Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe VS The Wizard of Oz

                                                                 TALE OF THE TAPE

               Title: The Chronicles Of Narnia                                  Title: The Wizard Of Oz
               Tomato Meter: 76%                                                    Tomato Meter: 100%
                IMDB Rating: 6.9                                                        IMDB Rating: 8.2
               Starring: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley                     Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan
               Director: Andrew Adamson                                         Director: Victor Fleming
               Box Office: $745 million                                              Box Office: $17.6 million
               Academy: 1 win                                                           Academy: 2 wins
               Year: 2005                                                                   Year: 1939

Two timeless children's classics leap from the pages onto the silver screen. Both stories center on children being whisked away into a fantasy realm where they are confronted with witches, magic, and the importance of home and family.

Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most popular, but one, in a series of Narnia books. Two others, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Prince Caspian, also were converted to film. Written by C.S. Lewis, this film is for children of all ages, but should be viewed with parents for the younger crowd. Issues of love, family, betrayal, war, hope, life and death are covered in this tale which sees 4 siblings, two brothers and two sisters, who enter a wardrobe and exit into a fantasy realm called Narnia. A White Witch has casted a spell keeping much of Narnia in perpetual winter. Those in Narnia await for the fulfillment of a prophecy, that two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve will save their realm from the Witch, who calls herself the Queen of Narnia. The siblings are that prophecy, being the only humans in Narnia. Edmond, the younger of the two brothers, betrays his brother and sisters to the Witch as she preys upon his envy and resentment of his older brother, Peter. Lucy, the youngest sibling and the first to discover Narnia, learns of Mr. Tumnas's arrest by the Queen. Mr. Tumnas is a fawn, and the first friend Lucy met in Narnia. Edmund escapes the Queen and reunites with his siblings in the presence of Aslan, a guardian of the realm in the form of a lion. The Queen shows up to claim her right over Edmond, but Aslan enters into a negotiation that leads to Edmond's freedom, at the sacrifice of Aslan himself. With Aslan gone, Narnia turns to the four siblings to lead a battle against the Witch-Queens army and save Narnia.

The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic about a young girl named Dorothy who runs away from her farm home in Kansas. Her beloved dog and friend Toto, as incurred the ire of a mean neighbor woman who orders the dog to be destroyed. So she runs off with Toto and meets a travelling fortune teller, and convinces her to return home. She arrive home just as a terrible storm shows up, and a tornado whisks her away to the land of Oz. There she must travel the Yellow Brick Road, meeting strange new friends, including a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a cowardly Lion. She is pursued by the Wicked Witch of the West who want's her ruby slippers given to her from Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Along her adventures she learns about the values of friendship and home. 

Unlike Narnia, Wizard of Oz is told as a musical, with songs memorable to this day. It is a near flawless film that has endured over 70 years. With a young audience in mind, it still resonates with the kid in all of us. You cannot watch this film without coming away feeling better. Its magic is enduring.

Chronicles of Narnia is also a timeless children's story, but didn't hit the screen till just recently. C.S. Lewis tells a tale that is unflinching in its deeper, and richer, subject matter than Oz ever had. Still accessible to young audience, Narnia will elicit more emotions than other children's stories. With elements of sacrifice, family, and kingship, Lewis's Christian values and sensibilities are obvious, without being preachy or condescending to other faiths.

Wizard of Oz is more universal in its themes, and the talent of the cast is impeccable. It is ranked #131 in the AFI 250 movies of all time. Both films are set in the past, but clearly does not detract as both films contain subject matter that can be relatable to today's audiences.

Both competitors enter the ring looking strong. Wizards hits first landing several combos that tell of its enduring experience and longevity. Still, Chronicles stands strong and doesn't go down. By round 6, Chronicles starts flexing its muscle and begins unloading with some impressive combos of its own on the weary Wizard of Oz. Wizards gets knocked down twice, in rounds 8 and 10, but refuses to lay down and gets on its feet. Chronicles proves it has the heart and courage of its opponent, but Wizards still has the advantage of brains, out-thinking Chronicles in the final rounds scoring one knock down at round 13. Still, both films seem they will go the distance until before round 15 when the ref decides Narnia cannot continue and needs emergency medical attention. The fight is stopped. It seems as time goes on, the fans stopped caring for Narnia, and thus Narnia lost its momentum. Without an enduring fan base, the injuries became too much.

According to the judges, we see that Chronicles of Narnia, with its themes and deep narrative, is the better film. But The Wizard of Oz, with its long endurance, and continued impact on modern culture, with movie metaphors used in our cultural lexicon, proves that Wizards will go on. Narnia will become a fond, but forgotten film in decades to come. It's sequels haven't measured up, nor does it endure in the hearts and minds of society. A tragedy, really, since Narnia, a real contender, is forced into retirement. Could Narnia have beaten Wizards? We'll never know.

Winner: The Wizard of Oz

1 comment:

  1. While I agree (how can you beat WoO?) I want a rematch! Return to Oz VS Chronicles #2! It's almost a shame to put two great movies like this up against one another! It's like trying to choose between your children!