The Chronicles of Narnia — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Disney The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Widescreen. 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 film making 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. Whatever faults it has are happily faults of overreaching, and not of holding back.
Walden Media has done a wonderful job of recreating the fantasy land of Narnia, first envisioned by C. S. Lewis many years ago. The fantasy creatures (satyrs, nymphs, giant eagles, and of course The Lion, Aslan all look real. The armor and castle looks real as well — almost as though they were filming a documentary or recreation. The acting is wonderful, especially the youngest of the four Pevensie children.
For those who don’t know, the basic premise involves four young children who are sent to live in the relative safety of the country during the bombing of Berlin during World War II. The youngest girl, Lucy, finds an enchanted wardrobe in the place that they’re staying at. Despite some mean-spirited teasing by her brother Edmund, all four of them eventually travel from Britain to the magical land of Narnia. Which has been under a spell of perpetual winter for over a century. But with the prophesied arrival of the children comes a new hope, for Aslan is on the move. Aslan is the Lion, the great Son of the Emperor, who created Narnia many years ago, and is returning to set things right.
The evil witch, who has brought on the winter and usurped the throne, however, will do whatever she can to prevent that, including corrupting and planning to kill one of the children. It’s a powerful story, dealing with doing what is right, not what is easy, betrayal and redemption, and what the Creator will do to safeguard his creation. The children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia make very good source material,. For the most part the movie doesn’t stray far from that material.
For me, the worst parts of the movie are when it does exactly that. The two brothers, Peter and Edmund, are at each others’ throats from the beginning of the movie. The movie (understandably) tries to make Edmund a more likable character. But unfortunately it does so at the expense of Peter, weakening his character. It’s not a fatal flaw, but an annoyance. And the only thing that prevents me from rating the movie a perfect 5 stars. It’s highly recommended, nonetheless.