Director: Andrew Adamson
Swinton, James McAvoy, Rupert Everett, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone,
RunTime: 2 hrs 20 mins
Released By: BVI
Day: 22 December 2005
timeless adventure follows the exploits of the four Pevensie
siblings -- Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter -- in World War
II England who enter the world of Narnia through a magical
wardrobe while playing a game of ‘hide-and-seek’
in the rural country home of an elderly professor. Once there,
the children discover a charming, peaceful land inhabited
by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants that
has become a world cursed to eternal winter by the evil White
Witch, Jadis. Under the guidance of a noble and mystical ruler,
the lion Aslan, the children fight to overcome the White Witch’s
powerful hold over Narnia in a spectacular, climactic battle
that will free Narnia from Jadis’ icy spell forever.
anticipated as the last blockbuster to grace the big screen
this year after Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”
is none other than the adaptation of the C S Lewis’s
classic “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch
and the Wardrobe”.
in World War II, the main characters in the movie is the four
Pevensie siblings, Peter the big brother, Susan the down-to-earth
daughter, Edmund the mischievous third sibling and the kind-heartened
Lucy are sent to the countryside to escape the treacherous
bombings in London by their mother after a nerving prologue.
It’s there whereby the youngest Pevensie sibling discovers
the magical wardrobe during a game of hide-and-seek. If you’re
unfamiliar with the literary version, this wardrobe is not
your ordinary piece of furnishing from IKEA, instead by walking
through it, you will discover the magical world of Narnia.
Dominated by talking animals of all sorts, fauns (half human
half goat), Centaurs, Santa Claus (yes that Santa Claus with
reindeers) and the evil White Witch which the Pevensie siblings
will faced off in the climatic battle at the end.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Cupboard”
plods along unhurriedly, unlike J K Rowling’s Harry
Potter movie series which moves at a pretty break-necked pace
at times. Although supposedly to target the younger audience,
sad to say, the magical elements are pretty subdued and action
pieces are limited in the former to capture the attention
of the more hyperactive younger generation of today. So instead
of colourful visual eye-candy, Director Andrew Adamson (from
the hit animated “Shrek” franchises) takes on
a more story-telling approach, a far diversifies from his
computer effects background. The added advantage of the slow
build-up of the story allows the introduction of the loveable
bickering pair, Mr & Mrs Beaver, Mr Fox (Rupert Everett
from “My Best Friend’s Wedding”) and the
main draw, Aslan the Lion (Voiced magnificently by Liam Neeson),
Neeson who replaces Brian Cox transits into the character
beautifully with his deep-drawn drawl.
endearing casting of the Pevensie siblings will grow on you
as they faced tribulations and bond as a family throughout
the ordeal. The White Witch as played by Tilda Swinton (“Constantine”)
is very much as convincing as the usual evil character found
in fairy tales. Her cold and distant appearance is perfect
for the role.
his counterpart, J R R Tolkien who was very specific in his
Middle earth, C S Lewis left most of the imagination to the
readers. Thus the duties of creating the vast world of Narnia
falls into the hands of the writers, director and the enlisting
of the top visual and special effects companies of Hollywood
such as ILM, Sony Imageworks and WETA, one can’t help
but marveled at how cheesy the effects were in the end given
the huge production costs and expertises involved. The battle
sequence (with a slight tint of the superb “Lord of
the Rings” trilogy) is very much a sanitized PG version.
There are lots of quick cuts to the action, this might seem
a bit of a put-off to the action buffs. WETA, which assists
in creating part of the creature effects and armouries has
pretty much little left on screen to show off their creativity.
Media and Disney has the rights to transform this classic
C S Lewis’s seven-volume series into motion pictures.
But given the demands of the audience, the production team
apparently has lots to do to turn it more lucrative and entertaining
to reach audience as wide as what “Lord of the Rings”
or “Harry Potter” has done at the moment. But
still, “Chronicles of Narnia” will appeal to adults
(those who have grown up reading the books) and children (maybe
the non-Harry Potter fanbase). The touted Christianity themes
are very much down played in the movie version, just be slightly
patient and sit through this likeable magical, family-theme
tale this festive season. You might find yourself picking
up the book.
family-theme magical tale that relies more on storytelling
and lesser on the eye-candy, your first choice for the family
this festive season)
by Linus Tee)