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"The Silver Chair"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Silver Chair" More at IMDbPro »

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Index 19 reviews in total 

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Passable

Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia
28 August 1999

This is much better than the BBC's earlier forays into Narnia, partly due to the book it's based on. It's set in the bare, unpopulated wastes to Narnia's north, so the drab scenery is not a defect. Nor is the absence of extras. Puddleglum, C.S. Lewis's best Narnian creation, is played by Tom Baker, who fits the role as well as anyone on Earth. In general the acting is better in `The Silver Chair' than it was earlier on. Direction is crisper, costumes are more convincing: everything has improved. I have commented harshly on `The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', and most of those comments apply here as well, but never to the same extent. This is actually okay television. Of course, an adaptation of the Narnia books should be much more than that.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

magic word

Author: Russ Graeber (russ_nick@hotmail.com)
17 August 2004

Mty son (7 years old) lovs this one and all of the series. I like this one in particular, largely because of Tom Baker's brilliance.

I just have a question for anyone who has watched it.

Did anyove notice that Puddleglum says the magic word (ie f*ck)?

In the scene where he gets drunk and he is picked up by the fat lady giant, Puddleglum makes some incomprehensible protests. Among this, pretty clearly, he says the magic word. My 7 year old first noticed this and told me. I told him he must be wrong. But I watched/lisstened to the offending bit and I had to tell my son that he was right. It was one of the funniest things i've ever seen / heard.

Anyway, Tom Baker is brilliant as always and he can do no wrong in my eyes.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Nicely done, a beautiful adaptation

8/10
Author: Sparrow_in_flight from United States
18 July 2003

I've grown up watching this and the other three Narnia movies (TLTW&TW PC & TVotDT). I fell in love with them. As far as adaptations go, they were wonderfully done. The child actors used did a great job of portraying Eustace and Jill, and Caspian at the end. it was all brought together wonderfully, and when watching it, you can almost believe that you will entr Narnia yourself. i wish they could've done all 7.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Everyone Agrees: This One's the Best!

7/10
Author: CalvinValjean
24 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the third in my three-part review of the BBC Narnia serial. Please check out my earlier two.

THE SILVER CHAIR This one's always been the best, hands down. Similar to Dawn Treader, this is due to the story being a quest, which adapts well to film, and there is less emphasis on battles or visual f/x, but more on adventure and discovery. The climatic scenes involving Rillian imprisoned in the silver chair make for compelling drama. I also think the costumes and sets improved this time around, especially in the Underland Palace.

The cleverest conceit of this adaptation is the idea of the bewitched Rillian wearing an iron mask, something that wasn't in the book but works BRILLIANTLY on film. Obviously they HAD to do this so that the audience wouldn't recognize him at first, but it just adds such a great visual touch to the tormented character. Indeed, the role of Rillian is really a three part performance: 1. A naive romantic youth in the flashbacks, 2. An angry and tormented knight while bewitched, and 3. A more mature and valiant version of the first stage after he is freed.

Camilla Power is very good as Jill, making the character very headstrong and likable (which Lucy wasn't). She's also very pretty. Eustace is good again. Warwick Davis (who previously was Reepicheep and this time is Glimfeather) and Big Mick (as Trumpklin) are also good again, but sadly there is less of both. Barbara Kellerman (playing a different witch) totally overacts yet again, and THANK GOD that there is also less of her this time around.

But the real star is Tom Baker as Puddleglum. Everyone who's ever seen this agrees that his performance is likely the best in the entire BBC series, and I personally think he deserved a BAFTA. He just plays the role so pessimistically, yet delivers his jokes with such a straight face. And underneath all that, he's actually a very brave companion, and his speech to the Witch makes you want to cheer.

Alas, nothing is perfect, and this entry still has problems. The production value is still what it is, and the pacing becomes a problem again (a full 3 hours on a rather simple book). There is one scene that LITERALLY DID make me crack up at its corniness, which is when Eustace tries to stop Jill from falling off the cliff and ends up falling himself. What makes it so funny is the fact that you don't actually see the cliff they're standing on, and it was obviously just filmed over a hill. But I will forgive them that, since I realize that with their budget, there probably was no alternative way to film the scene.

WEAKEST MOMENT: When our heroes arrive at the committee of the Owls, and we're staring at a bunch of cartoon eyeballs in the dark. Oy vey!

In conclusion, the BBC serials were a worthy attempt at adapting Narnia, and most of us who loved Narnia as kids and had no other film versions will look back at this series with nostalgia. But I for one look forward to the new versions. The true Aslan and Narnia exist only in the pages of C.S. Lewis, and that is the best place to get the story!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"If that doesn't steady a chap, I don't know what will!"

8/10
Author: Tom May (joycean_chap@hotmail.com) from United Kingdom
21 May 2002

While I would largely agree with the sentiments as expressed by the below gentleman, I would contend a few cases. This chap claims it was a "trilogy"? Well, he's fallen prey to the IMDB-shared delusion that Prince Caspian & Dawntreader are one story, when in fact they are and were intended as two separate books and dramatisations! Also, I think "Loach10" is grossly misrepresenting the below commentators when he tars them with the mantle of "cynicism"; the reviews are, on the contrary, wholly favourable if rather short and indeed make little reference to special effects. I would also suggest that by no means does the "trilogy" "more than adequately cover" the whole Narnia saga - heavens, they didn't make "The Last Battle", frankly my favourite book of them all and a great close to the series. Oh, and the perhaps not so small case of "A Horse and His Boy"; a fine little contrast of a book, fleshing out Calormen, featuring good characters and generally offering refreshing, derring Arabian Nights-esque "do".

Anyway, enough of such quibbling, however required it be. May I declare I know the below reviewer "in real life" and the said Chris Loach is a fine, if contrary fellow. He indeed even lent me the video of "The Silver Chair" last year, from which I am able to type this addled review. I too was revisiting it after around ten years, after liking the whole Narnia shebang as a child. Beady eyed folk may know if they've read my "Caspian/Voyage" joint review that my feelings were mixed regarding those two, with "Caspian" very mediocre and "Voyage" wonderful. "The Silver Chair" stands somewhere in between for me, albeit closer to the quality of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader".

"The Silver Chair" is one of my favourite of the stories, with a fairy tale plot proving a nice contrast to the mystical, Homeric journey of "Dawn Treader". The whole Rillian story is most enjoyable and yes, could even be viewed as a potential adult fairy tale, though it's not truly intended that way. Tom Baker is wonderful yes, as Puddleglum, but it is perhaps more a job of excellent casting than acting: anyone who has seen as many Tom Baker "Dr Who" episodes as I have, not to mention other stuff he's been in, would know he has got a limited range. It is however a range that centres around a comic flair and otherworldly eccentricity; his early Dr Whos I suppose show him in a slightly more restrained, mixed vein. That's not to say Baker is unwelcome when going a little OTT; his mid-late Dr Whos are wonderfully enjoyable although he could often tend to overshadow the stories and guest casts in some of those... Oh, and his Puddleglum is certainly eccentric, if I suppose restrained in the sense that he's dour. No doubt, anyway, that his presence is more than welcome and he's really the only member of the cast to match the high standards as set by Samuel West and John Hallam in the previous dramatization. Camilla Power, who I see is still acting in British TV, is very good as Jill, certainly convincing as this slight misfit of a girl, less cloying than Lucy and certainly more damn substantial than the "here today, gone tomorrow" Susan! She's a good 13 or so, and so seems to be playing younger than she is - but that could be just the changing times that have brought the perspective that girls of 12/13 are not so innocent as they once were. Jill Pole is certainly a lot more likeable than most of the other Narnia children; lol, perhaps as she's from a "Secondary Modern" school...! Yes, I do see that the adaptation to TV diluted many of C.S. Lewis' hilarious thinly-veiled attacks on comprehensive school education... I was really taken aback by this when reading the book fairly recently, certainly a sign of a slightly jaundiced, conservative view towards "Progressive Schools" that manifests itself in these lower class variants on the "Tom Brown's Schooldays" bullies. Eustace, the mellowed sort that he now is, works pretty well in this story, though he is a trifle bland - his preposterous indignation was very amusing indeed early in "Dawn Treader" I feel. The "Har Fang" episode is in many ways the best part of it, and certainly the part I remembered most; who could forget the giant, amazingly sinister, smiling face of Patsy Byrne? She is indeed playing an oddly similar role, as some sort of nanny, to that she played in the fine sitcom, "Blackadder II". Tom Baker shines in the scene where Puddleglum's (maybe) pretending to be drunk, and when he realises the mess they are in it's hilarious. There's some great comedy also at some meal part where Jill beams, "Oh! I've never tasted vension before! Isn't it scrumptious!?" Puddleglum says in relation to her acting, "The giants all seem to love her", Eustace goes, "Girls are always much better at that sort of thing than boys..." and then Baker delivers it wonderfully: "Even boys are better at it than Marshwiggles..." The whole section is well filmed, as really, is most of the rest of it. Only the scenes actually set in Narnia are a little unsatisfying, though there is of course... the snake! Yes, the Narnia scenes, as with "Prince Caspian" do not show the place in sufficiently sublime a light for me - is it me or were the BBC unlucky with the weather they got? They also could have chosen less mundane areas of the British countryside I feel, not that it's bad; it's just that Narnia should look like something special and magical. Again, you also have a few of the comedy Yorkshire accents - "Ah! The boy's useless!" - attributed to animals who, well, are not the greatest costumed perhaps. Also, the aged Caspian element is not so well conveyed as it should be.

Old Babs Kellerman - practically the only mature female lead performer the series ever used - is better than in "Prince Caspian", though she admittedly does have more screen time here, and a role central to the plot. Oh, and she doesn't have to don the ageing make-up to play such an "Old Hag" as her "Prince Caspian" character is billed. We perhaps have a little make up of a different kind, as we are treated to this Green Lady, a dame who quite clearly has a sexual as well as magical hold over Rilian. It is undeniably implicit in the story at a few points I would say. Kellerman is slightly hammy but not to so large a degree as with "Prince Caspian" and from my distant memories, her role in "The Lion, The Witch...". The actor who played Rilian is indeed excellent, giving much credibility and a dangerous edge to his character. Come to think of it, when the Underworld part of the story does not involve the Lady or Rilian, it does get slightly more dull... The "Old Father Time" bit and more of it, was better done in the book. Of course, the climatic "There never *was* such a world as Narnia..." scene, including Puddleglum's passionate speech, is stirring, effective stuff with atmosphere and pathos. I love Tom Baker's delivery of the speech, and Kellerman's "Over... *world*?" giddily questioning tones, trying to make reality appear a dazed dream. Speaking of intonations, Ronald Pickup masterfully voices the immobile Aslan - Pickup really has got a rich, lovely voice.

On a final note, I feel a certain lack of confidence in any likely project to bring the Narnia series to film. Certainly some stray animal costumes and the like would be more visually up to standard, but indeed, would the charm be preserved? For every thoughtful "Lord of the Rings" film adaptation you get myriad anaemic mummifyings - "Harry Potter" - and on the chance occasion you even get adaptations of charming British originals like "The Avengers" TV series that are frankly cringeworthily misguided...! I'm sure we would get a British cast largely for Narnia films, but that is no guarantee you're going to get the right people. The choice of director would be important - no ill-plying hack like Jeremiah S. Chechik or that Columbus feller. To conclude, I feel such a project would be highly risky, and the idea of "a modern adaptation" of Narnia is surely missing the point entirely, as much of their charm is grounded in the past. You cannot have the children as anything other than 1940s English public school stock, for example. Besides, what I want is for the BBC to finally do "The Last Battle"... or failing that, let someone like David Lynch or budding director Tom May take have a stab at doing a dark if still recognizable film of it! "The Silver Chair"; certainly a TV adaptation excellent in most regards that matter...

Rating:- ****/*****

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The best of the series

8/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
31 December 2010

I have commented more than once about my love for the books. And in general, I like these BBC adaptations. They aren't perfect, but they are very enjoyable, and I concur with those who say the best is The Silver Chair, in my view it is absolutely. The book is wonderful with a great story, and this adaptation did it justice. Any changes that were made actually worked, particularly Rillian's iron mask. One or two parts may have dated slightly though, and there is a rather weak scene with the committee of owls and eyeballs in the dark. On the whole, the production values are an improvement, with the sets and costumes good enough and the effects much better than previously. The music is still as beautiful as ever, the writing has also improved and the story is wonderful, the whole Rillian story especially is brilliantly done. And the acting is fine. Camilla Power is very good, as is David Thwaites. Barbara Kellerman is a stunning and imposing Green Lady, and Aslan is majestically voiced by Ronald Pickup. The standout though is easily Tom Baker, who is simply brilliant as Puddlegum, and I too think he gives the best performance of the entire series. All in all, very enjoyable even with its limitations. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good script adaptation from book to movie

7/10
Author: karalynnn from United States
4 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Silver Chair is the Third and final installment of the BBC miniseries production of C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. The adaptation from the book, like the other two DVD's in the series, is right on. And like the other two movies the effects are pretty old school, but considering this was a made for TV miniseries that is over 15 years old, it is forgivable; and as the series progresses the effects do improve. I over all the ensemble of Eustace (David Thwaites), Jill (Camilla Power) and Puddleglum (Tom Baker) worked very, very well together. And I also feel obliged to add that Tom Bakers portrayal of Puddleglum was superb, but that is to be expected by "Dr. Who".

SPOILER ALERT:

The only parts of the movie that disappointed me was the lack of explanation as to why the Earth Men were throwing themselves into the deep crevice, that should have been edited out of the miniseries if it wasn't to be expounded upon. I was also not very impressed with the portrayal of the enchanted Prince Rilian.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"The other Marshwiggles say I'm too flighty"

9/10
Author: loach10
18 May 2002

The Silver Chair is perhaps the most consistent of the commendable trilogy of BBC Narnia adaptations of the late 80's, back in those dim distant days when the BBC was committed to quality children's drama. Revisiting the production Ten years after first viewing I found myself warmed anew by the charm of Narnia, which the trilogy more than adequately conveys, and am quite frankly saddened by some of the cynicism of some reviewers towards the economical budgeting. The acting is excellent throughout, Tom Baker much deserving of praise for is simply superb performance as the perennial pessimist 'Puddleglum'; a truly crafted and nuanced portrayal of one C.S Lewis' most endearing characters. Equally the respective child actors put in commendable performances, I much liked the slightly more forceful interpretation of the character of Jill, and Ronald Pickup's Aslan remains resplendent. Perhaps Kellerman's Green Lady is a little OTT for any mature viewer, but the younger viewer will revel in her pantominesque acting.

The atmosphere of the TSC is altogether more dark than some of the earlier outings, Richard Henders manic performance as the crazed Rillian as his the child actors almost visibly reeling in horror, and the scene where Kellerman's Green Lady bewitches the children, "There never was a Narnia", is seditiously sinister. What a shame the tension of the scene was somewhat dispelled when Kellerman transforms into a very unthreatening rubber snake which, despite my defence of the budgeting, really was palpably absurd.

The Chronicles of Narnia really are crying for a modern adaption, to captivate a whole new generation of children bored into catalepsy by inane 'S-Club 7' type melodrama. Indeed, I'm heard whisperings of a Movie production of 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe', inspired perhaps by the movie success of Tolkien. A Hollywood Narnia would indeed by very interesting, perhaps at last Aslan will bound across the screen to remedy my memories of the all to static Aslan of the BBC productions, and the Green Lady will actually turn into a serpent! I only hope the casting and acting is as good as is in these BBC classics!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Correction

8/10
Author: ejpedde from United States
21 January 2006

The last post was less than honest in it's claim that CS Lewis did not blatantly make his books Christian books. He is right in claiming that "The book {Silver Chair} does NOT include Aslan's ending line from the film where he says that he also exists in the human world, but that the kids MUST learn his 'other name.'" What this person neglected to say, either through ignorance or dishonesty, is that the line does appear in the books, although it is at the end of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", not "Silver Chair." While Lewis was fond of saying "What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects -- with their Christianity latent", he didn't often follow his own advice.

On the movie, it is a fairly faithful film, but was done in the late 80's released in 90, so it did not, alas, have the benefit of computer graphics. Still, it's well worth watching.

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Awkward Cheesiness

4/10
Author: bonniejoy-978-68763 from United States
4 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Silver Chair is one of my favorite stories of the Narnia series. The messages are powerful, the adventures are intense, and the ending bitter-sweet (and desirable). Mostly it's about Jill and Eustace being called out of their world, and with the help of a marshwiggle called Puddleglum, they go to find a lost Narnian prince who is being held captive by the Lady of the Green Kirtle (also known as the Queen of the Underland). Along the way they encounter giants, unfriendly weathers, and underground creatures.

The plot sounds great, but the movie couldn't quite live up to the intenseness of the story. I don't blame the directors or writers, especially since there was not much CGI back then, so everyone had to dress in animal costumes, use a robotic lion for Aslan, and the special effects for the giants vs the main characters was not the best. The robotic Aslan looked very very awkward. Whenever it talked its jaw would drop at the wrong times, it barely ever sat or lay down, and the character (compared to the first movie) always seemed angry. Sure he's considered to not be a tame lion, but he wasn't always angry, but neither was he always pleased with everything. Maybe I'm just being picky, but I feel more of his anger than kindness or compassion.

The only other thing that bothers me is the cheesy acting. I would have to say that Puddleglum and Prince Rillian are the only characters I enjoy who aren't over acting, but the rest of the actors make no sense in their acting. Take for example at the beginning when the bullies are "picking' on Jill, all they're doing is cornering her and yelling her last name, "Pole! Pole! Pole!" What are they making fun of? Are they making fun of her name being the same as a telephone pole? And when they're chasing her, what's the purpose? Do they just want to continue shouting Pole at her? That's one of many parts that always confused me. But the only overacting to rival all of them is the Lady of the Green Kirtle herself. It's Barbara Kellerman; and we've already seen her as the overacting White Witch and the Hag from the previous films, so she's pretty much not playing a different role. I would have liked it better if the directors got someone else for the part, but I guess there was a low budget, so I'll let that pass. However, what I won't let pass is that she's way over the top in her acting and being over dramatic. It almost felt as if she thought that the only way anybody would get the idea of how evil her character was, was for her to go over the top in her monologues, screaming, run around a lot, and change her voice around from deep and angry to sweet and soft. True that's what she does in the book, but she had a way of containing her wrath by being calm and cool until she couldn't at the very end. In the movie she goes in and out of frustration and sweetness making me confused.

I occasionally watch it, but I still think that it's a bit cheesy and could have been better improved (at least in the acting if not in the special effects).

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