Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley as Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie
Tilda Swinton as The White Witch
James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus
Jim Broadbent as Professor Kirke
Kiran Shah as Ginarrbrik
James Cosmo as Father Christmas
Judy McIntosh as Mrs. Pevensie
Elizabeth Hawthorne as Mrs. MacReady
Patrick Kake as Oreius
Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan
Ray Winstone as the voice of Mr. Beaver
Dawn French as the voice of Mrs. Beaver
Rupert Everett as the voice of Fox
Cameron Rhodes as the voice of Gryphon
Philip Steuer as the voice of Philip the Hourse
Jim May as the voice of Vardan
Sim Evan-Jones as the voice of Mawgrim the Wolf
The Pevensie children – Peter (William Moseley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) – have been sent to the English country side to wait out The Blitz during World War II. While staying with an elderly Professor (Jim Broadbent) they discover the entrance to a magical kingdom inside of an old wardrobe; a kingdom in the middle of a civil war between White Witch (Tilda Swinton) and its rightful ruler Aslan the Lion (Liam Neeson), a war they soon find themselves in the middle of.
“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is the first and arguably best of C.S. Lewis’ classic Christian fables dealing with the fantastical land of Narnia ruled over by Aslan, Lewis’ allegorical representation of God/Jesus.
Cut very much in the Wizard of Oz mold, but with more substance and craft, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is the prototypical childhood journey film, escaping from the travails of the modern world into a fantasical land that teaches the children to appreciate their own homes and lives. Moreso than most other stories of this type, Lewis uses it also to showcase the spirtual underpinnings of Christian theology in a manner not really achieved since Oscar Wilde’s bedtime fables of the previous century, neither heavy handed nor obvious, but often deeply affecting.
All of which is quite obviously on display in Andrew Adamson’s (“Shrek”) extremely faithful adaptation. It is an amazingly lush production that never fails to dissapoint in its creation of another world. Of all the good things going on in the film the real star is the production design, courtesy of Richard Taylor’s Weta Workshop (the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy). From the Professor’s manor to the Witch’s frozen palace to the wide variety of costumes weapon and armor, the world comes alive.
Because it is a children’s story about children it is occasionally a bit precious, but only occasionally. For the most part it is an extremely well-designed piece of fantasy that doesn’t try to overwhelm the audience with a spiritual message, but is content to work on several levels.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is rated PG for battle sequences and frightening moments.