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

I told you the other day I would write a review of this film, and here it is.

Sunday afternoon, Sue and I took our three girls, 14, 12, & 10 to see the movie. (Tara and Elisa, the younger two had already seen it in Missouri, but the rest of us had not).

This was a much-anticipated film, having seen the teaser trailer, then the main trailer of it several months ago. I had not read the books before, so this summer we borrowed them from the church library, and proceeded to read them. Sue had read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child and enjoyed it. We both enjoyed all seven books.

Now to the movie: There are a few, very few, departures from the book. One, depiction of a German attack on London prompts the mother of the four Pevensie children to send them to an imposing mansion in the country. The event was mentioned only briefly in the book, but opened the film. I know there were a few other minor alterations, but for the life of me I cannot remember them.

The director, Andrew Adamson (Shrek& Shrek 2) has done a marvelous job of translating this beloved C.S. Lewis work to the silver screen. The film was shot almost entirely on location in New Zealand, which also recently doubled for Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The casting of the children was artfully done. Casting children in film roles can be problematic at best in many cases. You often wind up with a kid who cannot act, or are so sickly “cute” as to invoke immediate diabetes. In this case however, the filmmakers held out for some kids who could actually act, and do it well. The older Pevensies, Peter and Susan were superbly played by William Moseley, and Anna Popplewell, respectively. Skandar Keynes plays the sullen Edmund who finds himself led astray early in the story.
However young Georgie Henley as Lucy, the first of the four children to enter the magical realm, easily steals the show! She is a delight to watch, and could be likely be among the youngest actors to be nominated for a best actress Oscar.

Tilda Swinton (Vanilla Sky, Constantine) is regally evil as the White Witch, but manages to bring to the role an icy humanity even though she is clearly the villain of the piece.

Liam Neeson (The Phantom Menace, Schindler’s List) voices the enigmatic lion, Aslan.

The visual effects are outstanding. When you first view the Land of Narnia, you can almost feel the cold of the winter without end. I would highly recommend this film. See it, and then go back and see it again. There are some battle scenes, and mild violence that may be a bit frightening to younger children. The film is rated PG.

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