Disney's 2005 adaptation of C.S. Lewis' children's fantasy novel.< read all 11 reviews
"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.
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 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.
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.
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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