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

Disney's 2005 adaptation of C.S. Lewis' children's fantasy novel.

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Adventures Through the Wardrobe

  • Dec 19, 2008
Rating:
+4

"Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!"

 -Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

When it was announced that Disney had bought the rights to C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, I have to admit that I was worried. Walt Disney Studios haven't always been known to produce faithful adaptations of books (example: The Black Cauldron). But in late 2005, all of my worries were laid to rest. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was one of the most memorable films that I saw that year.
Georgie Henley as Lucy and James McAvoy as Tumnus

The story is deceptively simple and straightforward. During the bombing of London in WWII, the four Pevensie children are sent to the idyllic countryside to stay with the mysterious Prof. Kirke. While exploring the house Lucy, the youngest, finds herself wandering into a large ornate wardrobe. To her astonishment it leads into a wintry forest where she meets a faun (a mythological figure; half-goat, half-human) named Mr. Tumnus. He invites her to his home where he lulls her to sleep with his flute. When she awakens he confesses that he had been given orders to kidnap any human children he might find and hand them over to the malevolent Queen Jadis, the White Witch. The White Witch, it is revealed, has cast a spell over all Narnia so that it is always winter, always winter but never Christmas. Mr. Tumnus helps Lucy to find her way back to the wardrobe. Lucy tells her brothers, Peter and Edmund and her sister, Susan about her amazing discovery of a land within the wardrobe. Naturally they don't believe her and what's worse they fear that she might've gone mad. But then one night Lucy goes back through the wardrobe into Narnia, unaware that Edmund has followed her. While she is visiting Mr. Tumnus, Edmund encounters the White Witch herself. The White Witch serves him enchanted food and promises to make him a prince if he can arrange a meeting between her and his other siblings. When Edmund and Lucy return, Edmund lies to Peter and Susan about where they've been. But soon all four children find themselves in Narnia. When they go to visit Mr. Tumnus they come upon his home in shambles. The White Witch has discovered his betrayal and punished him for "fraternizing with humans". The children are almost too frightened to go on when they meet a talking beaver named, get this... Mr. Beaver. Mr. Beaver guides them to his luxurious dam where he introduces them to his wife, Mrs. Beaver. The children are repeatedly told that, "Aslan is on the move". After a lengthy scene in which the beavers give a lot of story exposition about a Narnian prophecy, Peter, Susan and Lucy realize that Edmund's gone missing. He's betrayed them and gone to the castle of the White Witch. The three children and the two beavers must make their way to the Stone Table where Aslan, the Lion King of Narnia, will protect them. On their trek they face many dangers and see many wondrous things that I won't go into detail about. Needless to say the four children are reunited and prove themselves to be heroes in a climactic battle with the White Witch's forces.

The Pevensies
The film's cast includes William Moseley as Peter Pevensie, Anna Poppleton as Susan Pevensie, Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie, Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie, Jim Broadbent as Prof. Kirke, James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus, Tilda Swinton as The White Witch, and Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan. All four of the children actors give surprisingly mature, convincing performances as the Pevensies. Jim Broadbent is charmingly eccentric as Prof. Kirke. James McAvoy gives Mr. tumnus a youthful quality, which is a bit of a departure from the book, though his potrayal is so great that it makes no difference. Tilda Swinton is stunning as the malevolent White Witch and her sword fight scene is an astonishing example of her dedication to the role. Liam Neeson brings Aslan to life, endowing the C.G.I. lion with an ethereal and parental nature.
Hilda Swinton as Queen Jadis, the White Witch

C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia as a Christian allegory but the books are often viewed simply as being children's fantasy, which indeed they are, but also much more. The story features talking beats, epic battles, noble sacrifice and a contagious sense of wonderment. The first film journey into Narnia is not only faithful to the book but also expands the story and characters. Disney's new Narnia series may not be on the same level, artistically or technically, as The Lord of the Rings but the Narnia films will still likely be remembered as a classic series.

Skander Keynes as Edmund and Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson)
Entering Narnia

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October 21, 2010
I liked this one as well, but i love those first ones that BBC [I believe] made.
October 21, 2010
Ditto. It's funny how many people in the current generation go for the big special effects and battle scenes over character and story.
 
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More The Chronicles of Narnia: The ... reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
I was never really into the Chronicles of Narnia books as a kid, but when this came out back in 2005, I was genuinely excited to see it. Boy, was I not disappointed. Not only do the special effects work, but the performances work, the action works, everything just works, and it makes this franchise the only fantasy franchise that has even been able to stand its ground against Harry Potter. I have yet to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but you can expect a review of Prince Caspian coming soon.   …
Quick Tip by . October 07, 2010
There isn't a weak moment in the film at all. I have never really cared for the Narnia stuff but the movie does a great job of being moral without being moralistic.
review by . December 27, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
After a horrid BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe does a decent job of bringing the first book to life. The Pevensie kids were generally well cast, and Georgie Henley as young Lucy steals the show. James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus is also very good. The film provides a visual feast, from snowy mountains to fauns and minotaurs. Harry Gregson-Williams' moving soundtrack provides an epic backdrop for the action.   &n …
review by . February 11, 2009
DVD
World War II is raging, bombs are falling on London, and children are being evacuated to the countryside for safety.  The four Pevensie children are sent to live in a big house owned by an old professor. One day they discover an old wardrobe in the attic...that just happens to be the portal to the magical kingdom of Narnia. There, it is always winter, but never Christmas, thanks to the evil White Witch. Opposing her is King Aslan, mighty lion and defender of all that is good. The children …
review by . April 29, 2009
I went to this movie expecting to be bored by talking animals and child stuff and was surprised by the quality of this well made film that grabs you from the start. Four children living in WW II London are sent to live in the countryside by their mother to protect them from the frequent air raids. They end up in a mansion on a huge estate. The mansion has one room with nothing in it but an armoir. The children use it to hide and are accidently transported to a fantasy world with talking animals …
review by . April 14, 2006
CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia may very well have been a book intended for children but it was also the result of a life through the Great Wars and the effects those wars had one the individual. Gratefully in Andrew Adamson's directorial hands that part of the story that lends the need for the fantasy is preserved.    The concept of separating children from their parents during the Blitz in London in WW II is now showing up in many novels. Lewis was one of the first to address …
review by . April 09, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" presents the C.S. Lewis fantasy classic very well. (The story takes place during World War II in England where Lucy, the youngest of four siblings [Peter, Edmund, and Susan] stumbles upon a magical kingdom named Narnia in the back of a wardrobe of a professor's mansion while playing hide-and-go-seek.) The children find themselves in a world of animals, fauns, and other mythical beasts who are captive to a witch's spell casting a perennial …
review by . April 06, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
NOTE: The comments which follow are on the special two-disc Collector's Edition, available with subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.    The film is based on and seems remarkably faithful to the C.S. Lewis classic, the second in a series of seven novels. Here's the basic situation. Four siblings are relocated from their London home to a country estate to be with an eccentric uncle, Professor Kirke, during the "Blitz." While playing a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy hides in …
review by . December 13, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I need to preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. In fact, they are my favorite books of all time. C.S. Lewis is my favorite author--I've read a wide variety of his works (including some essays he wrote about 17th century English literature) and, in my opinion, the man was not capable of bad writing. I remember when I was about 11-12 years old and after a terrible argument in my family, I tried repeatedly over and over and over to get away from it all and …
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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 epic fantasy film directed by Andrew Adamson based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published and second chronological novel in C. S. Lewis's children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. It was produced by Walden Media and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes play Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund, four British children evacuated during the Blitz to the countryside, who find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia. There they ally with the Lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) against the forces of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton).

It was released on December 9, 2005 in both Europe and North America to positive reviews and was highly successful at the box office. It won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Make Up and various other awards, and is the first film in the series of films based on the books. An Extended Edition was released on December 12, 2006 and was only made available on DVD until January 31, 2007 when it was discontinued. It was the best selling DVD in North America in 2006 taking in $332.7 million that year. It aired on Disney Channel, uninterrupted by commercials, on June 19, 2009. On ABC Family the film is presented in its extended version whereas other channels present it in its theatrical version. In 2008 it was followed by a sequel Prince

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