Chronicles of Narnia: Lion, Witch and Wardrobe

Step Right In

Main Cast: Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell

Director: Andrew Adamson

Based on the classic fantasy tale by C.S. Lewis, this adaptation is a good tale in its own right, and more or less closely follows the plot of the book itself. As always, it’s tough to condense a sprawling tale (which covers multiple books) into two hours and some change, but Hollywood is getting better at this as the years go by.

We first meet the family during WWII, in London. Nazis are dropping bombs and there is a frantic rush for a bomb shelter. The younger boy, Edmund (Keynes), angers the eldest Peter (Moseley) by rushing back for a picture of their missing father. This foreshadowing of his defiant nature is well played. After the bombing, the four siblings are sent away by their mother to live in a safer environment. Along with the two boys are two girls, Susan (Popplewell) the second eldest, modest and reserved, and Lucy (Henley), the youngest and full of energy.

They are sent off to stay at the house of a hermit professor. At first things are grim, with the housekeeper stern and unyielding. But the kids make their own fun, which leads to a game of hide-n-seek. Lucy finds a wardrobe in an unused room, and discovers that it holds more than coats.

When all four enter Narnia the plot really begins. It doesn’t take long for Edmund to meet the Ice Queen Jadis (perfectly played by Tilda Swinton), an appropriately cold and imperious figure. What he does and how he reacts sets the stage for all the following events.

After this the plot moves briskly along. This didn’t feel like a two and half hour movie, and I really think more could have been added without dragging it out. The acting is solid and professional, and the CGI elements are integrated with live action as smoothly as I have ever seen. While I am sure the “book purists” will find fault, those not fanatical (and, like myself, who read the books but a long time ago) will find a wondrous tale to enjoy on its own right.

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