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The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe / Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader / The Silver Chair)

3.9 out of 5 stars 390 customer reviews

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(Nov 09, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fire breathing dragons, sprightly nymphs, talking animals, evil witches, deadly sea monsters, gruesome giants, kings and queens, a group of brave children and a very special wardrobe collide in an epic battle of good versus evil. Welcome to the enchanted world of Narnia, a mystical land sprung from the mind of legendary author C.S. Lewis. Danger and adventure are always close at hand in Narnia, for the future is under constant threat by dark forces. But not for long. Whispers that sail across the land say only one thing - Aslan, the great lion, is on the move.

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The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-volume, Bible-based children's fantasy series written in the 1950s by British theologian C.S. Lewis, draws young readers into the magical, dangerous land of Narnia and plunges them into the age-old battle of good and evil. Lewis envisioned these stories as pictures before he wrote them, so it seems only proper that the books would eventually make it to the small screen. In the late 1980s and early '90s, three adventures in this series--The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (169 minutes), Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (168 minutes), and The Silver Chair (168 minutes)--were faithfully adapted into a TV series by the BBC and Home Vision Entertainment, then edited to feature-length productions. All three of these discs (nine hours of viewing!) are included in this boxed set of DVDs, along with interactive trivia games and more.

Youngsters expecting special effects like those found in The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone may miss the subtler charms of these sweet but rather homespun productions, with humans dressed as woodland creatures and patched-in animation. And kids expecting fast-paced action adventures may snooze after a few hours of these relatively slow-moving scripts. But those who want a refresher course in all things Narnia will be thrilled to see these well-loved fantasies come to life in gorgeous snowy landscapes--the good lion Aslan (played by a large, talking stuffed animal), the horrible White Witch (performed with deliciously over-the-top zeal by actress Barbara Kellerman), the four siblings, fauns, dwarves, deadly sea monsters, and all. --Karin Snelson


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sophie Cook, Camilla Power, Sophie Wilcox, Tom Baker, Ronald Pickup
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 480 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (390 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001221DVU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,546 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rather than the cartoons of Snow White, Cinderella, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Bambi and so on, I was a resident of the land of Narnia when I was a kid. And not because my family is ultra-religious either. In fact, we never really picked up on the biblical parallels until we read about them on this website!

What we saw was a basic battle between good and evil and a great group of kids who had to conquer their shortcomings to become the best people they could be. They faced adversity and had to stand on their own against even their own friends and siblings to do what was right. And in the end, they triumphed! For me, this series contributed much more to my sense of self, my take on right and wrong, and my maturity than any Disney cartoons ever could have!

I first saw these movies on Public tv, PBS, when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old and my Mom had the foresight to record them to video tape for me. Over the years, I watched the tapes so much that they were really beginning to have poor quality, plus some pieces of the movies were missing. That's why I was delighted when these came out on DVD! Even at 20 years old, I still like to revisit my childhood for a time and I hope to share them with my children when the time comes, that being when I become a Mom.

I think my favorite would be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the adventures are so varied and the ship is just beautiful! I love to see Eustace's transformation and all the islands they visit have so many different things and people to discover. Like Deathwater Island, the Island of the Dufflepuds and of course the Silver Sea and the underwater Warrior Sea People. This part of the film also leaves the least out. It includes most of the adventures from the book and allows time for plot development.
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Format: DVD
A number of years back, the BBC produced this television version of four of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The books, of course, are Biblical allegory for children, but they are beloved of many a non-Christian fantasy fan (including me) because they are basically Good Stories. Furthermore, the ideals embraced by the allegory -- mercy, justice, bravery, concern for nature, intelligent contemplation of spirituality, and so on -- are hardly exclusive to Christianity. Lewis happened to believe that his theology was logically supportable, but you don't have to agree with him on that to see that he was fundamentally a good man, and that his concept of virtue is admirable in many respects.
The BBC series captures the innocence, the adventure, and the peculiarly British charm of the books. Also, much like Peter Jackson's new Lord of the Rings movies, it replaces lengthy expository text with beautiful scenery and intricately designed props, keeping the plot advancing steadily. Though there are some groan-worthy bits of melodramatic line delivery, the acting is overall quite good, and there is a standout performance by Tom Baker (known to many SF fans as the fourth Doctor Who) as Puddleglum the Marshwiggle in The Silver Chair. The only thing to complain about is that they never got to make the other three books.
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Let us begin by agreeing that computer-generated images have both added to and taken from filmmaking, in ways similar to the effect performance-enhancing drugs have had on sports. We might thrill at the modern athlete who hits the ball out of the park, but we still wonder how he'd compare to Babe Ruth.

This 1980s-era BBC production is in many ways superior to the more recent cinematic version of Lewis' great fantasy; in particular, a number of elements, both major and minute, which are altered or removed in the film are faithfully represented in the BBC video Chronicles. This is no unimportant detail -- the Chronicles of Narnia is first and foremost a story; anything C.S. Lewis included is probably significant and ought not to be left out or redefined at the whim of a Director. In producing these versions of four of the seven Chronicles the BBC was careful to tell the story without incautiously rewriting it.

The technology of the 1980s, and the budget constraints upon the BBC, do play their own role in these productions, of course. In particular, the recent film's seamless blurring of the line between humans and talking animals is simply beyond what could be done in the BBC version. While Aslan is very nearly equally realized in both the Disney and BBC productions, and the BBC's Tumnus is in some ways superior to (though certainly not "better than") Disney's, other characters do not fare as well. Beaver and his wife are almost embarassingly silly in the BBC version, and Maugrim's transitions border on the painful. Some of the peripheral characters are portrayed by beautifully but unrealistically drawn animations, and most of the "magic" could be duplicated or bettered today by a tenth-grade film class.
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Well, the DVD set box arrived and it made my weekend! 20 years after reading the books, I am currently rereading them again, and following them up by watching the DVDs. I enjoyed the DVDs and so did my two sons aged 4 & 2. Well done to BBC for trying to faithfully adapt the books, even with the limited budget. Yes, the special effects are not always special, but pretty good for a television production back in the late 80s/early 90s. The animatronics of Aslan is convincing, especially his size. I hope this DVD production prompts the filmmakers who are planning to make a movie of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to produce something great. One surprise with the DVD set; having ordered it from North America, I thought I would not be able to play the DVDs on my Japanese (Region 2) DVD player, but, 'by Jove' it did! So maybe it is a 'Region Free' DVD. One disappointment: Maybe it was my DVD player/amp but the mono sound did not play very well on my system, with the dialogue often hard to hear. But the biggest disappointment maybe that not all 7 books were visualized by the BBC. Maybe one day! Also very good packaging, menus, special features, and liner notes!
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