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To sum things up: I loved this movie.
I had been waiting for it ever since it was announced, so of course I couldn't pass up the chance to see a press preview this morning. And, while there were some definite weaknesses (mostly in the quality of the animations), overall I was completely convinced. Naturally it did not coincide 100% with my own vision of Narnia visually, but emotionally it rang absolutely true, choking me up several times and really touching me. I walked out of the theatre with a warm, contented feeling - just like I feel every time I read C.S. Lewis' book!
The stand-out performance was definitely Tilda Swinton's as the White Witch, but I liked all actors/voices, from cute little Lucy (newcomer Georgie Henley) to majestic Aslan (Liam Neeson). I thought the children did a great job, considering their relative inexperience and the amount of blue screen work involved.
Tip: Stay seated through the actor credits - afterwards there's another small scene.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The audience at this afternoon's preview screening of The Lion, The
Witch & The Wardrobe, at New York's AMC 25 theater in Times Square,
broke out in spontaneous applause at least three or four times. It
seems that director Andrew Adamson has brought a thaw to normally-jaded
New Yorkers as well as to the 100-year winter of Narnia. The movie
pulls the viewer into the story right from the opening scenes of
war-ravaged England, where siblings Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund
(wonderful performances by all) are sent from their homes to the
relative safety of 'the professor's' country estate where, during a
game of hide-and-go-seek, young Lucy hides in the wardrobe only to
discover the passage to the land of Narnia. From this point, the
multi-layered story of betrayal, courage, sacrifice, redemption and
hope unfolds into a briskly paced 2 hour and ten minute adventure that
leaves the viewer emotionally charged and thoroughly entertained.
The musical score is appropriately stirring and moody. The computer generated creatures are sophisticated to the point where the technology disappears and you begin to accept the performance, and not the special effect! This brings us to Aslan - if the talking lion didn't work, the movie would fold in on itself and go away. Aslan works,however, and works very well. Voiced by Liam Neeson, Alsan is both believable as a 'literal' lion and as Aslan, talking lion, King of Narnia. Aslan's face is expressive and noble, and Neeson's voice acting has strength and dignity.
This film succeeds on so many levels, it would be possible to discuss it in many different veins: the direction, the story's surface-level themes, the theological possibilities, the drama, the fantasy, the adventure.... Yes - it's an action film, a dramatic film, a fantasy, a somewhat-dark (yet hopeful) fairy-tale. It has humorous moments and frightening moments, like most truly great 'family' films always seem to have.
The bottom line is, this is a film that will leave you the better for having seen it. There's much to reflect on and much to simply enjoy - there's certainly enough to keep you thinking for a while, and that's always a good thing. Aslan, indeed, is on the move!
What a fabulous movie! I just saw a screening of it (with a bunch of
other actors and writers) and the whole place burst into applause at
Tilda Swinton is amazing as the White Witch. Her cold, evil gaze could freeze anyone.
I loved the kids - especially the little Georgie Henley, who played Lucy. Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan was suitably majestic and comforting and grand.
It was beautifully filmed, and I felt Narnia was perfectly realized.
Looking forward to the movies that will follow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film on November 30th in Indianapolis. I am one of the
judges for the Heartland Film Festival that screens films for their
Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "
explores the human
journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive
values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.
Four young children enter the timeless world of Narnia through the door of a wardrobe piece of furniture while playing hide-and-seek. And what a world it is. There are talking animals, dwarfs, giants, beasts, centaurs, and indescribable half-human combinations. And, in this world of Narnia there is a titanic struggle between the White Witch and her evil army and the good lion Aslan and his noble army.
Although it doesn't seem possible, you can suspend disbelief and become engaged in the story because the artistry and technology are so outstanding. The art direction, special effects, cinematography, editing and sound will most likely and should be nominated for Academy Awards. The lion Aslan dominates your attention in every scene he appears in, and as the story unfolds, he becomes as human-like as any of the four children.
The four children seem normal enough with their constant teasing and fighting among themselves, but when events truly matter, they come together and exemplify the highest standards of sacrifice, courage, fidelity and heroism. Both children and adults will find inspiration and role models in these four children.
The lion Aslan is a mystical and almost biblical hero. There are many parallels between Aslan and Christianity, and you can watch this film anywhere in the religious-secular spectrum you care to. I suspect that over many years the other six books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia will be made into movies and they will have the same type of financial and artistic success as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy had. That is high praise indeed.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
The visuals for this film are absolutely stunning. Just breathtaking.
The acting is done well, the voice-overs included. the CG animation on
the creatures are marvelous.
I read this series over and over as a child and just re-read them recently in anticipation of the movie. Although as a purist-at-heart I was slightly disappointed to see even a second of the precious work edited, overall I am amazed at how well they adapted the tale to fit into a neat little 2 hour time frame. I feel that nothing important was omitted and the parts that were adjusted in the script were done so well that it still could have passed for C.S. Lewis' own hand.
I was lucky enough to preview this film (and to see it free, to boot), but I am certain that I will be trekking to the theatre to see it a few more times on the big screen. BRAVO!
I was fortunate enough to attend an advanced screening and was
magnificently surprised. The film was beautifully made. The
acting/voices were all wonderful, including the young talent. I think
all ages will be entertained. The story contains important lessons for
children, but also relevant reminders for adults. I also think attempts
to compare the film to Lord of the Rings and/or Harry Potter would be
unfortunate for all parties. They are each uniquely wonderful. Make
sure you see this!
By the way, make sure you stay through the end credits to hear a beautiful song Alanis Morisette wrote especially for the film.
I saw this movie with very high hopes and they were met. The acting was excellent and the special effects set a new standard for Hollywood. This, in my mind is the best movie of the year and a best picture nominee for sure. I do not think that it will win the best picture Oscar though because it is only the first movie in a series of seven. Each book though, unlike the LOTR series, is a completely different story with many different characters. Overall, this movie is a must see and the next six will likely be the same. C.S. Lewis is an amazing story teller in the people behind this production are amazing film producers.
With an appeal to both adults and children, the British author C. S.
Lewis wrote seven books in his Chronicles of Narnia series. The stories
are rich in mythology and religious symbolism, drawing upon archetypes
from the Norse, Greco-Roman, Persian, medieval chivalric, and
Now comes this wonderful film of the first chronicle, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." The beautiful cinematography and the terrific performances of the children make this film outstanding for family viewing. As integrated with the live actors, the colorful animal characters, especially the Lion (Jesus), reveal brilliant technical film-making as well.
Lewis's books are not overtly allegorical. Rather, the symbols and the messages are subtle. The four children in the story (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) were inspired by the actual children evacuated from London during World War II, who spent time in Lewis's home. Lewis wanted his books to be enjoyed by young people who would later in their lives draw the spiritual meanings from the stories. In this area, the film is enormously faithful to the original book and would have made the author extremely proud.
I went to see the new Narnia movie tonight, and I have to say, I was
extremely impressed. The story was touching and powerful, the acting
was exceptional, and the special effects were amazing! I was never been
into fantasy movies until Lord of the Rings came out, which I thought
was great. This movie was also very very good. From the beginning of
the movie, I felt swept away into the story. I am rarely excited about
new movies, but I was about this one, and it totally exceeded my
I highly recommend this film. It is based on a kid's book, but it appeals to people from every background and age.
I think we are witnessing the beginning of an awesome epic series! 10 Stars!
C.S. Lewis' classic is reborn in 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe', when four children from war-torn England
find themselves transported to a land of myth and fantasy. It has been
foretold that they will bring peace to Narnia. But can they survive the
evil treachery of the mysterious White Witch who claims to be Queen?
In this rendition, C.S. Lewis' imagination is brought to life with amazing special effects. Centaurs, Fauns, and Gryphons all come to life in this great body of work. The whole family will enjoy this film. Liam Neeson is wonderful as Aslan the Lion.
I can not say that was all that impressed with Tilda Swinton as the White Witch. She looked the part, but did not seem as treacherous as I had hoped.
Overall this is a really good film. If you are familiar with the story, then there are no real surprises, but makes up for it with incredible CGI animation.
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