Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska
Starring: Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson
Director: Andrew Adamson
Have you already decided to visit NARNIA? If yes, you are lucky. Your adventure comes relatively cheaply! You will accompany four children through a magical wardrobe to a different world. Are you ready for this hair-raising quest? Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?
This new world harbours surprises. It’s a magical place where animals talk and indefinable creatures, the likes of which you haven’t met anywhere, invite you over for tea. An icy witch will try to bind you into her dominion; will you be strong enough to resist her temptation? A majestic feline might need your help; will you stay and fight, or run away, hearing only the sound of your own whimpers amid the buzz of a faraway battle? Often, you will forget that you are just watching a film. In fact, you might get so caught up that you’ll believe you are living it. Beware! This is the flight of fantasy, and you only need a one-way ticket before you’re completely hooked! Your cinema ticket, that is.
Acclaimed author C.S. Lewis crafted this fictitious kingdom over half a century ago, for millions it is already a splendid-storied wonderland. As with most great books, it has only been a matter of time, money and technical capability before a big-screen version worthy of the title would be created. Public expectations rise higher and higher with every such attempted project. Are they met this time round?
I don’t think Lewis is turning in his grave. The ever-improving power of special effects destined this to be quality, stylistically if in no other way. The sets, effects, make-up, costumes; the very transformation of the screen into an impossible but real ‘other’ world is so perfect that you don’t dare question its existence. So much so that you’ll be tempted to check the back of your own closet!
Concerning the plot, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is an alluring starting-point on which to base a film (perhaps a series of films) because it’s so easy to get lost in its ageless story. (As for arguing about the various religious implications, do yourself a favour and don’t get too frenzied? Enjoy the chronicle for its own sake, at least while you’re watching!)
The talent extends into directing and acting genius (this is the meticulous work of SHREK man Andrew Adamson – an authority on fairytales who spins his delight equally ably here). While the story clearly presents the struggle of good versus evil, with some sword bashing and physical fighting being inevitable, there is very little visible blood – if any indeed. This lack of gore makes it entirely suitable for young children. Bless, in a place like NARNIA we’re really all children at heart…
Unsurprisingly, the very nature of this movie screams for comparisons: with the beloved book, with the TV works and perhaps most of all with the last drenched-in-success-same-genre-flicks, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Would it help to mention that it’s a pretty truthful adaptation (to be fair I had imagined it a little differently)? Logically, remakes of any composition have altered interpretations, and never will be 100% the same as in the original. The question is how good is this version as a stand-alone film? Brilliant.
As for LOTR, both works share a similar feel. This is due to a number of factors, the main one being WETA Workshop (the effects gurus) showered their wizardry across the plains of NARNIA as well as Middle Earth. And yes, not forgetting that we’re dealing with mythical, imaginary worlds and creatures in the realm of fantasy…
It is safe to say that both are masterpieces in their own right and should be celebrated as such. So leave the heated debates behind and enjoy this for what it is!
What is it?
A good movie. Simple as that. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE makes the silver screen shimmer and sparkle. It turns you into an explorer. It subtly seduces you into craving more. A film so captivating you’ll itch to return to its fictional shores sooner than any other place, real or imagined.
Buy that ticket NOW!