the success of both the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series,
it seems that any kind of multi-volume literary fantasy epic is being snatched
up and turned into
production these days. That would explain the recent release of the first
movie based on C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Admittedly,
I have no knowledge of the books. I can't vouch for the accuracy of
the translation to film. I can, however, wholeheartedly recommend the
movie on its own terms.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes,
and William Moseley
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe takes
place during World War II. Four children -- Susan, Lucy, Edmond and
Peter -- are taken from their home in London, which is being
bombed by the Germans, and
dropped off at a
country mansion owned by Professor Kirke (James Broadbent). While exploring
the mansion during a game of hide and seek, Lucy (Georgie Henley) discovers
a wardrobe that contains a passageway to the magical land of Narnia.
ventures in and meets Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy), a faun who begins to
instruct her on the ways of Narnian life. Her entrance into Narnia puts
in motion a series of events that are seen as the beginning of a prophecy
that will free the land from the grips of the White Witch (Tilda Swindon).
But before that can happen, Lucy must first convince her siblings
that the doorway into Narnia is real.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was
released, it was touted as a sort of Christian Lord of the Rings by
many people. As a result, I was hesitant to see it. Epic fantasy is
hard enough to digest without having to be beaten over the head
with overt symbolism and moral lessons. In fact, though, while there
are some pretty easy-to-spot Christian references, there is no more religious
browbeating in the movie than you'd see in any other film featuring good
versus evil, really.
an epic fantasy, The Lion, The Witch, and
The Wardrobe should feature some amazing special effects and, for
the most part, it does. Only a few sequences fall flat and that is apparently
due to the sheer number of different effects companies that worked on
the film. Watching the credits roll and I was amazed to see that not
only George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic worked on the film, but
Sony's Imageworks, Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop, and a number of other
effects houses as well. As such, the quality varies from scene-to-scene.
It's distracting, but only slightly.
the movie truly loses a star is in its sanitized view of combat. The
script has the characters speaking about the ugliness of war and the
battle scenes are quite violent, especially for a PG-rated film aimed
his mind how far he wants to go with the violence, which makes for
an unusually clean battlefield littered with bodies.
In one scene, a character is told to clean his sword after slaying an
enemy. It's clearly obvious that there's nothing to clean.
Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe manages to remain epic even
though it does have some minor flaws. If you're looking for something
different and haven't sampled any fantasy films, this might be a good
place to start.
design carved into the wardrobe signify an important event that occurred
in the book "The Magician's Nephew," the first Narnia book.
Internet Movie Database)