Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
Watch On
  1. A generation-spanning journey that feels both comfortingly familiar and excitingly original.
  2. 100
    Plunges into an imaginative landscape as large as all creation - and never slackens its barreling pace or shrinks its panoramic scope.
  3. A movie of intelligence and power, of beauty, universality and largeness of spirit.
  4. The picture goes exactly where the prose does, enticing all of us, kids and adults and atheists and believers alike, down below the brittle surface of our cold logic and into a richer world of imaginative wonder.
  5. 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.
  6. What is lightly sketched in the novel, where much is left to the imagination, blossoms into full-blown, richly detailed life in the movie.
  7. 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.
  8. What's best about it is that it seems real by the logic of childhood - it looks as things SHOULD look, if kids had it their way.
  9. If you're a fan of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, all you need to know is this: Disney has done right by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's impossible to imagine it done much better, in fact.
  10. 90
    By staying focused on the children -- frightened evacuees from the London Blitz whose parallel war in Narnia both taps into and finally quiets their unspoken terrors -- Adamson keeps faith with the humanity of Lewsis' tale.
  11. Well told, handsome, stirring and loads of fun.
  12. 90
    There's nothing too clean or too overbright about it. It's magic, but not the loud, shiny kind: It has the texture of worn velvet, or a painstakingly hand-knit sweater stored away for years in tissue paper.
  13. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    90
    An entertaining, emotional, and surprisingly intimate movie--an epic saga of fauns and talking (Cockney) beavers and evil sorceresses and triumphal resurrections and massive, sweeping battles that nonetheless feels … small.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    An array of supporting craftspeople pull the viewer into a credible alternative world, even if the film itself is more prosaic than inspiring.
  15. 80
    Generations of readers have found The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe to be a gripping adventure that reaches well beyond its religious underpinnings, and this robust version respects both aspects and finds the same winning balance of excitement and meaning.
  16. The next two hours might not have quite delivered on that initial promise of wonder - we grown-ups, being heavy, are not so easily swept away by visual tricks - except when I looked away from the screen at the faces of breathless and wide-eyed children, my own among them, for whom the whole experience was new, strange, disturbing and delightful.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Narnia, brightly lit and kid-friendly, has an appealingly old-fashioned feel to it. Adamson, codirector of "Shrek," wisely doesn't try to hip-ify the tale, leaving its curious blend of medieval pageantry, Christian fable and children's bedtime story intact.
  18. 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.
  19. 75
    On balance, more of the movie works than doesn't, but this isn't 140 minutes of unqualified successes.
  20. 75
    This is a film situated precisely on the dividing line between traditional family entertainment and the newer action-oriented family films. It is charming and scary in about equal measure, and confident for the first two acts that it can be wonderful without having to hammer us into enjoying it, or else. Then it starts hammering.
  21. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    An engaging and exciting family film that at times feels a bit like "The Lord of the Rings Jr."
  22. A loving interpretation of C.S. Lewis's beloved parable for children, and it's almost perfect in every detail. Yet there's the one difficulty: It's almost perfect in every detail, fully realized in too few.
  23. Working for the first time in live action, under the constraints of a classic novel, he (Andrew Adamson) proves himself to be a capable visual storyteller but no Peter Jackson.
  24. 75
    The extensive CGI work is well used and the children are exceptionally well cast, especially the girls.
  25. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    A gracefully subtle metaphor about life's Deep Magic has become a war film; what was a one-chapter battle toward the end of the book is now a ripsnorting Armageddon that looks like something Hieronymus Bosch might dream up after a heavy meal.
  26. That's not to say that this first visit to a live-action Narnia on screen isn't enjoyable, or promising for the future of what will surely be a successful franchise. But there's not a lot of humor along the way, and the epic struggle between good and evil plays out in battles more impressive than thrilling.
  27. 70
    The Christian themes of forgiveness and sacrifice are tastefully conveyed, and the opening sequence of Nazi bombs falling on London, an event only alluded to in the book, helps dramatize Lewis's fascination with power.
  28. 63
    Overlong, poorly paced and woodenly acted film.
  29. The menagerie of mythological beasties in Narnia don't seem quite genuinely, three-dimensionally real.
  30. 63
    There's little warmth or depth to the characters who, for the most part, trudge through the film with little wonder at the magical journey they're making.
  31. 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.
  32. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    60
    It's a more dynamic adventure than Potter IV but lacks the majesty and richness of LOTR. Still, it's an enjoyable adaptation and good enough for us to welcome this new franchise.
  33. 60
    Younger children getting in on the ground floor of fantasy will enjoy the film.
  34. 58
    Though it's handsomely made and peppered with seamlessly achieved visual glories, Narnia is ineptly acted, crudely staged and burdened with a score that only a masochist could love.
  35. 50
    The problem with any allegorical plan, Christian or otherwise, is not its ideological content but the blockish threat that it poses to the flow of a story.
  36. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    50
    The problem with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is this: The closer the many-hands screenplay gets to the Christ-like sufferings and resurrection of Lord Aslan, the lion (voiced by Liam Neeson), the more conflicted the filmmakers' efforts become.
  37. 40
    Narnia is nearly saved by those immensely likable and altogether stiff-upper-lippy Pevensie kids.
  38. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    40
    Disney is trying to lure the disparate audiences of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (kids) and "The Passion of the Christ" (Evangelicals). But on either level, Narnia fails. There's no fire, no passion and not much fun.
  39. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    38
    The movie is a leaden, slow-moving beast.
User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 640 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 229
  1. Oct 2, 2011
    6
    "The Chronicles of Narnia" is not a masterpiece due to its newbie actors, but it manages to give the pure entertainment most summer"The Chronicles of Narnia" is not a masterpiece due to its newbie actors, but it manages to give the pure entertainment most summer blockbusters provide. Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2013
    8
    I love when they take a favorite childhood story of mine and adapt it to the big screen. I am always a little weary when it's Disney thou. YouI love when they take a favorite childhood story of mine and adapt it to the big screen. I am always a little weary when it's Disney thou. You never know what Disney is going to do with it, however in the case of The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe, is a homerun. They didn't shorten this film into some hour and a half movie about love. They took their time and told the story as it was meant to be told. All the kids were new to the big screen and were terrific. It's a classic tale that is over 60 years old and it's as fresh and relevant today as it was then. Two big thumbs up for the first of the Narnia tales, personally I hope they make all seven of them into feature films! Full Review »
  3. 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, butI 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. Full Review »