The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
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Prepare to enter another world when Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media present C.S. Lewis' timeless and beloved adventure. With the stunningly realistic special effects, you'll experience the exploits of Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter, four siblings who find the world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe while playing a game of "hide-and-seek" at the country estate of a mysterious professor. Once there, the children discover a charming, once peaceful land inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs, and giants that has been turned into a world of eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Aided by the wise and magnificent lion Aslan, the children lead Narnia into a spectacular climactic battle to be free of the Witch's glacial powers forever! The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia, and all other book titles, characters and locales original thereto are trademarks of C.S. Lewis Pte Ltd. and are used with permission. (c) Disney/Walden
C.S. Lewis's classic novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe makes an ambitious and long-awaited leap to the screen in this modern adaptation. It's a CGI-created world laden with all the special effects and visual wizardry modern filmmaking technology can conjure, which is fine so long as the film stays true to the story that Lewis wrote. And while this film is not a literal translation--it really wants to be so much more than just a kids' movie--for the most part it is faithful enough to the story, and whatever faults it has are happily faults of overreaching, and not of holding back. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, and their adventures in the mystical world of Narnia. Sent to the British countryside for their own safety during the blitz of World War II, they discover an entryway into a mystical world through an old wardrobe. Narnia is inhabited by mythical, anthropomorphic creatures suffering under the hundred-year rule of the cruel White Witch (Tilda Swinton, in a standout role). The arrival of the children gives the creatures of Narnia hope for liberation, and all are dragged into the inevitable conflict between evil (the Witch) and good (Aslan the Lion, the Messiah figure, regally voiced by Liam Neeson).
Director (and co-screenwriter) Andrew Adamson, a veteran of the Shrek franchise, knows his way around a fantasy-based adventure story, and he wisely keeps the story moving when it could easily become bogged down and tiresome. Narnia is, of course, a Christian allegory and the symbology is definitely there (as it should be, otherwise it wouldn't be the story Lewis wrote), but audiences aren’t knocked over the head with it, and in the hands of another director it could easily have become pedantic. The focus is squarely on the children and their adventures. The four young actors are respectable in their roles, especially considering the size of the project put on their shoulders, but it's the young Georgie Henley as the curious Lucy who stands out. This isn't a film that wildly succeeds, and in the long run it won't have the same impact as the Harry Potter franchise, but it is well done, and kids will get swept up in the adventure. Note: Narnia does contain battle scenes that some parents may consider too violent for younger children. --Dan Vancini
Stills from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Click for larger image)
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ACTING: Having an all children cast is always risky, mainly because of inexperience with actually portraying emotion through acting. However, the kids do an amazing job. I never really liked the children from Harry Potter. Georgie Henley, who plays the youngest daughter, does a fantastic job. You could call her the British Dakota Fanning. As for the rest of the cast, it's mostly CGI. Tilda Swinton does a great job as the white witch, and she does a great job with being evil. The voice acting for the CGI is fantastic. Liam Neeson is probably the most well known actor doing voice work. He gives Aslan the lion a sense of wisdom. My favorite animals would have to be the two married beavers who just bicker as typical husband and wife. The film has everything from cheetahs to polar bears.
BOTTOM LINE: A visual feast for the eyes from director Andrew Adamson, and a strong and emotional score from Harry Gregson-Williams. The CGI is astounding, and the sets are amazing. The film is very entertaining even if it get's saccharine at times, but then you have set youself in a child's mindset. A new fanstasy franchise is born.
If you are a fan of Narnia and deviations will bother you, then this is probably a good one to skip. There are many deviations, the biggest one being the overall tone. The circumstances are simply not as dire as in the book. This is a kinder, gentler Narnia, and is perfect for the age range of the targeted viewers. I found myself viewing it as a stunningly beautiful film with a plot I already knew. By removing most of the violence, gore, and scariness the producers have given birth to a wonderful film for children.
I think it is a mistake to cram all of the events in a novel into a two+ hour film. Instead, the script writers and producers chose to do selected bits of the novel, and to do them very well.
One of the tenets of my childhood, which I hope I have instilled in my own children, is "the worst thing you can do is betray someone who is trusting you." This, and many other ideals come out in this film.
In the dedication to his godchild Lucy, C.S. Lewis expressed his regret that Lucy was too old for fairy tales and commented that "children grow faster than books." He went on to express his wish that Lucy read and enjoy The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when she became old enough for fairy tales again. I enjoyed them at age eight, again in college, and now again while my own children are in college.
Most recent customer reviews
Lucy is so fearless, and of course, Aslan!