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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.19%
Average: 25.58%
Pretty Bad: 15.7%
Total Crap: 12.21%

7 reviews, 130 user ratings

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Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The
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by MP Bartley

"For kids, you know?"
4 stars

Sometimes, just sometimes, we film critics should try to view a film through the eyes of its intended audience. Of course we can only review a film as we see fit, but after watching 'Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' (hereby shortened to CON:TLTWATW) with my 6 year old son, I learnt that while this may not be a film for the refined critic within us, the kids frickin' love it. When I offered the other day to take him to the cinema again, instead of a repeat viewing of King Kong or Harry Potter, or seeing 'March of the Penguins' for the first time, he opted for his second viewing of Narnia. And sometimes, there's nothing at all wrong with a film that can cast that kind of spell.

The Pevensie children are among the thousands of children in London who face the nightly terror of German bombs in the blitz during WW2. Peter (William Moseley) is the eldest, struggling to fill his absent father's shoes, while Susan (Anna Popplewell) is the level-headed voice of reason in the group. Rounding out the group are sulky Edmund (Skandar Keynes) who's taking the father's military service worst of all, and the youngest, Lucy (Georgie Henley). Soon, the four of them are uprooted from their home and evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent) whose house contains the titular wardrobe that is the gateway to the magical and frozen land of Narnia.

Lucy is the first to enter encountering the faun Mr Tumnus (James McAvoy), while Edmund finding the world later, falls under the influence of Jadis the White Witch (Tilda Swinton). Initially disbelieving, Peter and Susan are the last to enter, encountering two talking beavers (Ray Winstone and Dawn French). Luckily for them (and us) they fill in a lot of exposition. Narnia is a land on the brink of war with Aslan the lion (Liam Neeson) and the forces of good on one side, and Jadis, who has plunged Narnia into perpetual winter, on the other. Furthermore, it seems that the appearance of four humans ties in with a prophecy that will decide the outcome of the war and the fate of Narnia.

The general critical reaction to 'CON:TLTWATW' has been cool and mediocre at best, and there are some criticisms that are deserved. The world of Narnia does seem strangely underpopulated and lacks the mammoth detail of the obvious comparison, Lord of the Rings. The children fall a little too neatly into the grand schemes of Jadis and Aslan, and the appearance of Father Christmas is as bizarre as it is the book. But then...if it's in the book, why shouldn't it be here?

And for the critics lambasting the film because of the less-than-subtle Christ allusion, well done for picking up on a reference that's only been common knowledge for, oooh, over fifty years, and has also been used in films from 'Bride of Frankenstein' to 'Cool Hand Luke' to 'E.T'. Very astute of you, give yourself a pat on the back.

Otherwise, the 'CON:TLTWATW' is giddy, fast-moving fun. Adamson keeps the film skipping along happily, throwing in lots of stunning eye-candy along the way and, c'mon, how can you go wrong with talking animals that aren't there just to sing songs or throw in annoying cultural references? Edmund's prissy horse deserves a film all of his own and steals the film with his one line. Part of the effect I could tell Narnia was having was from the cheers of the children by the end of the film as the two forces finally clash. It's a thunderous battle as eagles drop rocks, minotaurs charge centaurs, and rhinos take out humans. It has to be said however that for all its grandeur, it's quite a bloodless battle. No-one wants to see guts and entrails in a kids film, but would a little splash of crimson really traumatise anyone?

The four children fit into their roles nicely, pulling off the neat trick of capturing the spiky and niggly family dynamics of any brothers and sisters. The fact that Neeson makes for a dull Aslan, is countered by the fact that Swinton is a great villain. Conjuring up the spectre of Margaret Thatcher alongside the preying creepiness of a paedophile (her first scene with Edmund recalls one from 'The Woodsman'), she's effortlessly evil and leaves a tough job for whoever is handling the villain duties in 'Prince Caspian'.

If the first step into Narnia is one that doesn't astound us like our first trip into middle earth, then it's nevertheless a step that deserves a longer, fuller journey.

Ultimately, 'CON:TLTWATW' is a simplistic, thinly characterised, morally obvious tale with lots of great villains and cool supporting characters with some stunning visuals to match. And isn't that like most great kids films?

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originally posted: 01/16/06 21:01:56
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good if a bit harsh 4 stars
4/15/16 zhtiybvviry USA 3 stars
8/29/12 Alex Figueroa Just great! 4 stars
2/15/12 Ron Larson wonderful movies! Don't waste your time on Harry Potter crap. 5 stars
1/22/11 Shawn E Loved it! Couldn't wait for the sequels. 5 stars
2/17/10 The Calico Critic, Laura Hartness Not the best movie, but certainly the best iteration of Narnian movies over the decades. 4 stars
2/06/09 Brian lots of ripped off scenes from other movies badly recreated. badly choreographed fight scen 1 stars
1/17/09 Aesop Filmmaking magic at its finest. 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. a good story and good family film. i liked the books too :] 4 stars
9/18/08 hung kwow best movie ever 5 stars
9/12/08 Kathy ter Plugg Salvages much charm from CSLewis's pseudoChristian gobbledygook, but sequel all downhill. 4 stars
8/25/08 Vince not bad, quite interesting during the battle scene 5 stars
5/17/08 Prestle Dull and boring 2 stars
5/06/08 Mike It felt like poorly disguised allegory. Motivations were not fleshed out. 2 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White stunning effects but ho hum human performances 3 stars
10/20/07 Pauline Burns It was great! Loved the JESUS theme in it. 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger narnia isn't expanded enough. doesn't make you believe like LOTR enough. 2 stars
7/04/07 Trust Extremely dull, obviously an under 12 kids film but still, too hollow 2 stars
6/28/07 moncutter i like it but whenevr the wolf and aslan roar i jumped out of my seat. i must've look funny 5 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Good god, this suck arse. A 12 year old leading an army that nobody dies in. thats it. 1 stars
4/15/07 ella steer i love the film to bits and are watching it every second of my life georgie henley is cool! 5 stars
4/12/07 n it was really funny when Mrs. beaver was taking somf food for them when they were in danger 4 stars
3/12/07 jeanne Those children were so ANNOYING, I was rooting for Tilda! 2 stars
1/09/07 bob is it ok to shit in narnia?? 1 stars
12/04/06 Anthony G Dragon, unimaginative? Sorry, but that's just retarded. 4 stars
11/30/06 christina zacarias good for a family movie 4 stars
11/17/06 Christina McNay The whole point is it is a family movie, it is for KIDS!!! Not sum complex thing! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Dull& unimaginitive, &it tried too hard to be the next big film.I never like the story. 2 stars
8/09/06 David Cohen Okay, it's x-tian propaganda, if that doesn't bother you its not bad 4 stars
8/02/06 CHRISTIE IT IS COOL! 5 stars
8/01/06 emily it was brillitant it was also probably the best 1 day i would like 2 meet the 4 children 5 stars
7/30/06 Scotty Faithful to the book; Great make-up and special effects! 5 stars
7/13/06 EZ It's pretty good but I hate British kids trying to act 4 stars
7/01/06 Emily This was one of the best movies I have ever seen!! 5 stars
6/30/06 George I partyed 24 hours when this boring shit finished 1 stars
6/19/06 Brooke Clayton i think it was absolutley excellent. 5 stars
6/11/06 Billy A must see for thickheads 1 stars
6/03/06 matt good effects, but poor storytelling 3 stars
5/28/06 Alex amazing, realy original 5 stars
5/06/06 john smith I liked it, so there... 4 stars
5/05/06 Cuenzie Wunzie Book was good. Movie sucks 1 stars
4/27/06 Farron Watson Beautiful and majestic. True to the original work. 5 stars
4/27/06 belinda william lover i love the movie it made me cry and laugh and william moseley is hot!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/25/06 Kirk Hrabrich If you like your moives with underdeveloped plot lines, characters - it's a must see! 2 stars
4/21/06 Jack What the hell?! 1 stars
4/19/06 Annie G Great adaptation of the book. Great acting from the 2 younger kids! 4 stars
4/17/06 R.W.Welch It's no Wiz of Oz but has solid acting and impressive effects. 4 stars
4/13/06 quiet_but_angry @ xanga disappointing- the trailer was far better than the movie 2 stars
4/10/06 TonyF They deliberately mimicked cinematography from LOTR. Butt-itchingly boring. 2 stars
4/06/06 Jennel i thought that Peter (William Moseley) was hot! 5 stars
4/04/06 Twyla Hakensone 5 stars
4/03/06 JRE just blah. stuck to the book, but wasn't entertaining at all 3 stars
3/26/06 Quigley Aslan is what will make this an instant classic; he was powerful. incredible movie 5 stars
3/24/06 mike good effects -total nonsense i loved it 4 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar Almost great. But why were the children allowed to wear fur coats? 4 stars
3/03/06 sbpat21 I kinda walked out 2 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis Not a religious going person but I did like the story. 3 stars
2/18/06 linda gebauer wonderful, magnificent scenery 5 stars
2/10/06 Vic Did the childhood classic novel complete justice. I loved it. 5 stars
2/04/06 Michele love the story 4 stars
1/30/06 angela mae catbagan very awesome 5 stars
1/26/06 Sean Hartlieb Simply imaginative and spritually inspiring 5 stars
1/25/06 hooper loop just plain average, too many boring bits, little girl nice acting 3 stars
1/22/06 Anus 3 little motherfuckers swing swords a bit and become rulers. The real fighters become nil. 1 stars
1/22/06 Anthony Feor Burn this movie along with the books cause this just ruined it all 1 stars
1/21/06 jake it's a great movie 3 stars
1/21/06 Quigley the movie is aimed for younger people, sure, but the image of Aslan is still so powerful 5 stars
1/18/06 thejames best part is the end, when the girl kills guy with arrow. hillarious. 2 stars
1/17/06 kr a movie with great effects and great story , good verses evil and good always wins 4 stars
1/13/06 Perry Mason seemed like a made-for-tv fantasy "epic" with decent special FX. 3 stars
1/10/06 chris. disney: thanks for shitting on my childhood memories. brings sappiness to a great story. 2 stars
1/09/06 bob This is an average movie. 3 stars
1/09/06 Eden Nothing really stands out apart from Swinton's excellent White Witch 3 stars
1/06/06 Littlepurch Loved the beavers! Comical and likeable. But whole film great. The queen rules! 5 stars
1/03/06 Marek Pokorny Awesome - The reviewer forgot this is a young teen film 5 stars
1/02/06 malcolm much better than i expected, not corny, childish or overtly religious 4 stars
1/02/06 too-much-coffee mistress color-by-numbers adaptation, lacks the emotional punch of the original material. 3 stars
1/01/06 Quigley this was amazing. powerfully moving (Aslan) & impressive (Aslan). you people are heartless 5 stars
12/31/05 joy dull 1 stars
12/30/05 James Great CGI; poor storyline; hard to stay awake 2 stars
12/30/05 VenusxMantrap I loved it so much, I had to remind myself to breathe at times. 5 stars
12/29/05 Dada Faithful to the book; cool FX; well done! 5 stars
12/28/05 Sara Turner Excellent movie, both in special effects and story line. 5 stars
12/28/05 bullit16 Lord of the Rings Lite. Still fun to watch. Read the book. 4 stars
12/27/05 Henry Beckwith Viewing this movie is the equivalent to eating cardboard. 1 stars
12/27/05 kaz magical childrens movie for the whole family 5 stars
12/27/05 Suzz one of the worst films I've ever seen 1 stars
12/27/05 jimena congratulations 1 stars
12/27/05 G WTF? this is what happens when you take a PG-13 book and make a PG movie 3 stars
12/26/05 Katrina Graham An utter disappointment that almost made me wonder what I ever saw in the books. 1 stars
12/24/05 DM A bit too much like LOTR. A good movie (Swinton is great), but it's missing something. 4 stars
12/24/05 MF Great movie 5 stars
12/24/05 Quigley the CG effects, the story and the characters (Aslan) will become immortal in movie history 5 stars
12/23/05 john wow, sensitive, beautiful, texture fine, lovely 5 stars
12/20/05 ugh really wanted it to be good, but you gotta be 8 to find it anything but boring 2 stars
12/20/05 Anal Sub-standard Lord of the Rings wannabe rip-off. Ass-lan 1 stars
12/20/05 John Ellis This movie was great...forget any critics who tell you otherwise 5 stars
12/20/05 Meeeeeeeeeeee This film was bloody awesome 5 stars
12/20/05 M. BOOORING! What's with the queen's costumes? Crap! 1 stars
12/19/05 I wanna dos it my self giggle giggle what movie 1 stars
12/18/05 meme I love this movie 5 stars
12/18/05 Nay It was great and don't even try to compare it the the absolute shite that is Harry Potter 5 stars
12/17/05 captain craig better than Harry Potter mand MUCH better the the lord of the Rings 4 stars
12/16/05 Quigley incredible visuals, amazing cast, and good score. but see this film for one thing: Aslan. 5 stars
12/15/05 Jason I loved it! 5 stars
12/15/05 Lowtax Crap CGI. Go watch King Kong instead. Or just download this, watch and delete 1 stars
12/15/05 Cunt Hypocritical christian propaganda 1 stars
12/15/05 Flounder Pure Poop!!! 3 stars
12/15/05 Kata I don't know what you were thinking, but this movie had a lot of emotion! 5 stars
12/15/05 Brian One of the best movies I have ever seen! You people are morons! 5 stars
12/14/05 Corinne I kept waiting for the excitement to step up. Thought it was very slow. 3 stars
12/13/05 Angel Valentine It was bland and boring at best. I wasted my money. 3 stars
12/13/05 scotch Great casting (Tilda rocks!) & visuals. Same old tired theology, but now with talking beave 4 stars
12/12/05 David Poe Tell us when you get around to reviewing the film, the MST3k impression sucks. 4 stars
12/12/05 Jonathon Holmes Eh, it's OK. Skip this and see "Goblet of Fire" 3 stars
12/12/05 Butterbean Watch it for Tilda's White Witch. Otherwise, it's silly and St. Nick gives kids weapons. 3 stars
12/11/05 Whiteshaft Eh. Just OK. 3 stars
12/11/05 othree Suprisingly good cast flawless efx restricting PGrating long true 2 CSLewis 4 stars
12/11/05 Titus Wow, that was a disappointment. Superficial, poorly acted, and just somehow creepy. Ick. 2 stars
12/11/05 Lord Jiggy Get over your PC anti-Christianity. Wonderfully done film, uplifting even. 5 stars
12/10/05 Kevin Murray Great book; bad movie; worse review. Pro-Catholic propoganda from a Protestant? 3 stars
12/10/05 Wolf I laughed, I cried, it was even true to the book. 5 stars
12/10/05 Flounder Starts off wonderfully, but quickly becomes heavy-handed, wooden and dull. Disappointing. 3 stars
12/08/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble The rich kids wear fur. They Rock!!!!! 5 stars
12/04/05 Ray Decent 4 stars
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  09-Dec-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006



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