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 Movie Spotlight
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Release Date: December 9, 2005
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Andrew Adamson
Screenwriter:
Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeeley
Starring: Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Rupert Everett, Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG (for battle sequences and frightening moments)
Official Website: Narnia.com

Plot Summary: C.S. Lewis' timeless adventure "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" follows the exploits of the four Pevensie siblings -- Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter -- in World War II England who enter the world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe while playing a game of 'hide-and-seek' in the rural country home of an elderly professor. Once there, the children discover a charming, peaceful land inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants that has become a world cursed to eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Under the guidance of a noble and mystical ruler, the lion Aslan, the children fight to overcome the White Witch's powerful hold over Narnia in a spectacular, climactic battle that will free Narnia from Jadis' icy spell forever.

The film marks the first live-action directorial effort for New Zealander Andrew Adamson (the Oscar®-winning "Shrek," "Shrek 2"), who also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation with Emmy Award-winner Ann Peacock (HBO's "A Lesson Before Dying") and scribes Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. The film is produced by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Mark Johnson and Philip Steuer.

To bring his dazzling vision to the screen, Adamson has secured the talents of Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Donald M. McAlpine, ASC, ACS, Oscar®-nominated production designer Roger Ford, seasoned costume designer Isis Mussenden, film editors Sim Evan-Jones and Jim May and composer Harry Gregson-Williams.

 Review
Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers © 2005
- You'll need a survivor pack

 Four children enter through a gateway, circa World War II, into a snow filled-landscape inhabited by fauns, beavers, and wolves. The White Witch (a strong Tilda Swinton) rules this land of Narnia which is cursed by eternal winter. She is trying to thwart a prophecy that humans will one day redeem Narnia, but with help from the king of the animals, Aslan the Lion (voice of Liam Neeson), the four children have arrived in fulfilment of that prophecy.

 Gateways in movies make for interesting and entertaining stories (think Back to the Future and the less satisfying The Time Machine (2002) and Stargate). They tread the impossible and implausible, such as Wardrobe’s gateway into Narnia, but in Wardrobe the event is less convincing and believable than the fun-filled escapism of Back to the Future, which wore its gateway device on its sleeve. In contrast, Wardrobe knows its own importance. The dialogue revolves around grandiose statements and grave pronouncements but there is light comic relief from an animatronics invention: two beavers, and the adorable cutes of the younger of the children, Lucy. The pace and style hinders action and momentum, or in other words this is slow going and dull. It does not even look like a blockbuster apart from a latter end (and short) battle sequence, the only such sequence in the film.

 Based on C.S. Lewis’ children’s fantasy book, one of a seven-part series called the Narnia Chronicles, this was purported to be a Christian allegory, although the filmmakers (including director Andrew Adamson) have stopped short of calling their film that, even though this movie could be interpreted in such a religious vein, particularly Aslan the Lion’s death and resurrection. Other analogous interpretations, involving Biblical conjecture, could be offered. But what is obvious is that the children escape into a world much the same as the World War they have inherited, and are challenged to take their courage in grand royal fashion. This is atypical Hollywood heroising, too. But, the heroes (and their performances) are puerile enough not to score and therefore lessen the dramatic impact of what is at stake in the plot.

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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter I - WETA:
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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter II - The Director:
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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter III - Locations & Sets:
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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter IV - Story:
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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter V - Visual Effects:
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Behind the Magic of Narnia: Chapter VI - Battle Preview:
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6 Clips:
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