Based on the beloved book by C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005) is a great Christmas family movie. Directed by Andrew Adamson, this fantasy adventure is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The story starts off in England during World War II as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are being evacuated along with other children. The four siblings stay in a house with Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent), and one day, while playing hide and seek, Lucy accidentally finds a wardrobe in a room upstairs. It’s not just any wardrobe – it’s a door to a whole another world called Narnia, where Lucy meets a faun, Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy). The other siblings are very reluctant to believe Lucy at first, until they too end up in Narnia, and all four must prepare to fight the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) who took over Narnia and fulfill the prophecy.
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe has all the elements of an epic fantasy movie – good vs. evil, beautiful scenery (shot on location in New Zealand and Eastern Europe), plenty of interesting creatures, and an epic battle at the end. As a fan of the books, I quite liked how closely the movie followed the book. Even though the first half of the movie might seem a little slow, the pace picks up significantly once all the Pevensie siblings get to Narnia. The young actors do a good job, but Georgie Henley as Lucy is probably the most memorable. I really want to point out Tilda Swinton as the White Witch – it is hard to imagine anyone else in this role. Liam Neeson is great as the voice for Aslan. Harry Gregson-Williams’ soundtrack is epic, yet poignant, with the final battle being the most memorable musical moment.
The special effects are pretty good, with Aslan looking particularly impressive. There was also some pretty remarkable make-up work involved in creating all the numerous creatures, such as fauns and centaurs. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is a well-done movie in all respects, and the story has a certain kindness to it, making the movie all the more enjoyable.