Ah, Narnia. That magical land from the timeless tale that so captivated me as a child. This is the tale that inspired me to crawl to the back of every closet I could find, in the hopes I would push back the clothing and my fingers would brush against soft, fragrant pine needles and I would be at the threshold of a new world, covered in snow that sparkled in the light of the famous lamppost. What was it about this story that so piqued my imagination and filled me with the wonder and whimsy of fantasy and fantastic places?
Seriously, what was it? Because I don't remember the last half of the story to be so obvious, flat and actually really, really lame. Or maybe that was just the movie. Maybe I should re-read the book before I go off on the movie version, but what fun would it be to provide an informed rant? I'd rather just bitch about how the film version told it.
First of all, I distinctly remember, even as a kid, feeling kind of sorry for Edmund. I never understood why he was the one that always got shit on. He was sort of like Peter Brady: his voice changed and ruined Greg's song. He had to wear a fake mustache on a date. He accidentally broke Marcia's nose, ruining her career as a teen model before it even started. He had to play Benedict Arnold to Greg's Johnny Bravo. Yeah, he was going to sell out his family and everything, but he was basically just a misunderstood kid living in the shadow of a goody-two-shoes older brother.
Which brings me to point number two: Mr. Man Peter. I hated that fucker from the first time I even heard this story. He got everything for doing absolutely nothing, except be a constant condescending prick. And the pouty, pretty actor that played him in the movie made him even more annoying. "Look, I'm leading the army and riding a unicorn (pout)!" "I need to bail my kid brother out again (pout)!" "If only he would just realize I'M the oldest and I'M the smartest, then he would stop getting himself into these darn pickles and quit dragging the rest of us down with him (pout)!" How in the world did that asswipe get to be the heir to Aslan's empire? He just waltzed in off the street and..."Oh, no! Our capable, experienced ruler has been brutally murdered. Why doesn't the guy that just showed up and who we don't even know become our king! We always wanted a patronizing smartass with no leadership experience to call the shots around here!"
(Hey, wait a second...that sounds strangely familiar. A patronizing smartass with no leadership skills calling the shots...oh, nevermind. Back to the rant)
Third, having the two girls in the story is worse than not having the girls at all. They were completely useless. Their presence in the story seems to be based solely on the fact that the Narnia prophecy called for two "daughters of Eve" to save the world. Sure, Lucy served a small purpose with the whole Tumnus subplot and Susan got to shoot an arrow once, but other than that, all they do is kvetch and mother hen (Susan) and say, "But what about Tumnus/Edmund/the Beavers/Aslan?" (Lucy). The least they could have done in the film is update the roles of the girls. Even The Lord of the Rings had a kick-ass chick.
Finally, the White Witch was so much cooler than everyone else in the story that I wanted her to kill them all* and live frostily ever after in her ice castle with her vile minions and all of her awesome outfits. She could so obviously have crushed any and all of the Pevensie kids and pureed them into Turkish delight with a mere stamp n' grind from the heel of her white Jimmy Choos.
Here is what should have happened: Aslan and the White Witch could agree to disagree and both could vow to lighten up and divide Narnia equally between the two of them. Half of the country could live in winter and the other half in summer and the citizens can be free to roam between the two with no fear and prejudice. At the very least, Edmund should have gotten the chance to lead the good troops against the White Witch to avenge her having taken advantage of him. Better yet, Aslan should have hosted a fight to the death between Edmund and Peter, with the option to tag in Lucy and Susan. Then Edmond could rip his brother to shreds, Lucy could refuse to treat him with her healing potion and Susan could riddle him with arrows (which would be great for some St. Sebastian imagery), with the moral lesson that brown-nosing and patronizing behavior will get you nowhere with your peers. That would be sweet.
Yes, I understand that the story and characters are based on Biblical tales, but the presentation in this movie played up the allusions to the point of blatant obviousness and made the story far too obtuse to work correctly or even make the audience care. Hey, how was that for a 50-cent sentence?
*except Aslan—he was also cool—and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver because they are so darn cute