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  • NARNIA trade review

    The Chronicles of Narnia

    Fantasy is made flesh -- at least the CGI kind --
    in the film version of C.S. Lewis' children's classic, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe." What is lightly sketched in the novel, where much is left to the imagination, blossoms into full-blown, richly detailed life in the movie. Under the direction of Andrew Adamson, co-director of the two "Shrek" cartoons, the blend of live action and CGI is striking. In battle scenes, a few movements do remind you of video-game action. Otherwise, the photo-realism of thousands of creatures and their amazingly organic movements, especially when mixed in with actual locations and real actors, is a remarkable achievement.

    "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" film series have shown there is a huge hunger for movie franchises based on fantasy literature. Disney and Walden Media's reported $150 million gamble on this 55-year-old book, the first in a series of seven that explore the alternate universe of Narnia, certainly has the potential to become a megahit. Hard to say what the impact will be of Disney's acknowledged campaign to get out churchgoers for "Narnia," which is clearly an allegory of the Christ story, but it can't hurt. Certainly children will be enthralled by the journey through Narnia and this thrill should extend to adults, too.

    full review at
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: NARNIA trade review

    'Narnia' opens the door to excitement By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
    (* * * out of four) is an engaging and exciting family film that at times feels a bit like The Lord of the Rings Jr.
    Susan (Anna Popplewell) excels in archery, which is her special power in The Chronicles of Narnia.Walt Disney Pictures/WaldenBased on the classic children's series by C.S. Lewis, Narnia is an adventure in a fantasy world filled with talking animals, unicorns and centaurs who join in a climactic battle between good and evil. Its epic scope and elaborate battles will raise comparisons with Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, though the clashes are much less violent.
    Shrek director Andrew Adamson makes an impressive live-action film debut with this energetic adaptation of the 1950 novel. Although much has been made of the film's Christian subtext, Narnia is first and foremost an action-packed fairy tale. Lewis, a British scholar, created Aslan, the kindly lion who sacrifices himself, as a Christ-like figure. The religious references (children are referred to as "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve") may go unnoticed by children, but they will be noted by their parents.
    The movie begins powerfully with a World War II bombing of London. The following scene of a crowded train station with legions of children being sent out of the beleaguered city is poignant and explains the war's context for younger audiences.
    The four Pevensie children are sent off by their mother (Judy McIntosh) to live in the countryside out of harm's way. Once they arrive at the artifact-filled mansion of Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent), they play hide-and-seek at the urging of young Lucy (Georgie Hensley). She hides in a closet where, behind a collection of fur coats, she stumbles into the enchanted world of Narnia.
    Once there, she makes the acquaintance of a troubled faun, Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy). He laments that in icy Narnia, "It's always winter, but never Christmas."
    Lucy's older brothers (Skandar Keynes and William Moseley) and sister (Anna Popplewell) venture with her into the alternate universe and become embroiled in extricating the faun and other woodland creatures from the evil clutches of the White Witch (a terrifyingly cold Tilda Swinton).
    The children do a fine job in inhabiting their characters, but the cinematography and special effects are the most noteworthy. The computer-generated characters are beautifully realized and enhanced by the actors lending their voices. Liam Neeson is commanding as Aslan, who created Narnia and counsels the children.
    Though it drags in parts, particularly in the protracted clashes between odd-looking creatures, The Chronicles of Narnia is a faithful rendering of a magical tale that should hold adults' attention and delight young moviegoers. (Rated PG for battle sequences and frightening moments. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.)
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006


    • #3
      Re: NARNIA trade review

      December 09, 2005

      Reviewing the Reviews: 'Chronicles of Narnia'

      The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe proved especially tricky to this weekend's headline writers. Most reviewers had a hard time coming up with a good pun on the movie's cumbersome title; better to reference the plot, with its magical closet portal to a fantasy world of perpetual winter, and its allegorical Christ-figure hero, the talking lion Aslan. Many critics noted the C.S. Lewis adaptation's resemblance to another recent fantasy-epic franchise, one based on the books of Lewis' pal J.R.R. Tolkien. (Full disclosure: I reviewed the movie this week for the Boston Phoenix, so I'm partial to the headline I wrote.) But there were a couple other reviews (in the Village Voice and the New York Post) whose headlines were even funnier. Read on and see if I'm lion.

      'Lion' Kings:
      New York Newsday: In with a roar, out with a yawn
      East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune: 'Narnia' could use sharper teeth
      Chill out:
      Las Vegas Weekly: Winter Wonderland
      Dallas Observer: Lion in Winter
      Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Cold case
      Allegory details:
      Arizona Daily Star: An epic of biblical proportion
      St. Paul Pioneer Press: Laying down the awe
      Calgary Sun: 'Narnia' can't myth
      The Stranger (Seattle): Lionizing Jesus
      The Hook (Charlottesville, Va.): Narnia 1: The passion of the lion
      Hanging in the closet:
      USA Today: 'Narnia' opens the door to excitement
      New York Post: Wardrobe Malfunction
      Boston Phoenix: Knights in armoire
      Which other fanciful epic does this remind you of?
      : Lord of the Rings with a Lion
      L.A. Weekly: Lions and Witches and Wardrobes -- Oh My!
      Village Voice: Trapped in the Closet: Robust Rendering of a Fantasy Classic
      "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006


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