The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
has often been compared to another fantasy-epic-turned-movie, Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings
. This four-disc extended edition is a clear attempt to reinforce those comparisons, and it's a worthwhile DVD set, even if it falls quite a bit short of the LOTR
must-have extended editions. For starters, the extended cut is a mere seven minutes longer than the theatrical cut, 150 minutes to 143. The additions add a bit of depth to the story--Lucy offering her stuffed animal to Edmond on the train and seeing a fish frozen in the water near the beavers' home, Susan making snow angels and practicing more archery--all worth seeing but less than a minute each, and, unlike LOTR
, not restoring anything that had been left out of the book. Other scenes such as the kids' playing cricket are very slightly recut. The most interesting addition is about two minutes of new footage in the big battle sequence, mostly involving some cool aerial combat. If you had a choice of which edition to watch, the extended is probably preferable, but by itself it's not much reason to upgrade if you have an earlier DVD of the movie.
A better reason is the bonus features. The four-disc edition retains the bonus features of the previous two-disc edition (the commentaries are the same; they go silent during the extended scenes, or spill over a little bit into the next scene), and adds a third disc with a 75-minute documentary about C.S. Lewis, which should appease those who complained about the lack of attention the author had received on the earlier DVD. It discusses Lewis's life and inspirations, and is skewed somewhat toward a younger crowd with its simple animation and first-person narration. The fourth disc has a comprehensive 140-minute documentary about production--costumes, sets, music, animating animals--though not unexpectedly some of the material overlaps with the older material. All in all, Narnia fans will want to pick up this edition, but for the extra discs, not the extra footage. --David Horiuchi
Journey into the world of Narnia and share with your loved ones the most magical 4-disc DVD masterpiece ever! Venture deeper into a beloved fantasy world with this extended four-disc collection that presents the original motion picture featuring new and expanded scenes, enhanced special effects, and an extended climactic battle scene added by director Andrew Adamson. Experience hours of extensive bonus material including an exclusive world-premiere, feature-length film about C.S. Lewis, the creative mind behind Narnia. Enjoy a vivid and in-depth companion guidebook. Plus, visualize the complete production process -- from green screen to big screen -- with an additional state-of-the-art special feature.