The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

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Two and a Half Hours of AWESOMENESS!

Dec 9, 2005 (Updated Dec 9, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great CGI, creative plot and characters, wonderful acting, overall a very tasteful film

Cons:None!!!

The Bottom Line: I'm so happy this wasn't disappointing!


Finally! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this movie for so long, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is now in theaters! The moral of this review? I don't give five stars to very many films, but this one is amazing. GO SEE IT!

Plot Information
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is based on the first of seven books in the fantasy/Christian allegory series by C.S. Lewis. The story begins in London during WWII. The four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, are sent away to wait out the war in the countryside at the home of an eccentric professor. Things start to get exciting when Lucy wanders into a wardrobe and discovers a mystical land called Narnia.

The land, however, is in the grip of the evil White Witch and the children find themselves right in the middle of a battle to free the creatures of Narnia from her control. The witch engages her powers of manipulation to create a rift between Edmund and the other children. Fortunately, the children have the lion Aslan and plenty of fauns, beavers, warthogs, and other friendly creatures to help them win the battle against evil.

Plot
The reason this story is even being adopted to film is because it is a great one. There are so many elements I like about the plot of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. One thing this film did very well was the first five minutes. Shots of the children and their mother at home in London during the bombings of WWII put the whole story in context and help provide some foundation for why they were sent away to the crazy professor in the countryside.

I love the whole idea of Narnia and the idea of the secret passageway through the wardrobe. There are no breaks in the action and the plot moves swiftly. The story deals not only with fabulous adventures and creative characters, but also family relationships and tensions that arise between the children. Any child or adult will be able to relate to at least one of the siblings.

Acting
I am very, very impressed with the children’s acting in this film. Georgie Hensley really steals the show as Lucy Pevensie. She brings a real intensity and depth to the character instead of just relying on being cute. I think Skandar Keynes also did a good job in the role of the somewhat unlikable Edmund. Both of these kids had fairly complex characters to play and did so quite well. Another standout for me was James McAvoy as Tumnus the faun. I’m sure it was challenging to learn to move about on four legs but he made it look quite natural. Finally, Tilda Swinton was downright scary as the White Witch. She was able to really convey evil and hate in the character and bring it across in her facial expressions and the way she held her body. I think her role was very critical in helping to make this film an intense viewing experience for adults as well as children, and she definitely succeeded.

Visual Effects
Of course I knew this film was going to be beautiful, but it really took my breath away. The Narnia created in the movie is pretty darn close to the one I envisioned in my head growing up as I read the books, but cooler. The landscapes are beautiful and one gets the impression that Narnia is very vast.

Aslan is amazingly lifelike yet still has a different feel than a real lion, as he should. The most fabulous scene of the movie for me was the giant fight scene between the free Narnians and the White Witch’s army. The children fight with centaurs, cheetahs, and fauns and the white which fights alongside scary trolls, ogres, tigers, and polar bears. It’s amazing, my jaw just dropped at seeing all these amazing creatures lined up side by side.

Appropriateness for Children
This really is a movie for both kids and adults. The difference between this film and many others aimed for both children and adults is that there is no profanity and very little gratuitous blood. This is not to say there are no adult themes, there is war and death going on here. However, the camera doesn’t linger on anything bloody or gory which was fine with me as an adult too. The messages of the film are great as the overarching themes are forgiveness and standing up for good. I think most kids who are ok with the books will probably be ok with this film if you discuss the things they will be seeing with them first.

Overall…
I am thrilled to say that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe exceeded my expectations. It was such a delight to see a familiar story come to life before my eyes, and I found myself smiling from beginning to end. Of course, you need not be familiar with the book to enjoy this wonderful story. Five stars!


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