Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley as Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie
Tilda Swinton as White Witch
James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus
Jim Broadbent as Professor Kirke
Kiran Shah as Ginarrbrik
James Cosmo as Father Christmas
Elizabeth Hawthorne as Mrs. MacReady
Patrick Kake as Oreius
Shane Rangi as General Otmin
Liam Neeson as Aslan (voice)
Ray Winstone as Mr. Beaver (voice)
Dawn French as Mrs. Beaver (voice)
Rupert Everett as Fox (voice)
Cameron Rhodes as Gryphon (voice)
Philip Steuer as Philip the Horse (voice)
Jim May as Vardan (voice)
Sim Evan-Jones as Wolf (voice)
In the middle of World War II, the Pevensie children are sent from war torn London into the safety of the English countryside. They are to reside at the large mansion of a mysterious Professor. After arriving, the children find themselves bored out of their minds. They begin exploring the house during a game of hide and seek. It is then that Lucy finds a magical wardrobe in a small room.
Upon entering the wardrobe, Lucy discovers a portal to a magical frozen world of Narnia. There, she happens upon a fawn named Mr. Tumnus. The half-goat, half-human creature befriends Lucy, but tells her that an evil witch rules the land as Queen of Narnia. It’s too dangerous for Lucy to stay, so he sends her back home. But when she returns to England, her brothers and sister don’t believe her fantastic story.
Some time later Lucy’s brother Edmund also enters the wardrobe and finds Narnia. However, he encounters the Witch who entices him into luring his brother and sisters into the magical realm. Will Edmund betray his siblings or will the kids help fulfill a Narnian prophecy that four human children will help overthrow the Witch? And how will Aslan, the true lion ruler of Narnia, deal with the Witch and the children when he returns?
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is rated PG for battle sequences and frightening moments.
The effects in the film were outstanding. From the opening scenes where we see Mr. Tumnus’ goat legs to the talking beavers to the large battle at the end, everything looked fantastic. Never have so many fantasy characters hit the screen all in one go. There are minotaurs, centaurs, griffins, dwarves, giants, unicorns, phoenixes, demons, ogres, and more. There are even rhinos, cheetahs, wolves, foxes, and other real world animals. They all look great. I recently read a quote from C.S. Lewis where he said, in the 60’s, that he never wanted to see a LWW live action film because he didn’t think they could convincingly portray a talking lion. Well, if he could see Aslan in this film, I think he’d be very pleased. Aslan looks fantastic and is a real living, breathing CG character. The animation was superb. And though this film will be compared to “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter,” it’s a very different take on fantasy as far as look and feel go. It’s more fanciful and bright than it’s darker fantasy counterparts.
The casting in this film was perfect. The children are really good at bringing the personalities of the kids to the big screen. Georgie Henley is cute and spunky as Lucy Pevensie. Skandar Keynes is surly and misunderstood as Edmund Pevensie. William Moseley well plays the fighting spirit and protective nature of Peter Pevensie.
I was impressed by the score from Harry Gregson-Williams. It was an interesting mix of modern sounding music, classical orchestral score, and 1940’s music. The final result is something that perfectly sets the mood for the movie yet is far removed from epic scores like “Lord of the Rings”.
A big deal has been made about the Christian roots of this film. If you watch it, then the connection is undeniable. However, the story of sin, crucifixion, and resurrection is so buried in the fantasy elements that the connection is almost an afterthought. If you’re not looking for a Christian connection, then it won’t matter to you. Messiah stories have been told many different ways. But if you’re a Christian, you’re probably going to get much more out of the scenes with Aslan. You’ll enjoy it on a different level from those that are just there for entertainment.
What Didn’t Work:
I will add that the film will probably be too much for children under 7. There are long stretches where not much happens beyond dialogue. That makes it hard for some kids to sit still through. Alternatively, some of the evil creatures are a bit scary and might freak out sensitive kids. Personally I’d say if they could handle Harry Potter, they could handle this.
The Bottom Line: