Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
For decades, C.S. Lewis' book series "The Chronicles Of Narnia" has induced children to bump their heads on the backs of old cupboards in search of a winter wonderland populated by fantasy creatures, including talking beavers. A movie of "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" seems long overdue. While this one's not seamless, it has an inviting aura of magic, mystery, and menace, as does the book. The cold "White Witch" (Swinton) sets the tempo for a bracing adventure.
The pure picture of evil, she's the children's counterpoint to the Nazis' bombardment of London that forced the four Pevensie children to leave London for the sanctuary of a country manor. During a game of hide-and-seek, the youngest (Henley) stumbles onto the Witch's territory via the back of an enchanted wardrobe. Once all four children have crossed into Narnia, an adventure begins in a setting full of childlike wonder.
Lewis's beautifully-realized story has a sweeping array of colorful characters and majestic scenery. Aslan the Lion, a marvel of computer-generated imagery voiced warmly and with vigor by Liam Neeson, guides the children in a war against the Witch. Henley is the most charismatic of the children, although Jonathan R Scott is impressive as he matures from bratty brother to noble warrior. Providing laughs are Ray Winstone and Dawn French, as a pair of bickering beavers, but with a sobering edge, and visions of death and sacrifice. Adamson handles the balance well for a lesson in courage that melts away all cynicism.
Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, Liam Nees
C.S. Lewis; children's movies; courage
war and peace
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