Reviews & Previews - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Witch, the Lion and the Wardrobe

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 at 05:00 PM

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

By: S. Tran

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Rated: Rated PG for battle sequences and frightening moments

Who Knew Wardrobes Could Be Fun?

Finally, a major motion picture has been made from the last of the holy trinity of nerd literary sources. Following the heels of the wildly successful Lord of the Rings and the wildly inane Dungeons and Dragons, The Chronicles of Narnia brings to life the epic fantasy by C.S. Lewis. Ok, so Dungeons and Dragons isn't really a literary source but growing up invariably anyone who played that game had also read the other two books and invariably they were nerds. Fortunately watching the movie made from the book is not as nerdy.

Narnia tells the story of four young English children who are sent to the country to escape the London bombings of World War II. While at the home of a reclusive professor they stumble upon the world of Narnia and are ironically drawn into another war. Think of Narnia as Lord of the Rings light, it tastes good but with only half the calories.

You are spared the sort of lumbering political intrigue and mind numbing cast of thousands all with almost the same names you can't keep track of. Instead Narnia presents a fairly simple story. Bad Witch takes over Narnia, good Lion comes back to fight Witch, kids are there to help the good Lion all according to a prophesy. There that's it, with a couple of talking beavers thrown in for good measure. Even the four kids are nicely slotted into easy to remember archetypes; the innocent baby, the bratty young brother, the bossy older brother and the matronly older sister. No doubt if J.R.R. Tolkien had written the story there would have been 12 kids with 3 sets of twins with rhyming names.

Adamson does a good job with the source material and manages to bring to life not only the England of the 1940's but also the fairy tale world of Narnia. One small issue I had with the set design though was that at times it did look more like a stage set than a real world. Apart from this small problem the rest of the film looks good. It doesn't approach the vistas we saw in the Lord of the Ring movies but it has its own sort of cartoon like charm.

The children all do a decent job in their roles. Georgie Henley is particularly charming as Lucy, the youngest of the children who first discovers Narnia. Her acting is adorable without coming off as affected. There aren't any real other standout performances unless you count the beavers who provide some nice comic relief.

The special effects are well done and all the CG characters move about in the movie fairly seamlessly. At some point in the movie you stop thinking that talking beavers are anything out of the ordinary, which is a good sign that the special effects people are doing their jobs.

While the movie has some darker moments this is a good choice for families. The young children will enjoy the talking animals and parents can still watch a decently entertaining film.


3 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to