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

2008-06-06 07:37


This film brings to life the first book of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series - a seven-part children's fantasy epic written during the 1950s.

In the story the four Pevensie children find themselves at the country home of a mysterious professor after being evacuated from a war torn London. During a game of hide and seek the youngest sibling, Lucy (Georgie Henley), discovers a magical wardrobe that turns out to be a doorway to the fantasy land of Narnia.

Peter (William Moseley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) at first don't believe Lucy, but as fate would have it, they all end up going through the wardrobe to discover a troubled Narnia.

A pair of talking beavers help the children to learn of an ancient prophecy that is the key to their destinies. Under the guidance of a great leader ,the lion Aslan, they set out to destroy Jadis (Tilda Swinton), the evil White Witch who has kept the land enslaved in misery and in the grip of a winter that has lasted for the past 100 years.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is proof that we are getting closer to a new era in which actors and actresses will play bit parts in a completely CGI rendered reality. There are moments where the animation is only as real as a top shelf PC game, but the lion king Aslan (voice by Liam Neeson) is so realistic that you may just start believing that animals really can speak. He is, quite simply put, majestic.

The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films have spoilt movie goers with intricate landscapes and a detailed fantasy world, an expectation not met in Narnia. The mythological creatures we come across suggest a land filled with a variety of mystical habitats, but instead Narnia seems like one big wood surrounded by a mountain and an ocean - New Zealand to be more precise. Rather disappointing if you consider the estimated budget of R950 million.

Georgie Henley debuts with a performance worth noting and her commitment to the role of Lucy is evident throughout the film. This commitment ensures the audience identify with her at all times. Skandar Keynes (Edmund) comes a close second in quality of performance and an emotional depth. Edmunds' betrayal offers him an opportunity to reach the audience on a completely different level. Sadly, the same can't be said for the two older Pevensies who are average at best.

In the adult arena, Swinton takes the lead with her chilling performance as the White Witch, a cruel tyrant who doesn't hesitate to turn all those who stand against her to stone. With her dark stare and cold smile she makes no effort to hide her malicious intent.

The fact that this is the first live action film that Andrew Adamson has ever directed could be the reason for the overall lack of character depth. However, co-directing the Shrek films seems to have given him enough experience to direct Narnia successfully. A job well done, despite the flaws.

On a more spiritual level, C.S Lewis wrote the first book with many underlying moral lessons. Although some may instantly recognise a Christian allegory in the events surrounding Aslan and the path he travels, it was not the intention of the author for this to be the primary focus. It may be best to view the film in its totality and not to try and draw religious comparisons. C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a fantasy novel for children to indulge in and escape to, and maybe along the way learn some valuable lessons, such as the importance of forgiveness.

The box office success that the film has enjoyed overseas will almost certainly ensure that Disney start production for the second book, Prince Caspian, so we can look forward to further adventures with the Pevensies.

The film is, for all intents and purposes, brilliant. It may not be on same scale as Lord of the Rings, but it is destined to become a long running franchise. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will fuel the imaginations of children and is a perfect accompaniment to this festive season. What about the adults? We'll get a chance to glimpse back into our childhood and relive the fantasies we all once believed in.

Time to go home and check the closets, just in case...

- Louis Basson

Childhood fantasies of centaurs, griffins, ogres and other mythological creatures come to life in a journey through Narnia. A lion, a witch and a wardrobe, make for a memorable experience this festive season.

Lara 2005/12/21 2:58 PM
Narnia Narnia Narnia
Dennis 2005/12/23 3:28 PM
Narnia A great movie ... some minor technical "under expectation" stuff ... nothing our imagination can't overcome. The movie is unashamedly Christian and boldly so! Well done!!! And Lewis certainly did write from a christian perspective. The last book in the series, The Last Battle, shows that clearly enough. I would recommend Narnia with no hesitation.
*** 2005/12/27 9:42 AM
The Chronicles of Narnia Brilliant - Lucy's (Georgia Henley) and Aslan's (Liam Neeson's) parts are beautifully protrayed. Enjoyed every bit of it, well worth watching again. Definitely recommend it.
richard 2006/01/04 11:55 AM
Narnia An average movie that didn't live up to expectations.Where Lord of the Rings is realistic in that hobbits aren't warriors-Narnia is unrealistic in that these kids are able to fight huge beasts without so much as a bruise!!!One wishes that the movie explored Narnia to a greater extent and built more characters out of the odd creatures.
Daleen Coetzee 2006/01/06 2:33 PM
mrs This was a great movie. One that I would recomend for a family with big and small kids. I loved the fact that it shows good and bad from the beginning sothat smaal children can understand. Thank you for a great movie and I definantly look forward for the next movies. yes
Miss FTV 2006/01/06 8:48 PM
Stunning!! At last! A movie that acctually stuck to the novel! Well done! Lucy and Peter were played fantastically! As for Aslan...i coudn't have done it better my self! I acctually felt the pain ansd sadness he was feeling! Briallint movie and i say that you should most DEFFENATLY go and watch it! Absoulutly!
m93a 2006/01/07 8:50 PM
Average overall Good special effects, good story overall and two briliant beavers, but I was disappointed in the acting of the human characters. Furthermore the movie time and again buils up to a climax and the scene falls flat leaving one unsatisified. Some scenes also seems unralistic - even in a movie such as this. However the rest of my family enjoyed it very much and it is worth it. Yes
Madeleine Roux 2006/01/09 10:29 AM
Narnia The special effects were stunning but what a lot of rot! And as for those people saying they would take their kids - big and small - your kids will have nightmares for years to come. The demon things at the altar when Aslan was killed would put any child into a state. If you like special effects - Go For It!
Rome 2006/01/10 2:44 PM
Zip Good special effects and congrats to Aslam and the animal special effects.However,how can children that young battle beasts?? If this is a good versus evil movie,Why did'nt they explore Narnia further? Why try to copy Lord of the Rings? If you like this kind a movies-Lordof the Rings Trilogy.
Demi 2006/01/16 2:27 PM
Narnia I absolutly loved narnia, when people say that the demons and creatures are evil, its supposed to be all the bad people in the world and aslan is maybe supposed to be God and the witch was probably the devil.
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