The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 587 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: C.S. Lewis' 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. (Walt Disney Pictures / Walden Media) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. A generation-spanning journey that feels both comfortingly familiar and excitingly original.
  2. Spiritual redemption is a big theme of Narnia, but on a purely entertainment level, the movie also goes a long way in redeeming the current sad state of children's fantasy filmmaking.
  3. 90
    Robust, engrossing, and surprisingly restrained in saving most of its effects for the grand finale, the first Chronicles of Narnia installment eschews Harry Potter's satanic subtext and "The Lord of the Rings'" Wagnerian cosmology. It may be as close to adult-friendly kid fare as Hollywood will ever get.
  4. The movie, for all its half-baked visual marvels, remains remarkably faithful to Lewis' story, and the innocence of his passion begins to shine through. It's there, most spectacularly, in Aslan, the lion-king messiah.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    An engaging and exciting family film that at times feels a bit like "The Lord of the Rings Jr."
  6. 63
    This PG-rated movie feels safe and constricted in a way the story never does on the page. It leaves out the deep magic of a good movie, or a good sermon: the feeling that something vital is at stake.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    38
    The movie is a leaden, slow-moving beast.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 221
  1. Feb 9, 2011
    10
    I may not be a Christian, but that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy this movie. Definitely one of the best flicks of 2005. Very LOTR-esque, but better! I have very fond memories of watching this in theaters. Expand
  2. Mar 28, 2012
    10
    I think that this movie is a bigger sorprise. The book is excellent, and this movie have and incredible esscence of the books, the cast have a great performance, is an amazing movie. Expand
  3. Mar 14, 2012
    9
    I'm sincerely surprised that this movie got so many praises from critics while users usually disliked it. This is maybe one of the best epic fantasy films: nice camera, nice ambient and even nicer soundtrack and the main roles being played by kids isn't devaluating it at all. A must-watch for fans of this genre. Expand
  4. Dec 26, 2011
    7
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a really decent, heartfelt fantasy epic for all ages. It's visually superb, particularly the portrayal of realistic talking animals (without which the film could never work), and has some good performances, most prominently Tilda Swinton's icily creepy White Witch and James McAvoy's pitch-perfect Mr Tumnus. The central characters of the Pevensies are effortlessly believable as a genuine family of siblings - they squabble, they poke fun at each other and they sulk, but when all's said and done they love each other very deeply. The girls (Anna Popplewell and particularly Georgie Henley) are infinitely more talented than the boys (William Moseley and Skandar Keynes) and make more compelling protagonists as a result, but as a group, they are all engaging. Though it's always entertaining, Andrew Adamson's film is far from original - he owes so much to Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings trilogy, with New Zealand standing in for Narnia as well as Middle Earth, and with the involvement of Weta Workshop. Though it's got some great moments, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe can never escape feeling like an inferior Lord of the Rings - it's nowhere near as rich, well-told or emotionally compelling. Expand
  5. Mar 8, 2014
    7
    Mostly satisfying and enjoyable - we have some great battle scenes, a nicely-paced storyline, and a well-portrayed villain. Although not quite as good as the "Harry Potter" movies, and not nearly as good as the "Lord of the Rings" movies, this first installment still provides plenty of entertainment. Expand
  6. Mar 10, 2013
    6
    Quite charming and inoffensive, I have fond memories of the novel,1979 Children's Television Workshop and BBC adaptations and in most regards this film ticks all the right boxes (it does more right than it does wrong). Expand
  7. Apr 15, 2013
    2
    Couldn't even make it past the first 50 minutes. Serious over-acting and the plot makes little sense. I am surprised the critics liked it so much, It wasn't good and honestly it came off as really stupid. Expand

See all 221 User Reviews