With bombs ravaging their beloved city the four Pevensie children, Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy, are forced to evacuate London as WWII rages on around them. They leave their mother and head to an old professor’s vast estate far from the horrors of the war. Upon exiting their train, they are met by the venomous caretaker, Mrs. Macready, who informs them upon arriving at the estate they are not to run, make noise, touch any precious artifacts, and above else, not to disturb the professor. This proves quite difficult as the children are met by a series of rather gloom and rainy days. Trying to keep themselves out of trouble, they result to a game of Hide-and-Seek to pass the time. And that is where the adventure really begins.
Little Lucy believes she has found the perfect hiding spot when she climbs into the vast wardrobe. But she soon finds herself trudging through knee-deep snow and fraternizing with the local fawn, Mr. Tumnus, who informs her of the evil intentions of the White Witch, who has held a hundred year reign over the quiet country of Narnia, making it always winter but never Christmas!
Edmund soon makes his own trip to Narnia, where he meets the White Witch and promises to bring his siblings along with him on his next adventure. (At this point, we know she is up to no good, but we are not sure why she is so interested in this “son of Adam”.)
Edmund lives up to his promise, and he and Lucy eventually get the other two into the wardrobe and into Narnia, where the children soon find out they are much more famous in Narnia than they ever could have imagined.
A likable beaver informs the children there is an ancient prophecy that four humans will save Narnia from the clutches of the White Witch, and will become kings and queens of Narnia. The White Witch knows full well of the prophecy, and sends scavengers out to kill the four that will supposedly challenge her hold over the land.
She’s unwittingly helped by Edmund, who, through his own selfishness (and infatuation with Turkish Delights) quickly falls under the control of the Witch and nearly costs his siblings their lives on numerous occasions.
With the help of Narnia’s mysterious Savior, the lion Aslan, the children set out to save Edmund from the White Witch’s clutches, wage war on Narnia’s evil dictator, and restore Narnia to its true rulers once and for all.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe lives up to the recent media blitz with a glorious retelling of the beloved book by C.S. Lewis. Led by relatively unknown British actors, (the only name you may recognize is Liam Neeson, who provides the voice for Aslan) Narnia delivers a delightful holiday movie perfect for any age group.
The cinematography carries the movie. Breathtaking mountain views add a sense of dreaminess to Narnia, and the depiction of Narnian creatures are state-of-the-art and completely believable. Aslan is perfectly depicted as a vast, enormous, but completely unthreatening creature. The White Witch is just as creepy as C.S. Lewis suggests, and the loyal Beaver family is just as charming as in the novel. Director Adam Adamson (Shrek) did an excellent job following the book exactly, leaving nothing out and adding only one scene. C.S. Lewis begins the book saying, “They were sent away from London during the war because of the air raids,” and moves on. Adamson begins with a very effective scene in which the Nazis begin an air raid on London and we see the Pevensie’s running to their bomb shelter. We next see them leaving London, just how C.S. Lewis begins his book.
Overall, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is excellent. It is as simple as Lewis’s books are but its underlying themes are just as present in the movie as they are in the novels. The acting is not fabulous, but none of the characters steal the spotlight or seem to be forcing their character at all. Edmund’s character (played by Skandar Keynes) is especially impressive. We see Edmund as he undergoes a mental transformation from a snotty, insensitive brat to a loving and loyal brother. The cinematography provides an extra zip. Without it, this movie would be less than average. But the intangibles are what make a film great.
Kudos to Director Adam Adamson and his crew for a job well done.