The Role Of Suspense In The Chronicles Of Narnia
Narnia is a world that was found entering a magical wardrobe that was found while playing a game of hide-and-seek in the home of an elderly professor. In this mysterious land, the four children discover a charming, peaceful land crawling with talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants that has become a cold world cursed to eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Under the guidance of a noble ruler, the lion Aslan, the siblings fight to overcome the White Witch’s powerful hold over Narnia in a spectacular, climactic battle that will free Narnia from her spell forever. C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” is an amazing adventure of four Pevensie siblings who are Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter that is a wonderful movie overall with the plot, composition, cinematography, suspense, and originality.
During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a house in the country where they will be safe. They were bored out of their minds once they arrived and were dragged into playing hide-and-seek by their youngest, Lucy. While Peter, the eldest, counted to 100, the three others dispersed into the mansion to find the best hiding spot. Lucy wandered into a room that contained a big wooden wardrobe so being the curious child that she is, she went in and hid there. From that moment on, everything changed. The plot of this movie is spectacular. There are five different elements to a plot; exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The five parts all work together to build suspense and flow together smoothly to create one unified storyline. C.S. Lewis and the director of the film, Andrew Adamson did an awesome job of executing all components and lining it up with the book.
To have a marvelous plot, it is so important that the arrangement of the story goes together. The composition must be perfect because, without that, the audience will be very confused as to what the story even is. The composition is important because it directs the audience’s attention and allows us to instantly convey information and subtext. The transitions were flawless which allowed the flow of this movie to be amazing and it is proven by how many fans there were. The author and directors did a fantastic job of making sure that there were no cracks with the way each scene followed the next.
With the scenes, the physical set also plays a huge role in a cinema. Cinematographer, Don McAlphine started his career in making small films in Australia before landing the big-budget movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Cinematographers work closely with both the set and art designers and sometimes, one scene can be very complicated because they are not just shot on different sites but could even be shot on different continents. For example, the first scene of Mr. Tumnus’ cave. You would think that it would just be fake snow and a cardboard cave but in reality, it is much more than that. The team initially found an actual cave in the Czech Republic and rebuilt it in New Zealand but came across a slight problem. The ceiling was too low. McAlphine did everything in his power to make it so that the scene would be perfect. When they went back to Europe in January to shoot some scenes outside the cave, there wasn’t any snow! The team hoped and hoped and luckily on the last day they were supposed to be there, it snowed immensely and they were able to get the shots. The shimmering blankets of snow, burdened trees and ice outside, and the feel of the cozy cave were all essential establishing points of the movie. Every single scene was panned out perfectly to match the tone of each act. Every single detail McAlphine included is what made this Narnia such a hit.
A perfect set of each scene is essential. You’ve heard the phrase “correlation does not imply causation”, but in this case, it is false. Every good movie will have some sort of suspense. The suspense keeps the audience on edge and makes them anticipate the resolution. I never would have predicted that Aslan would come back to life after the White Witch killed him. I do not think anyone could have predicted that when Lucy, Susan, Peter, and the Beavers were traveling to save Edmund, it was not Jadis who was chasing them but in fact, it was Father Christmas who came bearing gifts! The gifts that he bore aligns with all of the suspense because, during war, Peter’s shield and sword, Susan’s horn, and bow and arrow, and Lucy’s healing cordial were all used to keep the story and the suspense going by making war much more exciting and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats wondering, who will win?
What makes this film so special is its originality. Originality is a new concept or idea that has hardly been explored in the past. What makes Narnia so unique is the symbolism it portrays and the deeper meaning to it all. It is one of the very few fantasies that tie in Christianity into the plot. Aslan, the one true King of Narnia, symbolizes Jesus. Aslan appears in Narnia as large and terrifying, magnificent and wise, and one with kind eyes. Although he never changes, as people grow in wisdom and character, they can perceive more of his greatness. Aslan is very wise, and a powerful force for good. Queen Jadis, the White Witch who has ruled Narnia for 100 years, represents the power of Satan or evil in the world. Aslan’s story corresponds point by point to the story of Jesus Christ in the Bible. Jesus was portrayed as God in a human form and was, therefore, both ‘truly-god’ and ‘truly-incarnate’, like Aslan. The Bible also explains the death of Jesus as a very brutal way of dying, dying on the cross. Similarly, Aslan was tied to the stone table, shaved and tortured, and then killed by the sword of the witch in front of her followers. Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day after his death and Aslan was also resurrected shortly after his death and brings down the forces of evil, like the story of Christ and Satan’s defeat. The film also shows other narratives of the Christian crucifixion story like when Lucy and Susan are at the stone table after the death of Aslan, the table cracks and Aslan disappears. This scene echoes “the emotions of Mary Magdalene and the other women who attend[ed] the tomb of Christ only to find it empty” (Wilson, 2008). Every character is symbolic and that is what makes Narnia such a distinctive movie.
C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”. What a show! Who knew that a simple game like hide-and-seek would have had such an impact on the Pevensie siblings. The plot was so good that there was never a single moment in the movie where I got bored. As smooth as ice, the composition never failed to succeed because everything fit together like a glove. Each set was perfect for each scene, they did a splendid job with the cinematography. Just when you thought things would settle down, the suspense would just start building up again practically making the audience sitting on the edge of their seats! Last but not least, the originality. That is something that you just can’t beat how deep the message is. Narnia is most definitely my favorite movie ever.
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