Characters are beginning to arrive in Narnia for the upcoming feature film of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Last week, the extraordinary Tilda Swinton (Orlando, Adaptation) was announced as the actress playing the villainous White Witch. Now, James McAvoy (TV's Band of Brothers, Children of Dune) has been assigned the role of Mr. Tumnus, the faun who welcomes four young heroes to their first adventure in C. S. Lewis's famous fantasyland.
The director, Andrew Adamson, is off to a good start. Swinton is a formidable actress, capable of spooking viewers with just a glance, and yet she's also exotically beautiful. She could fulfill Lewis's description of that bone-chilling baddie brilliantly. McAvoy's still unknown to most moviegoers. He'll have his hands (hooves?) full playing the gentle faun who becomes a target of the witch's wrath. Now comes the real challenge—finding child actors talented enough to play Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy without making them corny or merely cute.
Adamson's got a good track record so far, but is he right for Narnia? That's something to think about as you watch the film he's turned loose in theatres this week—Shrek 2.
Shrek stands as one of the most successful family films of all time. When it was released, it boasted standard-setting animation. It wove fairy tales together with a wicked wit, turning the genre on its head and mercilessly spoofing the often-superficial, saccharine storytelling of Disney animation studios. But it also damaged its own credibility by relying far too heavily on cheap punch lines, flatulence jokes, and pop culture references, as if the filmmakers did not trust their own story to hold the attention of both ...1
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