The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (2005)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
Genres: Children's / Family, Children's Fantasy, Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure
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Andrew Adamson Andrew Adamson
Georgie Henley Georgie Henley
Skandar Keynes Skandar Keynes
William Moseley William Moseley
Anna Popplewell Anna Popplewell
Tilda Swinton Tilda Swinton

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 16, 2005
Maybe this review should be prefaced by my mentioning that I am not a huge fan of fantasy films. I thought the "Lord of the Rings" films were fine and all, but I was bored through large chunks of that ten hour commitment. Films like "Willow" and the underrated "Legend" are fantasy films I know and love, and I cannot think of the last time I was entertained enough by one to consider them a good film. I will also mention that I read "The Chronicles of Narnia" when I was ten-years-old. I remember very little about the books other than I only read them because everyone else I knew had read them or was reading them. I didn't particularly enjoy them. I preferred another fantasy book, "A Wrinkle In Time" over talking lions and white witches. It is not that "The Chronicles of Narnia" was a bad film -- fans of the book and young audiences will likely adore Andrew Adamson's vision. I, however, thought it seemed like "Lord of the Rings" meets "Dr. Dolittle" meets "The Passion of the Christ", or should I say "The Passion of the CGI-Lion". This was a film that left me feeling bored, astounded, and generally 'so-so'. It was nothing special. Nothing at all.

Everyone knows the plot to the story -- the four Pevensie children stumble through a magical wardrobe that transports them to the land of Narnia, where the evil White Witch has taken over and turned her enemies to ice. The four children are supposed to fulfill an ancient prophecy and signal the return of Aslan the Lion, who will lead Narnia to victory and freedom. Sound familiar? I can't think of a single tone of religion in that, can you? The truth is, C.S. Lewis was a very religious man and that is evident all over the books, and this film. The films follows the Pevensie children as they encounter wolves that sound like Denis Leary, wisecracking beavers, the rambunctious Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy), and CGI-battle sequences that seem just a little 'identical' to the battle sequences from "Lord of the Rings" -- how add that both films were aided by the same special effects company. "The Chronicles of Narnia" is pure fantasy diarrhea all over the screen, and while everyone else in the theatre seemed captivated and in awe, I couldn't help but think "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was a far superior fantasy film.

Though the film has been praised for its special effects, I really would like to know what the big deal is all about? I saw the same special effects and I found a great deal of them to be mediocre, at best. Aslan the Lion looked pixalized much of the time and the fox, wolves, and beavers were all obviously animated, especially the fox, voiced with immediate inefficiency by a wasted Rupert Everett. Alas, it was not solely the fault of the animation that made me dislike the film. I found all three of the child actors very unlikable and very 'inadequately suited' for roles of this caliber. Tilda Swinton and Jim Broadbent both seemed to be having fun with their roles, and it paid off, for they truly save the scenes they are in, and prevent this film from being a total waste of my time. And, providing the voice of Aslan the Lion, Liam Neeson seemed unfit for the part -- his voice is commanding and all, but wouldn't James Earl Jones have made a better lion? I know, he's already done the whole lion thing, but his voice would have been perfect for it. Neeson sounds like he is spatting off leftover dialogue from "Kingdom of Heaven".

"The Chronicles of Narnia" was not something to write home about, at least for me it wasn't. Fans loved it. Children loved it. I sat in the back thinking that I had accidentally stumbled into "Lord of the Rings: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe". Maybe I was just not meant to enjoy this film. Why would I expect to enjoy the film when I never enjoyed the book? "The Chronicles of Narnia" will likely do considerable business this weekend, but does it really deserve that kind of business? "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is far superior -- I suggest you skip the talking beavers and check out Mr. Radcliffe & Co. once more. Better yet, run out and rent "Legend" and watch Tim Curry eat up the screen. For me, religion and fantasy are not supposed to mix -- they don't just mix in Narnia, they constitute every ideal and principle you see. C.S. Lewis liked that. I do not.

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