8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical adaptation of an even more magical story
If you're going to bring a beloved classic to life, you had better do it right - and director Andrew Adamson did just that, largely because of his own special memories of reading the book as a child. The timing for this film was also right - not only because it follows in the wake of the masterful Lord of the Rings series (and there will always be comparisons between...
Published on Sep 12 2006 by Daniel Jolley
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hearing Impaired
I couldn't believe it! A film of this calibre and in this era of technology and NO CLOSED CAPTIONING or ENGLISH SUBTITLES!!! My wife is hearing impaired, but can't read the lips of animated characters. She was so looking forward to the DVD as she missed much of the dialogue at the theatre where we first saw the movie.
Otherwise - buy it, watch it, meditate on it. A...
Published on April 6 2006 by Dan
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical adaptation of an even more magical story,
This review is from: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)If you're going to bring a beloved classic to life, you had better do it right - and director Andrew Adamson did just that, largely because of his own special memories of reading the book as a child. The timing for this film was also right - not only because it follows in the wake of the masterful Lord of the Rings series (and there will always be comparisons between Narnia and LOTR, despite their vast differences) but, more importantly, because this film really could not have been made any earlier. I wasn't a big fan of CGI when the technology emerged; I thought it took away from the purity of the medium and, of course, it was oftentimes obviously not real in those early days. When you watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, though, you see the undeniable magic that CGI has now opened up. This film is heavy with computer animation, and its integration with real actors and sets is virtually seamless. Aslan, by way of example, may well be CGI's highest achievement to date. For one thing, he looks bloody real in every scene, but what is truly amazing is the depth of feeling and emotion that comes through in his face and gestures, particularly during the scene at the Stone Slab.
There's really far more to praise about this film than I have time or room for. I'll just say the cinematography and music are masterful, and the creation of the different creatures (be they computer-generated or wonders of costuming) are incredibly detailed and realistic. I just want to hurry up and talk about the children playing the Pevensie siblings. Do they give awards for best casting? If they don't, they certainly should, and this film would take that prize hands-down. They boys (William Moseley as Peter and Skandar Keynes as Edmund) are excellent, but the girls are nothing short of perfect. There's just something about Anna Popplewell (Susan) that I find blissfully charming. Her character is basically the smart and careful one of the bunch, and Popplewell just radiates nobility and a maturity beyond her years. Young Georgie Henley, though, takes the proverbial cake as little Lucy. I tend to think of this story as Lucy's for the most part. It is she who first takes us into Narnia, and we see that enchanted land primarily through her eyes. Aslan is the central character, but Lucy is really the audience's link to everything that happens. I think you can experience Narnia just by watching Lucy - the childish wonder, the joy of the land's magic, and the heart-breaking sadness of the White Witch's most evil deeds. If you listen to the children's commentary on the DVD, though, you'll be even more impressed with these kids. Georgie is the quintessential child, a fountain of unbridled energy and unabashed honesty, but she also asks the director some incredibly insightful questions about some of his directorial decisions. All of these kids are smart as a whip, but that Georgie truly is something special.
I'm assuming you already know the story here, so I won't go into plot details. What makes the story resonate so deeply is the myriad of interpretations you can take away from it. Clearly, there's a strong Christian allegory at work here, primarily in terms of Aslan, the rightful king of Narnia, but you don't have to view the story in that way at all - although the moral implications of this classic contest between good and evil are obvious and beneficial to all. Your interpretation, in fact, may very well change with each viewing. Children can just enjoy it as an adventure with talking animals, but as they come back to the film over time they will begin to pick up on the deeper meanings of the story. This is one of those rare films that gets better and better with each viewing.
You have to love the bonus features on the two-disc collector's edition. We're talking hours and hours of behind-the-scenes footage and insights into the whole Narnia experience (and a few bloopers). I really love the Kids and Director Commentary, and I would heartily encourage you to watch that. Filmmaker commentary (and there's one of those here, as well) tend to be rather boring. I got more out of the Kids Commentary than I would normally get out of ten filmmaker commentaries. You also have the option of watching the film with interesting facts about Narnia popping up from time to time. If you really want to know how in the world this incredible movie was brought to life, you'll relish Disc 2 and its hours of interviews and film prep featurettes on the casting, design, costuming, creature-making, etc. You can also find really nice information on the different creatures you'll meet in Narnia - and you can even explore Narnia's most important locations and hear a little more about what happens in Narnia after the story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ends. The Special Two-Disc Collector's Edition of this movie is truly the complete package - and a must for Narnia fans.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
This review is from: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Full Screen) (DVD)Good movie & all other good comments a person could say. It has great actors that know how things should be done.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done!,
This review is from: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Widescreen) (DVD)The essence of C.S. Lewis' novel is perfectly captured in this adaptation. Amazing scenery and the special effects are flawless.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,
This review is from: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Widescreen) (DVD)I have studied C.S. Lewis and his works since I was a child. For this reason, I was extremely disappointed that the role of the White Witch was played by Tilda Swinton. Lewis goes to great lengths to describe the Witch in his Narnia novels and it is clear that she has black hair, deathly white skin and is breath-takingly beautiful. Tilda has reddish blonde hair, is pale but no disrespect meant, she is not breath-takingly beautiful - by the way, neither am I but then I'm not playing the White Witch. This threw me off so much that it lessened my overall enjoyment of the film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Through the wardrobe,
This review is from: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Widescreen) (DVD)For several years, fantasy films were MIA, except the occasional hack job.
Then Peter Jackson's glorious "Lord of the Rings" came and went, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill, as far as fantasy films go. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" doesn't quite fit the shoes, but it comes a lot closer than any other movie has.
In Andrew Adamson's adaptation, C.S. Lewis's classic fantasy novel comes alive with remarkable fidelity, sparkling special effects, and some truly excellent acting by almost everyone concerned. If "Lord of the Rings" was stern older brother Peter, then this movie is Lucy -- bright, swift and thoroughly charming.
With WW II raging, the four Pevensie children are sent to the countryside, at an eccentric professor's mansion. But during a game of hide-and-seek, little Lucy (Georgie Henley) hides inside a wardrobe -- and stumbles into a wintry wilderness, with a faun she befriends. Alas, her brothers and sisters don't believe her -- but they don't know that Edmund (Skandar Keynes) has also gone through, and befriended a sinister, beautiful Witch (Tilda Swinton).
Eventually all four end up going through the wardrobe, but but they soon find that the Witch is hunting for them, in fear that they will fulfil an ancient prophecy. But Edmund has run off to join the Witch. And so the remaining three must join up with Aslan (Liam Neeson), the leonine god-king of Narnia. But the price for victory against the Witch may be too high.
Since "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" is labelled both a kids' book and a Christian fantasy, it's easy to get put off by the description of it. Don't be. Director Andrew Adamson ("Shrek" and "Shrek 2") has obviously given this his whole heart and soul, and it has the right mixture of majesty and humor that a film like this needed.
And Adamson does a spectacular job. The the taut race across a frozen river, the bombing of London, tea with the faun Tumnus, and even the cameo by Father Christmas (who gets a medieval makeover) -- all of these come to life with remarkable skill and grace, but with respect for its audience's intelligence. The make-or-break scene is Aslan stalking to the stone table, and the horrifying sacrifice scene that follows does justice to Lewis' novel.
But Adamson doesn't let it get overinflated on its own ego. When Edmund tells his horse, "Whoa, boy!" it retorts peevishly, "My NAME is Philip!"; elsewhere, the beavers snipe at each other like an old married couple. Those moments of lightness -- and giving Aslan a sense of humor -- keep the film from seeming self-conscious.
And of course, the special effects. WETA workship deserves an award (it's been nominated for a few) for the amazing CGI, ranging from goat-legged Tumnus to the lion Aslan, who looks almost real. They are especially good in battle scenes, which are startlingly savage and brutal, but filled with outstanding moments, such as a centaur leaping over the Witch and nearly beheading her.
Young Georgie Henley is probably the most capable actress here, conveying misery, awe, delight, childish glee and sorrow. All this from a small child, when a lot of adult actors can't manage that much. Skandar Keynes and Anna Popplewell turn in good performances as Edmund and Susan. Swinton and William Moseley (Peter) start off rather woodenly, but they both blossom when the four arrive in Narnia.
Though Lewis was reportedly against a live-action adaptation of the Chronicles, it's hard to imagine him having a problem with this rapid-fire, sparkling adaptation. (And stay for the credits for an extra surprise...)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hearing Impaired,
Otherwise - buy it, watch it, meditate on it. A timeless treasure for all ages.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving adaptation from Andrew Adamson: a true Son of Adam,
And with the excellent art direction and cinematography, you can't help but be swept away by the verisimilitude of the whole picture.
The performances are superb, with the possible exceptions of Peter and Edmund: they are easily overshadowed by Susan and Lucy. The marked difference between them draws attention to the boy's performances and how they could have been better.
Thematically, the film adheres to the original C.S.Lewis book and uses many of the same passages and dialogue. For filmic purposes, however, fresh scenes with scintillating dialogue were scripted into the storyline.
At once awe-inspiring, thoughtful, action-packed, frightening and moving, this first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia is an ambitious work of art that is pure magic: I know that C.S. Lewis would have approved!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, and amazing movie,
Firstly, the plot remains close to the book, with only a few changes, which do not take away from the overall story. The actors do an amazing job of portraying the four children, Lucy, Susan, Peter, and Edmund. Also, the White Witch is a beautiful, yet frightning character, portraying pure evil perfectly. The voices for the characters of the beavers and Aslan, etc. fit well. And while the animals are digitalized (and you can tell), the effect actually works, and it's not cheesy. It is a smoothly edited movie, with no noticeable continuity errors.
The music was excellently composed for the movie. It all fits, and each piece suits each scene (when Lucy meets Mr. Tumnus for the first time, the battle, etc.). The soundtrack can stand alone or with the movie.
If you are a huge fan of the books, this is a must-see. For those who haven't read the books, and are not familiar with the story, you can still see the movie and understand everything. It is so much better than BBC's adaptations of a few chosen books. The whole movie just works. Warning though, they beefed up the drama in the movie, which leads to some parts that will make you jump!
I highly recommend the movie (and soundtrack for that matter), happy viewing!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but Minor Changes May Irritate Avid Fans of the Novel,
Some of the minor changes to the storyline and dialogue did irritate me, just because I know the novel SO well. I would have liked more of Lewis' humour to be maintained instead of the humour that was added by the screenwriters. Most noticeably is the absence of the development of Mrs. Beaver with her cute statements about the bread knife & sewing machine. They also removed the scene in which the animals were having a party with food & drink given to them by Father Christmas - you know the part where the witch turns them into stone. Instead they developed the fox character and used him alone in this altered scenerio. I felt some of the dialogue & scene changes were a little unnecessary from a purist's perspective. Some of the scenes also seemed rushed to me and I would have liked to see the hideout "for beavers in bad times". I know, they had a time limit and actually the movie is over 2 hours which is longer than most movies. What they did with the time they had was really really well done. Hopefully we'll get some of these "deleted scenes" on the dvd.
As someone else mentioned, there is a surprise 30 seconds into the credits that you will not want to miss.
Some parents have expressed concern about the violence quotient, but I went into the movie with a 7-year old in mind and I think it will be okay for MOST younger children. There are the battle scenes and they show one person being killed with an arrow. However, they never dwell long on the battle and no blood is shown. The other part that is disturbing is the part with Tumnus in the dungeon and the implication is that he was tortured. That was rather upsetting and of course Aslan being killed was also very scary. But, they have presented these tastefully & sensitively. Actually the previews for other Disney films were more scary than the main attraction! :-)
My overall impression - EXCELLENT and I hope they make all 7 books into movies.
Note: As a teacher of the deaf I always check to make sure dvd's are closed captioned and this one is both cc and subtitled. Occasionally captions get left off a dvd and I think that's probably what happened with the the other reviewer's purchase. Anyway, if you're reading this, I hope you will get another copy and see if it works for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful fantasy for all ages,
This review is from: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)World War II is raging, bombs are falling on London, and children are being evacuated to the safety of the country. The four Pevensie children, Peter, Edmond, Susan, and Lucy, are sent to live in a big house owned by an old professor. One day they discover an old wardrobe in the attic that just happens to be the portal to the magical kingdom of Narnia. There, it is always winter, but never Christmas, thanks to the evil White Witch. Opposing her is King Aslan, mighty lion and defender of all that is good. The children must gather all their courage as they prepare for the final battle between the two sides.
Almost everyone and everything we see is CGI, which is stunning. The four children are natural and convincing. The first half of the story is a bit slow but the huge finale is worth the wait. CGI Aslan is such a sympathetic creature that there were few dry eyes in the theatre during his big scene, and the Christian allegory is quite touching. This is a very satisfying film for Narnia fans of all ages.
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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Widescreen) by Andrew Adamson (DVD - 2006)
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