Well, we made it to the show on the opening weekend, and I wouldn't have missed it.
First, let me list my disappointments, then I'll balance it out with what I really think:
The first disappointment was that there were very few people in the theatre when we arrived - very few indeed. More folks arrived in dribs and drabs before the feature began, but it was still a largely empty house. Heidi says they did a bad job of advertising, and too few people knew about it - that may be true, but I had seen the trailer online a long time ago and was receiving regular updates leading up to the release, so I can't really say.
The next disappointment was the alteration of the storyline. As in the previous installments, I understand that there are cuts and changes that will need to be made in order to present the novel in movie form, but this time it seemed excessive to me. When cutting scenes, there is likely to be information that needs to be restored somehow, and that necessitates adding something. I get it.
Still, adding characters and changing the nature of one of the threats seemed jarring to me.
OK, that's it for disappointments.
As always, these films have actors, settings, and effects which simply look the way they did in my head when I read the books. It's uncanny, but they seem to match Heidi's internal scenery as well. Perhaps Lewis was just that good, or perhaps these films are good enough to make us realise that, "That's just what that looked like!" at each turn. I don't know, and I don't really care - it's just wonderful that it works.
The music is great - I don't remember who wrote it, but it worked throughout by supporting the action and not really quite drawing attention to itself.
The effects are actually quite seamless - I think I only once saw anything that took me out of my willing suspension of disbelief, and that was a very quick scene of a faun jumping and landing with his knees going the same way mine do, but it was only a very quick flash.
So, my disappointments really come down to a preference for the original storyline, and the lack of folks in the seats at our showing. Perhaps we chose exactly the wrong time to see a big audience, as it was at "normal" people's dinner time.
At the same time, the movie really was a joy, and I very much hope to see the rest of the Chronicles hit the silver screen. (I think it's going to take a bunch of us buying tickets and DVDs to ensure that.) It will be interesting to see if the original children of the film will be old enough to play themselves as adults when we get to the Last Battle.
To sum up - do yourself a favour and go see this movie. It's an excellent adaptation of the novel (despite my quibbles), and it's an excellent movie on its own.