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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ is an adaptation of the book by C.S. Lewis. Although this is the first film in the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series to be made, it is not in fact the first of the series. The reason that the first two were not made is that the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is largely considered to be the best.
It is about four siblings in WWII time era. They are evacuated to an old Professor’s house. Lucy (Henley), the youngest, discovers a magical world in the wardrobe during a game of hide and seek. No one believes her though, until Edmund (Keynes), her brother, gets into the magic land as well.
However, he meets a suspicious woman in white (Swinton) calling herself a Queen, who tells him to bring his siblings to her palace, and she will make him King. His greedy nature is about to be tried
“I have no sons of my own, and I could see a boy like you becoming prince – maybe even King – of Narnia”
– and can the Queen be trusted?
No, as he finds out when his sister’s friend Mr Tumnus (McAvoy) is kidnapped – because of Edmund’s betrayal. Still, he goes to the Witch’s palace when the four children enter Narnia together for the first time. He is horrified when he realises the nature of the Witch, and goes to fight with his brother and sisters, who are raising an army with Aslan (Neeson). A great sacrifice is made to let Edmund live – a sacrifice that may cost them all of Narnia.
This film is a very engaging, action-packed, adventurous and magical film about good and evil.
There is a lot of good mood setting in the dark, dull and colourlessness backgrounds, and haunting, melancholy, suspicious or violent music being played when evil characters are around. This contrasts the bright, colourful backgrounds and victorious, joyful, contented or hopeful music seen and heard when the symbol of hope and goodness, Aslan the lion is around.
I find that there is a strong religious aspect to it. Particularly when the lion rises from the dead to defeat the evil that people are suffering from, there is a likeness to the Christian story of Jesus.
There are a lot of special effects, what with all the talking animals, mythical creatures and part-humans. These are very realistic, especially things like individual movements of hairs on fur. The movement of the actors work well with the movement of the animals, as well. When the beavers (Winstone and French) are making the Pevensies dinner, the facial expressions and actions of the actors and the movements of the Beavers are very smooth.
When using young children in a film, the acting will never be perfect. However, the acting of Henley (Lucy) was particularly dismal. In the first few scenes her facial expressions were very fake, particularly those of awe when she uncovers the wardrobe.
Most of the rest of the scenes were well played, with the exception of Mosely’s (Peter) pre-battle scene. He appears as though in pain, though he is in fact trying to portray bravery.
The camera work was well shot, particularly air shots, which in some films can appear rough, shaky and unprofessional. In the battle, the Witches castle, and at the river, the camera work is remarkable. It helps give the scene a sense of danger and anticipation.
As an adaptation, the film has done rather well on bringing the story to life. While the book is often slightly detached and not engaging for children, the film is not. The book is old fashioned, a classic, not read by younger children, but the film brings in a whole new audience.
‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ definitely connects to people, and if you saw it in a cinema, you might well hear a gasp, laugh or a scream. The film really does pull a lot of people into it. Be warned, though – if you don’t like that sort thing it will seem corny and unrealistic.