The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

chronicles of narnia the lion the witch and the wardrobe poster
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice creature design, strong story

Santa Claus portion, talking animals

Movie Info

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

Studio: Walden Media

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s): December 8, 2005

MPAA Rating: PG

chronicles of naria the lion the witch and the wardrobe mr tumnus lucy james mcavoy

Nothing weird about a little girl walking around with a naked goat man

Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Peter (William Moseley) have been shuttled out of London because of the bombings and find themselves bored and alone in a large countryside mansion owned by an eccentric professor (Jim Broadbent).  When Lucy discovers a land called Narnia inside a spare-room wardrobe and befriends a faun named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy), she and her brothers and sister find themselves pulled into a land at war with an evil ruler called the White Witch (Tilda Swinton).  With Edmund secretly under the White Witch’s control, the Pevensie children must free the land from the endless winter and restore Narnia to glory.

chronicles of narnia the lion the witch and the wardrobe tilda swinton turkish delight

Everyone wants to taste my Turkish Delight

Directed by Andrew Adamson, The Chronicles of Narnia were a long time coming as a major motion picture series.  Based on the 1950 book by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was met with modest reviews and relatively strong box office draw.  There had been other versions of the film with an animated version in 1979 and big scale adaptations which aired on PBS in the United States.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup with nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

The Chronicles of Narnia really got its chance with the release of Harry Potter and the rising popularity of fantasy for kids.  The movie is pretty faithful to the book and even works to make a few moments “more exciting”.  Though the scene of the bombing goes on a bit too long, it is good to establish why the Pevensies were going to countryside (something just mentioned offhand in the book).  The film also makes good use of the pursuit of Susan, Peter, and Lucy from the Beavers’ dam, something that in the book just never felt very urgent.  The battle is on a pretty big scale also and sometimes even pushes the PG rating of the film.

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The cold cool person in the movie

The star of this film has to be Tilda Swinton who makes a great White Witch.  Her natural appearance is odd enough to make her character unique, and she emits a chilly coldness which slowly grows into a warmer more feral warrior.  I hope that the makers do get to make The Magician’s Nephew sometime where her character has an even larger role since she steals every scene in this film.

The problems with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also are revealed in the movie.  In the book it is ok to have talking animals, but talking animals don’t always translate to film well.  It is the case in this film also.  While the animation is done well, something just doesn’t look right about the animals.  The effects on some of the creatures like the minotaurs are effective, but the talking animals just look fake and goofy.

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Yes!!! Santa Claus?

There is one part of The Chronicles of Narnia that always rubbed me the wrong way and it was the same thing in the movie.  I also was never a fan of the Santa Claus chapter in the book.  It always seemed just a bit too hokey and the movie presents it well, but in the whole of the story I just never felt it fit.  Yes, C. S. Lewis puts tons and tons of Christian imagery in the book, but that possibly is why all the sudden Santa Claus showing up with presents feels weird and unnecessary.  It does symbolize the thawing of Narnia but it also almost seems like deus ex machina moment to get the characters their weapons.

A result of its faults, The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe did not light the box office on fire but a potential for stumbling was evident.  Since the movie was a monumental undertaking (there are seven books), a good, but not fantastic, response put the rest in the series in question.  The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was followed by The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian in 2008.

Related Links:

The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian (2008)

The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

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

The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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