The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (DVD) Review

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Nominated for three Academy Awards, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe follows on the heels of recent successful big screen adaptations of other childrens’ fantasy novels such as The Lord of the Rings books and the Harry Potter series. But while each of these series feature underlying tones of Christian symbolism, The Chronicles of Narnia is overtly intended as a Christian allegory. Written by the brilliant 20th Century Oxford and Cambridge literature professor C.S. Lewis, the Narnia stories were a tribute to his deep Christian faith. And this big screen transition is something of which he can be proud. Directed by Andrew Adamson, veteran director of the Shrek franchise, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is a master blend of traditional human acting and computer generated imagery.

The film follows the exploits of the four Pevensie children, two brothers and two sisters. Set during the early years of World War II, their mother sends them away to the countryside in order to escape the relentless Nazi bombing raids on London. Left to their own devices in the cavernous mansion of Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent), they engage in a traditional game of hide-and-seek, whereupon the youngest of children, Lucy (Georgie Henley) crawls into a lone wardrobe stationed in an otherwise empty room. Backing her way through the garments, she stumbles into a wintry wonderland where she encounters a faun named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy).

Initially, Mr. Tumnus tries to kidnap the young girl, but he experiences a change of heart due to the kindness of her spirit. As a result, he reveals to her the truth about the land into which she stumbled. Narnia is dominated by the evil White Witch who claims to be ruler of the forest, but the true ruler is a lion named Aslan who prophesied long ago that two “sons of Adam” and “daughters of Eve” would usher in the end of the one hundred year darkness administered by the White Witch. Knowing the prophecy, the witch intends to murder the children upon their arrival. But when Lucy relays the facts of the adventure to her family, they don’t believe her.

Despite their initial reservations, her older siblings – Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Peter (William Moseley) – all find their way into the magical land of Narnia. With talking trees, a forest filled with danger, and an evil witch in hot pursuit, the Pevensie kids must navigate their way through the treacherous land in order to find Aslan (Liam Neeson), the Messianic lion king who can help them to fulfill their rightful destiny as heirs to the thrones of Narnia…

Aided by an outstanding soundtrack which perfectly compliments each sequence of events, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is an inspiring film of epic proportions. For Christians, it will have significant meaning far in excess of a traditional film. For instance, the climatic scene of the film in which Aslan provides the ultimate sacrifice will evoke images of Roman soldiers beating and mocking Jesus in the hours leading up to his crucifixion. It’s undeniably the most powerful scene of the film. Meanwhile, Georgie Henley turns in an unforgettable performance as the innocent and playful Lucy. Her charisma exudes from the screen in a manner rarely common to child actors. This performance is complimented by Tilda Swinton who is magnificently cast in the role of the White Witch. She simultaneously displays the satanic traits of seductive beauty and ruthless cunning with heavenly perfection. Add a final battle sequence reminiscent of Braveheart, and you’ve got a blockbuster movie the whole family can enjoy. Although parents of small children who scare easily should take note that some of the scenes can be frightening, but probably no more frightening than Darth Vader and the aliens from Star Wars. Nevertheless, parents should preview the film before introducing it to young children. Overall, this first film in The Chronicles of Narnia series is well worth any movie-goer’s attention…

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