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Member Name: SusanLesley
The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe  (DVD)
Advantages: Feel good film, good acting, good effects
Disadvantages: None for me
I remember reading the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis when I was 10 years old and I loved the book. I also read Prince Caspian but didn't go on to read any more of the series after that as two of the main characters left at the end of Prince Caspian and I remember feeling as though I had lost two of my friends!
I was thrilled when I heard that Walt Disney had decided to make a film of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for release in 2005 and was looking forward to seeing it. Sadly since I was a full time carer at that time I didn't get to see the film at the cinema but we did purchase it on DVD as soon as it was available.
As I am currently watching it again I thought I would tell you all about it and why I enjoyed it so much.
Cast List - main characters
Georgie Henley Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell Susan Pevensie
Tilda Swinton The White Witch
James McAvoy Mr Tumnus
Jim Broadbent Professor Kirke
Liam Neeson The Voice of Aslan
Ray Winstone The Voice of Mr Beaver
Dawn French The Voice of Mrs Beaver
Rupert Everett The Voice of Mr Fox
I will keep this short and sweet to give you the basic gist without spoiling the action too much.
The four Pevensie children are evacuated from London to a huge house in the country where, during a game of hide and seek, they find the magical land of Narnia which is accessed though the back of the wardrobe in a deserted upstairs room.
We are then taken with the children on an adventure beginning with a kindly fawn called Mr Tumnus and the comical Mr and Mrs Beaver. The White Witch who gives herself the title Queen of Narnia has made it always winter but never Christmas and all the animals are subject to her cruel laws, with anyone who disobeys her getting turned to stone.
The children join forces with Aslan the Lion who is the real king of Narnia and together with the animals who are loyal to him they go to war intending to defeat the White Witch and return sunshine, warmth and truth to Narnia as foretold in the ancient prophesy.
To discover the outcome of the battle you'll have to watch the film for yourself.
The Special Effects
Obviously in a land of talking animals, fawns, satyrs, centaurs and various other beasts ruled over by a lion there needs to be a lot of good special effects to give any sense of credibility. Walt Disney does not disappoint and I found myself drawn easily into the magic of the whole story without thinking too much about the fact that the animals were talking and generally acting in human fashion.
Given the fact that the four main characters are youngsters and two of them are very young I found the acting to be excellent. The children maintain the innocence of childhood but manage to perform their roles without the woodenness that sometimes prevails with very young actors.
Obviously the older actors including Jim Broadbent, Tilda Swinton and James McAvoy are as superb as ever in their respective roles.
Although we only get to hear the voices of Ray Winstone and Dawn French as the beavers they are excellent and give an element of humour to the proceedings.
The Whole Experience
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and from what I can remember from over 40 years ago it remained pretty much faithful to the story in the book. The acting was good, the story was easy to follow, the effects were excellent and the whole thing was believable.
The film is classified as PG meaning that children under 12 years of age should only view with parental guidance. This is because there is 'mild threat, battle and fantasy violence' although I didn't think that there was anything that would be a problem for the average well adjusted youngster.
The running time of the film is 137 minutes so it's a reasonable length.
I have reviewed the film here but the DVD also includes bloopers, a filmmaker's commentary and some 'fun facts'. There is also a second disc with lots of information about the making of the film and the creation of all the characters. I can't give information about all the bonus features as I generally tend to just watch the film when I buy a DVD and not bother with any of the other stuff.
Would I Recommend the Film?
Without question I would recommend this film to both young and old. I enjoyed it greatly and it bears rewatching whenever I fancy a bit of fantasy and a feel good film.
Summary: A great family film