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

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/12/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 140 mins

Enjoyable adaptation that looks fantastic and stays remarkably faithful to the novel, though it wobbles occasionally during the emotional scenes.

The Background
After the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter adaptations, it’s perhaps unsurprising that someone has finally gotten around to making a film of C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. What is surprising is that that someone is Shrek director Andrew Adamson.

The Story
The film begins during the Blitz in World War II, when the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are evacuated to the countryside. Whilst playing hide and seek, Lucy stumbles through a wardrobe and finds herself in the land of Narnia, which is kept in perpetual winter by an evil witch (Tilda Swinton).

Her siblings soon join her and find themselves caught up in a war between the White Witch and the forces of good, led by Aslan the lion (voiced by Liam Neeson).

The Good
As you’d expect from the effects house behind Lord of the Rings, the effects are extremely good. Narnia looks fabulous too and the New Zealand scenery works as well here as it did in Lord of the Rings.

The character work is also excellent. Ray Winstone steals the film as Mr Beaver whilst James McAvoy is perfectly cast as Mr Tumnus. Liam Neeson has done so many mentor and father figures this year that he's in serious danger of being typecast, but his voice works very well for Aslan. Tilda Swinton is also perfectly cast as the White Witch.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that key emotional moments don’t work as well as they should. There are also a couple of Shrek-style jokes that, whilst funny, don’t really belong here.

Performance-wise the kids fare less well than older cast members. Skander Keynes looks perfect as Edmund and gets better as the film goes on, but he does an awful lot of shouty acting at the beginning and looks uncomfortable. William Moseley is a bit rubbish and makes an unconvincing leader, whilst Anna Popplewell is generally good but not given all that much to do. Georgie Henley is superb as Lucy though. She acts the other three off the screen.

The Conclusion
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is an extremely enjoyable film that should delight both fans of the books and newcomers alike. However, it remains to be seen whether or not it spawns the franchise the studio is clearly hoping for.

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Content updated: 15/12/2017 00:39

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