I only recently realised this film is a metaphor for Christianity. Aslan the lion is basically Jesus. He is somewhat of a myth in Narnia and is eventually killed for someone else’s sins, then resurrected. I was never really a religious person so only realised these comparisons recently. You could almost say this is the Battlefield Earth of Christianity. The only difference is this film is watchable.
The film is set during World War II in England. There are four kids who are sent to live on a farm in the country so they are safe from the Germans bombing London. One day, during a game of hide and seek, the youngest Pevensie child, Lucy (Georgie Henley), discovers the magical world of Narnia while hiding in a wardrobe. Eventually all four children end up in Narnia and are swept up in an adventure to take down the wicked White Witch (Tilda Swinton), who has brought a constant winter to the land of Narnia since she came to power. The Pevensie kids are joined by the woodland creatures of Narnia and the godlike lion, Aslan (Liam Neeson) as they attempt to thwart the White Witch.
This film came out around the same time as The Lord of the Rings films, and you can definitely see their influence on this similar fantasy epic. The films were both shot in New Zealand and both films present their fantastical worlds on a very epic scale. The locations are very pretty, and it’s interesting to see how many different climates can be presented in New Zealand. The country is able to show arctic climates, beaches and grassland on screen and all of these locations are so close together. I can absolutely see the advantages of shooting a fantasy movie like this in New Zealand.
The film is good. Director Andrew Adamson does a good job of recreating the land of Narnia. The four child actors are fine and perform well, and Tilda Swinton is delightfully wicked as the icy villain. Liam Neeson also brings a sort of regal quality as the voice of Aslan.
This is a fun film. Not as epic as The Lord of the Rings films it was clearly inspired by, but still a good time.
The Chronicles of Narnia was probably the one series of books I read the most as a kid and pre-teen. It was my go-to fantasy adventure long before Harry Potter came into my life. While I’ve somewhat outgrown Narnia (the reading level is a bit too young for me to really enjoy anymore), this fictional kingdom will always hold a special place in my heart. I was absolutely delighted when I heard the series was finally getting a proper big screen outing, and thankfully the movie does not disappoint.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a very faithful adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ novel. Everything I loved about the book was recreated on screen, and it looked exactly as I had always imagined it. Mr Tumnus in his knit scarf meeting Lucy by Lamp Post, the Beaver’s cozy damn, Edmund stuffing his foolish face with Turkish Delight, Aslan being tied to the Stone Table, the four kids being crowned kings and queens of Narnia. These are my childhood dreams made real through Hollywood magic. It’s incredibly satisfying when filmmakers get things right, because book adaptations so often go wildly astray.
I also appreciated the little nods to Narnian history that were included here. The professor that the Pevensie children stay with is very clearly meant to be Digory Kirke, one of the children who witnesses the creation of Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew. He seems extremely interested in Lucy’s story about discovering a hidden world inside his wardrobe, which would be odd for any other middle aged professor. Even the wardrobe itself hints at his connection to Narnia, as it features carvings depicting events from his own travels there. In the book the wardrobe is described as being plain and ordinary looking, but I approve of this change; it adds to the magic. Plus, I knew going into these movies that all seven were unlikely to get made (more on that later), so I’ll take whatever little shout outs I can get.