The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

release year: 2005
genre: fantasy
viewing setting: theater, 12/16/05

synopsis: Four children journey through a magical piece of furniture and enter a mythical world where they are destined to defeat the evil witch who rules the land.

impressions: This was an outstanding adaptation of the book. Everything was accurate and well-done: the acting, the effects, the storyline. Even someone who's never read the book can understand and enjoy this movie, while those who have read the book will likely enjoy it even more. It's an epic struggle of good versus evil that is suitable for all ages. I had a couple of (minor) problems with it, though. First, there were some parts that felt a bit slow, in-between the action and adventure. Second, there is no way I will ever believe that a person (child or adult) who has never picked up a sword or a bow will suddenly be able to fight in a war. As I said, these are minor issues, and can quickly be forgotten in the magic of the story.

things to watch for: The big battle between good and evil at the end.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A land where every single animal talks.

acting: The four actors who played the kids did great jobs, making each of their destiny-fulfilling characters distinct and memorable. Tilda Swinton was also great as the evil queen; her character was the most convincing in the movie, and demonstrated how evil can be subtle and tricky. Liam Neeson was the voice of Aslan the lion/king, and was suitably regal and powerful. James McAvoy played a faun who introduces the first kid (and the audience) to Narnia. Ray Winstone and Dawn French were consistently entertaining as the voices of a married, bickering pair of beavers. I'm sure I'm leaving out many other roles or voices that deserve recognition, but there's no need to mention them all when they all did good jobs.

final word: Good fantasy that all should enjoy.

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