Director of children's movies.
Shrek (2001) -- Directed with Vicky Jenson. One of the first of the computer-animated children's movies that's nothing but one stupid pop-culture reference after another. Some clever or funny bits here and there that prevent it from becoming completely nauseous, but nowhere near a classic. (Andrew Adamson also directed the sequel, Shrek 2.) C
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) -- The C.S. Lewis book had a profound effect on me at age ten, just as it did for many other children. In a way, the worst thing about this big popular movie being made is that readers of Narnia no longer have a "secret handshake" to give each other when they meet, and -- worse than that -- the images on the screen will be what Narnia is to most people, possibly from now on, whether they eventually read the books or not. As I always say, movies shouldn't be compared to books and vice-versa, but with some books you do feel a certain amount of defensiveness toward the material. If handled properly, everything is fine. Tolkien fans (including myself ) were for the most part more than pleased at Peter Jackson's perfect and loving treatment of The Lord of the Rings, but Andrew Adamson ain't Peter Jackson. He's the guy who directed Shrek. So things could have easily gone wrong. Did they? Not really, but they didn't go as great as they could have either. The children did the best job, especially Lucy, though Edmund (my favorite kid from all the Narnia books) seemed oddly invisible, even though he was the central "hero" (or anti-hero) of the story if you really think about it. The big surprise was Tumnus, who I always pictured as a middle-aged fawn, but the young guy they got to play him was perfect and enhanced my view of Tumnus in the way that I wish the movie could have enhanced my view of the story itself. I also wasn't crazy about the computer-animated characters. I don't mind computer-animated characters if done well (see Gollum, Yoda, etc.), but these basically looked like cartoons. I sort of missed the sweet BBC versions of Narnia where people would just get into stage play-style beaver costumes; they seemed more realistic than the characters created by Rhythm & Hues, the same company that did the Scooby Doo and Garfield movies. Aslan was passable, but his face was too thin or something. He looked like an anemic lion, and somehow Liam Neeson's voice for him was anemic too. And finally the story itself seemed kind of thin, or possibly even confusing. Everything seemed to happen very quickly, which might have been intended, but I felt sort of thrown in without getting to fall in love with anything. One of the best scenes that did take its time was the initial entry into Narnia and the special attention given to the snowscape, trees, music, etc. I felt the magic during that moment, magic that was lost through other parts of the movie, and magic is what's most important in Narnia. If you don't feel that special magic, the story might as well not be told. So I've got mixed feelings about what many are calling "Lord of the Rings Lite" (the perfect description really), but for the most part I really enjoyed the film and was happy at many of the choices made. If nothing else, I'm happy that they're shooting the movies in the right order (the box sets for the books are incorrectly numbered, claiming that you should read The Magician's Nephew first, even though it's actually the sixth book), and I can't wait for them to do more. B
Copyright (c) Jan 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies