Saturday, December 31, 2005

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


London is being bombed during World War II, so the Pevensie children are shipped off to a safe haven in the country in C.S. Lewis’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley) find the spacious estate to be rather humdrum, that is until Lucy discovers a wardrobe that provides a passageway to the fantasy land of Narnia. The children learn that they are key figures in leading the battle against the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) and the chill she has sent across Narnia.

C.S. Lewis’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA is a beloved children’s classic, and the film is a delight for kids and adults. Director Andrew Adamson’s adaptation, the first in what is sure to be a series of films, brings it alive with a childlike sense of awe and wonder. It’s a beautifully realized fantasy world, and the story is elegantly told. A bit of a hubbub has bubbled up over NARNIA’S religious content. Since Lewis was a noted theologian the Christian themes should hardly come as any surprise. The allegory is readily apparent, but first and foremost NARNIA is concerned with transporting viewers through a mythic story than converting non-believers. The politicization taking place in the market of ideas regarding NARNIA is absent in the film itself. Swinton is highly effective summoning the seductive face of evil and the horror behind the mask. Lewis is said to have bristled at the idea of a filmed version of NARNIA, but the technology has reached the point where the special effects are nothing short of magnificent.

Grade: B

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