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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

This is the BBC miniseries, not the 2005 Disney movie!


I checked the double decker VHS of this series (which I always thought was a movie until I was looking up run time) out from the library over and over and over as a child. I loved the Oz books as a kid and a helpful librarian turned me to the book series (which I loved) and then introduced me to this movie/series. I haven't watched it much as an adult, but when the DVD passed in front of me at the used bookstore I used to work at, I knew a treasure when I saw it and snatched it up. I'm very glad I did.


I actually like the 2005 film plenty and it would be really easy to take a dump on the effects and makeup in the 1988 version in comparison, but honestly, the production value of the Disney movie is what I like least about it. So much spectacle. The BBC one takes the story and focuses it on the children who are just so accepting of the new world they've found themselves in. One of my favorite exchanges is when Tumnus and Lucy first meet. He says, "I've never met a human girl before!" And she says, "I've never had tea with a Faun before!" Like the tea is the miraculous part! And that's what I love about Lucy and the books.




I have infinite and deep fondness for Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. (I started crying when James McAvoy was revealed in that movie. I felt like I was seeing a very old friend for the first time in years.) I'm particular to this Lucy, too. She's such a child and there is not a bit of Hollywood about her. There is something so beautiful about Lucy's willingness to befriend a stranger/mythical creature. There is something lovelier still in his acknowledgment of his wrongdoing and her immediate forgiveness. I have always related to Lucy the most of the Pevensies (I think you're meant to) and I mourn the loss of my most Lucy-like qualities. I'm finding my way back but gosh it's hard to realize you've lost things like trust and forgiveness and selflessness. I also realized watching this that Mr. Tumnus' home is where my aesthetic came from. Give me a cozy fireplace, tons of books and paintings, and a table full of good food to share with a friend. Faun-core. I also would not say no to that lovely velvet cutaway coat he wears.


So much of this book/series has worked its way into my regular speech and it's funny to realize that. I am very guilty of harshly whispering "ASLAN IS ON THE MOVE" when I see the first robin of springtime but also "do not cite the deep magic to me" and a few others I heard in this viewing and thought "OH that's where I got that".


I really love the animated mythical creatures, the style and the choice. I think it works well, especially with the technology available at the time. But I had to chuckle every time they show the "good" mythical creatures. Creatures like a griffon, a cockatrice(?), a pegasus, and... a pelican? I hope it breathes fire. The Aslan puppet is fabulous and I want to hug it/ride it SO BAD.


As an adult who became disillusioned with the Catholic Church and religion in general not long after I became an "adult", and as a former child who had no idea that the Narnia books were about Christianity, I'm very surprised that I still have such a depth of feeling for these stories. But I think they represent what I wish modern religion embodied more. Kindness, forgiveness, acknowledgement of our own shortcomings, a desire to raise others up, keeping self sacrifice to yourself rather than burdening others with that knowledge, love. THAT is a world I find welcoming and inviting. (But then C.S. Lewis falls short with some REAL BS regarding women just peppered all over these stories... and that tracks with religion... SUSAN PEVENSIE DESERVED BETTER!)


Many many many different materials. 6"x12"x9"

"The City of Wardrobe in the Land of Spare Oom"





Takeaways:

-Oh gosh I loved working on this project. I love working in miniature. I love layering in details (I wish I'd gotten a better picture of the footprints I pushed into the "snow"). I love being "extra" (a term I hate because it's dismissive but also, me). Aside from the cost I sunk into this one, I could do this kind of project forever.

-Some things that didn't make it in for various reasons: a sheet of acetate to get attached to the front of the woods side so it could be "snowing", Lucy and Tumnus sculptures, I made three fur coats and one empty hanger (to insinuate that Lucy was inside) but the fur is so bulky you couldn't see the woods!

-I have so few notes. I'm just really pleased. I wish I could climb inside and go have a tea.


Next week: Toy Story! Have a fabulous week and get in touch with your inner Lucy. She'll be so pleased to see you.

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