbglllleeeeeaahhht. Baaaaaghhhaaahhh.





1:57 -- Tell me that what I am hearing right now is not Enya.





2:01-- Watching Edmund cram his maw with Turkish Delight, I find myself laughing. Because every little kid who reads The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe grows up thinking it's some kind of delicious confection when really -- and if you've had it, you'll agree with me -- it's ghastly. Think Aplets & amp; Cotlets but without any flavor.





2:07 -- Wow. I just had the lovely experience of being completely sucked in. I forgot to be a mean, cynical adult for a moment and found myself 100 percent engrossed in the film. That hasn't happened in such a long time.





2:23 -- Tilda Swinton is scary. Like scarier than Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger. She's got this pissed-off White Witch thing down.





2:34 -- Good god, that's an amazing costume. Seriously, you should see what the White Witch is wearing. It's like 1950s-wedding-dress-meets-Bjork. It makes her shoulders look gi-normous and on top of the whole ensemble she's got this tumble of red and blonde dreads. The whole effect is really quite fabulous.





2:39 -- Talking animals.





2:41 -- What the hell? Father Christmas?? I'm about to curse Disney in my head when I remember this particular plot point is Lewis's fault, not Disney's. Grrr.





2:45 -- Oh, whew. Another test passed. Aslan (superbly voiced by Liam Neeson) actually looks like he's supposed to and bears no resemblance to the unfortunate animatronic creature of the BBC version from 20 years ago. Somewhere in the audience, (I hope it's not me) someone goes, "Kitty!"





2:59 -- I was holding my breath during the big, uh, sacrifice scene. Half of me was afraid the Disney/Walden Media people would make it embarrassingly religious. The other part of me was afraid I might start crying like a little girl.





3:35 -- It's over. And you know what, I liked it. It had its flaws and it will probably come up short whenever it's inevitably compared to Lord of the Rings. But as an adaptation, it's nice work. My inner geek is surprisingly satisfied (and this in spite of Alanis Morrisette singing on the credits)!

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