Buena Vista Pictures | Release Date: December 9, 2005
5.8
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Mixed or average reviews based on 690 Ratings
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104
Negative:
213
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6
grandpajoe6191Oct 2, 2011
"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.
9 of 10 users found this helpful91
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6
FlonkelD.Dec 26, 2005
Very shallow character development.
1 of 2 users found this helpful
5
JudyT.Sep 24, 2006
Strickly for kids.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
5
matthewp.Dec 29, 2005
This movie is great for kids but shouldn't be considered adult material. The young actors barely manage to get their lines out clearly and the overal affect of the movie is less than skin deep.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
5
GoldenEye16Aug 22, 2010
It was decent but its no Lord of the Rings. I wish the action would have been better (more exciting) and I felt like I didn't care about the characters that much. Also the acting wasn't that great.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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4
CooterPatooterMar 7, 2012
Yet ANOTHER attempt to trick young viewers (and readers of the books) into embracing Christianity by disguising its main story points in a fantasy setting. But dishonest and underhanded proselytizing techniques aside, the film itself isYet ANOTHER attempt to trick young viewers (and readers of the books) into embracing Christianity by disguising its main story points in a fantasy setting. But dishonest and underhanded proselytizing techniques aside, the film itself is still below average at best. By the time the film finally picks up pace... it's the end. A fairly exciting battle scene at the end featuring many different creatures is the one and only high point but prepare to sit through nearly two hours of marginally-disguised preaching to get there. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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4
csw12Apr 3, 2012
Chronicles of Narnia is an extremely corny and childish film. The action scenes prove my point. The decent thing in the movie is the average battle scene at the end. Acting was pitiful and i guess it will do fine with the younger crowd.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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5
MovieGuysFeb 22, 2014
It's an escape from real life in every way, but The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is not very well done. It's too kid-oriented so that adults can't enjoy it as much.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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6
EpicLadySpongeFeb 13, 2016
This Narnia installment shows us that the Chronicles has really tried, but fails to impress all of us anyways. A better aim for the franchise is aimed for fans of the franchise.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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6
ChrisB.Dec 7, 2005
It's been nearly twenty years since I last read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and I don't remember seeing the Christian symbolism of it back then. Ever since, I had learned more about CS Lewis and how The Chronicles of It's been nearly twenty years since I last read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and I don't remember seeing the Christian symbolism of it back then. Ever since, I had learned more about CS Lewis and how The Chronicles of Narnia very much reflected his philosophy and religion. Fine. But, man, if I didn't get that impression as a kid reading the book, I sure got it hammered into my skull as an adult watching this movie. At the end of it, I felt like I just came out of the cinematic equivalent of a Creed concert. (That's bad, by the way.) What amazes me is how this is being marketed as a good Christian alternative to Harry Potter movies. Where the HP films are fully committed to the pure fantasy that their characters and situations inhabit, Narnia slavishly needs to qualify everything that happens on screen with a biblical reference point, reducing the kids into Sunday-schoolbook caricatures. And having a CG lion as a Christ figure is about as bad as Scott Stapp posing as Jesus on-stage at that aforementioned Creed concert. Other than that, there is some lovely visual adaptation of the cool stuff I do remember from the book. The kids were capable but uneven in their talents, having cast a blockheaded but handsome Prince William-lookalike as the eldest boy, Peter, while the youngest had an almost creepy precociousness in her performance as Lucy. Tilda Swinton as the White Witch was fantastic, her styling was incredible, and I would have loved to see her have more screen time rather than the badly rendered animal villains. The CG characters were noticeably weak, and even Azlan seemed much less majestic than the lion my imagination had painted as a child. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
ChuckM.Jan 14, 2006
This was a perfectly fine movie. It was an entertaining way to spent a couple of hours.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
HCarterApr 8, 2006
Started off ok--but the adapted screenplay wasn't so great. And of course--everything kind of goes downhill from there. You could say, "hey, it's geared towards kids" but that's sort of apologizing for it. There are plenty of Started off ok--but the adapted screenplay wasn't so great. And of course--everything kind of goes downhill from there. You could say, "hey, it's geared towards kids" but that's sort of apologizing for it. There are plenty of movies out there that are solid regardless of age (any pixar movie). It wasn't a horrible movie though, mostly just medicore. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
DanielleDec 11, 2008
I'd rather watch epic movie. the parody captured my attention, this bored me to tears when my best friend forced me to endure the painstaking 2 hours 20 minute of fantasy. I'm a teenage girl, I don't want to see a kiddy I'd rather watch epic movie. the parody captured my attention, this bored me to tears when my best friend forced me to endure the painstaking 2 hours 20 minute of fantasy. I'm a teenage girl, I don't want to see a kiddy fantasy story with not an ounce of humor or romance in it.I can find homor in Titanic. The battle seen wasn't frightening even Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CSLSDec 9, 2005
Chris B. was dead-on when he called it the "cinematic equivalent of a Creed concert." Whatever susbtance is under the flash is all allegory, while the flash is far too familiar. I don't see how they can get 2 more films out of this.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
AlanT.Dec 9, 2005
A half-hearted and forgettable film that represents a huge missed opportunity to bring these great books to the big screen. What a waste.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
ElsaS.Dec 9, 2005
While the film has many fine moments, it also has many draggy, poorly paced ones, too. The special effects are sometimes breathtaking, but often quite clumsy, too. The end result is an unformed mish-mash. Had more care gone into it, the film While the film has many fine moments, it also has many draggy, poorly paced ones, too. The special effects are sometimes breathtaking, but often quite clumsy, too. The end result is an unformed mish-mash. Had more care gone into it, the film might have ended up a timeless classic. But it falls far short of that mark. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
TimD.Jan 28, 2006
Though it has aspects I appreciated (Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton in the battle sequences, the youngest of the children) and moments I enjoyed very much (the use of silence and the heartbeat at the beginning of the battle sequence), overall I Though it has aspects I appreciated (Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton in the battle sequences, the youngest of the children) and moments I enjoyed very much (the use of silence and the heartbeat at the beginning of the battle sequence), overall I found it thin, lacking weight and power -- a genuine disappointment. This film doesn't even begin to compare with any one of Peter Jackson's Ring trilogy. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
MarkJan 3, 2006
Enjoyable at times but plodding at others. the acting was a bit stiff - although the Pevensie's were casted well.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CarolS.Jan 3, 2006
The youngest child was delightful and the best actor of the group. Peter was pretty wooden. Why did Susan carry a bow an arrow if not to use it? Did she in fact have any function in this movie? The plot was lame. The White Witch was the most The youngest child was delightful and the best actor of the group. Peter was pretty wooden. Why did Susan carry a bow an arrow if not to use it? Did she in fact have any function in this movie? The plot was lame. The White Witch was the most interesting and best played role. Unfortunately, one can't learn from the storyline why she is in power or why she should relinquish it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CarlE.Jan 5, 2006
Boring... deadly dull. Only the special effects made this movie at all interesting. The acting was second-rate... worthy of a high school play at best.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
RickC.Apr 3, 2006
This show was geared for children [***SPOILERS***] but the scene with the lion being scourged is unnecessarily cruel for children to watch. It was much too juvenile for adults and the CGI graphics were mediocre at best.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
PatC.Jun 30, 2006
Nice movie with good digital effects, but surprisingly lacking in substance. There's a wierd theme embedded in the story involving children in wartime who don't miss their parents and are free to be self-directed without Nice movie with good digital effects, but surprisingly lacking in substance. There's a wierd theme embedded in the story involving children in wartime who don't miss their parents and are free to be self-directed without consequences. The value set that emerges borders on the narcissistic. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
BDavidN.Dec 11, 2005
I read the books and was captivated so warning to a biased righteous fan's opinion. It wasn't a bad movie but to me it felt like the mini commericals Macdonalds makes for it's happy meal toys, after they advertise said meat I read the books and was captivated so warning to a biased righteous fan's opinion. It wasn't a bad movie but to me it felt like the mini commericals Macdonalds makes for it's happy meal toys, after they advertise said meat and sandwich products. I'm sure the director had good intentions, but from the first title scene you know its a franchise coming from an economic venture based on Disney's failure to cash in on Lord of the Ring's. It was a good kid's movie but as a fan of the books I felt it couldn't compare and the characters seemed a lot less endearing. The best part, other than the minotaurs, is the queen's dwarf. He is worth the price and looks like an Osama Bin Laden imp. His death in the movie is hiliarious. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
DanB.Dec 10, 2005
[***SPOILERS***] Looks great. Acting's good. Story is... illogical and and overly simple, even for a children's film, I think. Like suddenly Peter is this amazing fighter? He knows how to use a sword? Why because Aslan told him he[***SPOILERS***] Looks great. Acting's good. Story is... illogical and and overly simple, even for a children's film, I think. Like suddenly Peter is this amazing fighter? He knows how to use a sword? Why because Aslan told him he could, so now Peter's a general? Worse, it makes it seem as if Aslan *knows* he'll be resurrected... which doesn't make it much of a sacrifice. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
MattyM.Dec 10, 2005
The film is a blunder; a mere excuse to throw in creatures fighting against each other for some poor action, followed by irritant performances by the Pevensie kids, and tedious moments that drag on and on. The entire movie is a The film is a blunder; a mere excuse to throw in creatures fighting against each other for some poor action, followed by irritant performances by the Pevensie kids, and tedious moments that drag on and on. The entire movie is a dejá-vu, but it still features Tilda Swinton and Liam Neeson, which is not a bad thing. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
lynnl.Dec 23, 2005
There's no solid or substantial central theme. The story was not suitable for a movie in the first place. The children's acting ranged from average to poor. Movie became kind of dry halfway while I was watching. Unless you've There's no solid or substantial central theme. The story was not suitable for a movie in the first place. The children's acting ranged from average to poor. Movie became kind of dry halfway while I was watching. Unless you've watched genuinely great movies before, you'd probably think this movie is good. In short, an overly glamorous effort to dramatise an otherwise classic story. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
TheDigglerJan 2, 2006
Such a shame this film turned out to be so flat and boring. The kids fit the parts well and the impression of Narnia was nicely done, Mr Tumnus in particular was well done and very near to the book. I have to appreciate the effort made here Such a shame this film turned out to be so flat and boring. The kids fit the parts well and the impression of Narnia was nicely done, Mr Tumnus in particular was well done and very near to the book. I have to appreciate the effort made here to make this film as close to the book as possible, especially considering the farce that was the Return of the King two years ago. There just wasn't enough of the emoitional impact felt from reading these books translated on to the big screen. This can be best seen in Aslan. Not impressive, grand, or wonderous in the least, just a big animated lion. As much as I like Liam Neeson I think Brian Cox would have done a far better job. Hopefully the next film(s) in the series will be more emotional. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
KyleL.Feb 10, 2006
Was too childish for me, but hey, wasnt it targeted for children? It entertained me and that is waht a movie is for. I wasnt a fan of the actors or characters though.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
MattH.Sep 2, 2006
[***SPOILERS***] The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a watchable movie, if not exactly the cat's meow (or is it the lion's roar?). This first feature film based on C.S. Lewis's seven part fantasy [***SPOILERS***] The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a watchable movie, if not exactly the cat's meow (or is it the lion's roar?). This first feature film based on C.S. Lewis's seven part fantasy series, follows a little more in the footsteps of the Harry Potter films than The Lord of the Rings movies, given that Lord of the Rings was great all the way through while Harry Potter took three to four movies before it became a genuine crowd pleaser. But back to Narnia. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opens with a scene of the German blitz of London in World War II, which forces parents all over the city to send their children away by train, including the parents, or rather just the mother of our four child heroes, the Pevensie siblings-- Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter. The fact that parents really did this during the war makes the film's title sequence all the more sad and it's accompanied by a rather melancholy song that I couldn't really make out the lyrics to, but was still very lovely to hear because it perfectly captures the feelings that these kids must have as they have to leave their parents with the possibility that they may never see them again. The performances are, on the whole, not entirely noteworthy, save for Tilda Swinton as the White Which, Jadis. Swinton plays her part superbly acting with an icy menace all throughout the movie. You really root for the good guys to get her because she has such a cold, cruel presence. Liam Neeson lends his voice to the lion, Aslan with a Godlike persona, which works because of the film's Christian spirit, personified by Aslan being Martyred by the Witch then rising from the dead to fulfill his purpose (which should please churchgoers). Aslan emanates a sense of someone who is gently confident and assured but can become formidable and dangerous at any time, especially when confronted by an enemy. The rest of the cast (including the talking animals) is alright, but they don't stand up to Swinton and Neeson, who sparkle in their roles. Director Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2) does a commendable job of capturing the book's Cristian spirit, espescially in the scene where Aslan goes up to Jadis to sacrifice himself in Edmund's place, where he's humiliated, shaved and finally stabbed by the witch, only to rise again in the morning (I admit though, I was a bit concerned about Santa Claus giving Lucy a dagger, given that she doesn't really use it and she doesn't even look old enough to be in grade school yet). However, he's far less successful with the film's special effects. All of the creatures in the movie, from the beavers, to the wolves, to Aslan, to a great many of the creatures in Aslan's army and the witch's army, and even a few of the digitalized environments look obviously computer-generated. Seeing as director Adamson was a veteran of the Shrek movies, which are entirely computer-animated, that could be one of the reasons as to why this is, but I think much of it has to do with many of the talking creatures in this movie being animals that we see in the real world. You might note that in animated movies, even computer-animated ones, animals like birds, fish, lions, horses, donkeys-basically any animal that exists in the real world, tend to have their faces and heads reshaped quite a bit so they can talk and show human expressions. Their faces become completely mobile, their jaws and mouths move properly to simulate human language, they have lips that move appropriately with their speech, they have vocal cords shown as lumps inside the throat that move when they speak, and their tongues move in different ways depending on what they're saying. This works in animated movies because the animals are cartoons, so you can make them look and move however you want, and it works even when you're animating an entirely made up creature, like a dragon, and integrating it into a live action movie because, likewise, you can make it look and move any way you want, though you might still want to go for the most realistic look possible because you're putting something that's not there in a real environment. However, animals that we know from the real world clearly just weren't made to talk like people, and seeing as the filmmakers realized that they needed to fully computer animate the animals to make their speech blend fluidly with the rest of their bodies, the end results just look fake. This, ultimately, makes me wonder as to why the Academy nominated this movie for a best visual effects Oscar. Both Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had far, far better special effects than this movie and I would have gladly traded this movie for one of those two for visual effects. The PG rating is also something to take note of as there are several violent and frightening moments in the movie that frequently feel as if they were watered down just to maintain appeal with the kids. The big battle at the end of the film for instance doesn't feel as visceral as a real battle might have been as the filmmakers include plenty of deaths, but no gore. Hmmm..... the Mouse House is toning down a movie filled with battles and fairly high violence just to make it appropriate for kids? Bad move. Doing so robs the movie of one crucial element to make it work- the sense that something vital is at stake. When the filmmakers or their studios decide to tone down the violence to a "comfortable" level, we get the sense that everything will be alright, that there's no real danger to the characters, so we watch in a bit of a detatched way, entertained by the action, if not involved in it because we don't quite connect with the situation. I wonder, though, if the series will eventually tilt over into a PG-13 rating with the possibility of an R rating looming over the final film much like the Harry Potter series. We'll have to see the remaining six Narnia movies to find out, and, like Harry Potter, we'll just have to see if The Chronicles of Narnia, in it's future, can cast a real spell over us. Expand
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6
ChristosMMar 18, 2009
If someone can ignore the dangerous political messages that linger under Lewis's writting,will enjoy Tilda Swinton's excellently acted Witch! What a great actress she is!And the visuals off course are absolutely satisfying!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
AliCDec 11, 2005
Ok, this may look like a British adaptation of a British novel, but Hollywood's grubby fingers are all over this irritating and at times unbearably schmalzy movie. Yes the special effects are good (particularly talking animals), but the Ok, this may look like a British adaptation of a British novel, but Hollywood's grubby fingers are all over this irritating and at times unbearably schmalzy movie. Yes the special effects are good (particularly talking animals), but the acting is bad and 6th form play cheesy. Like the earlier Harry Potter films, this is let down by child actors (perhaps surprisingly, particularly the older two), which begs the question: how is it possible for a CGI beaver to be more convincing and sympathetic than a real human being? And why didn't they just CGI the human parts too? Take your kids, but take a good book too (maybe something by CS Lewis). Expand
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5
johnw.Dec 11, 2005
I so much wanted this to be good. Long time fantasy reader. But this was not much better than the plodding British series, just spent A LOT more money on it. Very empty. Boring characters. Took the book too literal instead of becoming more I so much wanted this to be good. Long time fantasy reader. But this was not much better than the plodding British series, just spent A LOT more money on it. Very empty. Boring characters. Took the book too literal instead of becoming more cinematic in it's telling. Spent all this money on CG but the sets felt like stages. I thought the death and resurrection of Aslan was mishandled. Very disappointed. Has attempts at serious family dynamics, but forces them into the stiff plot. My nine year old liked it. I normally don't trash movies because they are so hard to make, but I was seriously underwhelmed by this production. Frankly, I'm just angry at all the wasted money and talent. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
oscare.Dec 12, 2005
Very predictable and slow.poor quality images,very poor digital landscapes,boring and long,what a waste of time!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
RussellDec 12, 2005
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe isn't one of my favorite stories, and the film is pretty much the same as the book. The film provides more context than the book, which is nice. While this TLWW seems like it is supposed to be a The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe isn't one of my favorite stories, and the film is pretty much the same as the book. The film provides more context than the book, which is nice. While this TLWW seems like it is supposed to be a moving story, it wasn't. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
DavidODec 13, 2005
After enduring long lines filled with eager children and and annoyed adults, I finally made it into the theater for the opening credits of this movie. Here's my recap of the movie: Zzzzzz . A total waste of time and money. If this movie After enduring long lines filled with eager children and and annoyed adults, I finally made it into the theater for the opening credits of this movie. Here's my recap of the movie: Zzzzzz . A total waste of time and money. If this movie had come out five years ago, I might have actually enjoyed this movie. But with films like the Harry Potter series and best of all the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one can't help but compare The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to these outstanding films. And when you do, The lion, the witch and the wardrobe only comes up mediocre. This films steels so much from previous films, it's not like watching a new movie. As a fan of the BOOK series, I can't help but be disgusted by the lost potential. Do yourself a favor and wait for King Kong to come out! Expand
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5
TimMDec 14, 2005
This movie kinda blew.... king kong was waaaaaay better. Narnia was boring and the f/x were kinda crappy, too. Can I use the word "contrived" for a fantasy picture.... i just did.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
DavidS.Jan 28, 2006
dull and lifeless. the books were not particularly for mature audiences... the movie is the same
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
SamJun 25, 2006
The movie was a masterpiece the first time I saw it. Gorgeous, thrilling, thought-provoking, and brilliant. The 2nd time around, however, was almost the opposite, save for some cool effects and scenes.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
BrianF.Dec 11, 2005
Narnia stumbles on many areas, but most of all simply on presentation. Everything is too mundane to be impressive as a fantasy, and too childish to be impressive as a legitimate work of fiction that strives for allegories. Only sparse Narnia stumbles on many areas, but most of all simply on presentation. Everything is too mundane to be impressive as a fantasy, and too childish to be impressive as a legitimate work of fiction that strives for allegories. Only sparse performances highlight this sleeper. Expand
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6
BenCDec 31, 2005
First off... WHAT RELIGIOUS OVERTONES? If you're holding off seeing this movie because of all the talk of religion being in it - don't, it's just hype by the media looking for something to say. Just because a character comes First off... WHAT RELIGIOUS OVERTONES? If you're holding off seeing this movie because of all the talk of religion being in it - don't, it's just hype by the media looking for something to say. Just because a character comes back from the dead doesn't mean it's a Jesus flick. How many movies have included a resurrection - why are we considering this one different? Why not the Terminator robot too? Because CS Lewis was religious? So what! Newsflash for all religious types seeing Jesus in Aslan... did big J ever raise an army (of talking beavers no less) and engage in violence? No. If it were really a parallel to Christian values Aslan would be peacefully walking the land teaching the animals how to love the wolves and minotaurs, etc. I think you projectionist folks may need to reread your material. You're discrediting both sources. Anyway - sorry had to get that off my chest. This is a decent fantasy adventure flick, but I totally agree with other assesments that the acting is poor and the character development scenes aren't there. Not too surprising since they're not really in the book either, but it was Adamson's chance to grow the story and sadly he didn't. As much as I love Liam Neeson, I would have prefered a different voicing for Aslan... that character is just not as powerful as he is in the book. And though it's true to the book (which is better) seeing Father Christmas hand out weapons to kids is just kinda weird. But then the whole story is. It's fun... with NO additional meanings to it than what you bring with you into the theatre. :) Expand
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6
CRLAug 12, 2011
This movie is a respectable and somewhat enjoyable attempt to bring C.S. Lewis's iconic series to life. Really, it's a decent job for something that naturally doesn't translate well from it's allegorical roots into the fast-paced andThis movie is a respectable and somewhat enjoyable attempt to bring C.S. Lewis's iconic series to life. Really, it's a decent job for something that naturally doesn't translate well from it's allegorical roots into the fast-paced and entertaining movie world. Expand
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6
AlienSpaceBatsMar 10, 2013
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).
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6
oxanaAug 28, 2014
While this movie is good, and the special effects are nothing to complain about, I think what bugs me most about this movie is the story - or rather, how they told it.

For one, we have four children stepping into a world of Narnia, of
While this movie is good, and the special effects are nothing to complain about, I think what bugs me most about this movie is the story - or rather, how they told it.

For one, we have four children stepping into a world of Narnia, of which they have never heard of. Thrown into a whirlwind of prophesies and the promises of a White Witch, they take it pretty strangely; part of the time the eldest (Peter and Susan, although mostly Susan) are a bit skeptical of the whole thing. And when they are suddenly being addressed as Kings and Queens, and handed weapons to fight a war that will determine the freedom of the people of Narnia, it seems they are suddenly stepping right into their roles.

Not to mention riding into war with next to no training at all...

Another thing was the war scene. This is a Disney movie, and a PG one of that. So, we're going to see "death", but there's no blood or actual details shown, and that really ruins the big fighting scene that is otherwise pretty brutal. Also, a lot of "artistic" choices like blurring the surroundings and focusing on a couple of people interacting... that just didn't work for me at all. Just another way to avoid the gore going on around.

Other than that, it is a great start for the following movies. A good story with strong themes like growing up and taking responsibility of your own actions and decisions.

An amazing soundtrack, too! I love to listen to it, and it's really fitting. Not too dramatic, not too loud. Just right.
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5
SpangleNov 16, 2016
If I were not as much of a killjoy when it came to family-oriented entertainment, The Chronicles of Narnia would have worked far better for me. However, the negatives simply are too much for me to ignore and write-off, in spite of the greatIf I were not as much of a killjoy when it came to family-oriented entertainment, The Chronicles of Narnia would have worked far better for me. However, the negatives simply are too much for me to ignore and write-off, in spite of the great positives of the film. A tale of faith and family, The Chronicles of Narnia is, above all else, a celebration of the imagination of children. Here, the film soars. Yet, it is bogged down by bad children actors, annoying children, and cliche storylines that have been around for 2,000 years and first recorded by the disciples.

Set during World War I, the film shows four children who are sent to the country to escape the bombing occurring in their hometown. While in the country, they stumble upon a wardrobe that leads to a magical land; Narnia. Unfortunately, Narnia is under the control of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton). However, Narnia's creator, Aslan the Lion (Liam Neeson), is set to team up with the four children - who were prophesied to be the saviors of the land - to rescue Narnia from tyranny. Throughout the film, there are obvious illusions that Aslan is Jesus and by illusions, of course, I mean a recreation of the crucifixion, resurrection, and prophecy that he will return once more to the land he created. While quite overt and barely hiding its pro-Christian inclinations, The Chronicles of Narnia are a refreshing look at Christianity in the modern world in some regards. A uniting force that instills the land with hope for those who believe in the prophecy, the film is one of the few to really invigorate and justify faith in the 21st Century.

Additionally, the film's sense of adventure and wonder is fantastic, emphasized by the cinematography. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also quite expansive. It highlights both the beauty and the grandeur of Narnia with great depth. This world truly comes to life due to the way in which it is shot. This sense of wonder is also matched by the inventiveness of the plot. While fawns, centaurs, and talking animals, are hardly original, The Chronicles of Narnia injects each with a sense of energy that really sets the stakes. In many ways, it also drives home the religious element of the film. Those that are God's creations - people (even half-people) and animals - have waited for specific sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to liberate them from those that are not of God, which in this film are the White Witch, evil dwarves, and the hideous beasts she has on her side.

The film does fall apart, however, when considering the acting. The kids are deplorably bad. While Tilda Swinton is magnificent and undeniably steals the show, the kids that surround her really leave a lot to be desired. Their characters are also written very poorly, especially Edmund. One of the most aggravating children characters ever, he knows the stakes, knows the witch will kill his family, and yet he still rats them out repeatedly for turkish delights. It defies logic and did not sit well with we in the least. I can see him ratting them out the first time. However, once he learns what it is going on and the stakes, I cannot buy that any child - no matter how bratty, annoying, and selfish - would do what Edmund did. If he were still in the dark, maybe, but not once he has seen what the witch was capable of doing. This is very lazy writing and exists merely to try and raise the stakes, while setting up the crucifixion of Aslan. Given how ham-fisted that was anyways, it is probably something that could have been skipped.

Additionally, the battle sequence is quite superfluous. As in all fantasy films of this type, there must be a battle. I wish there were one film that did not do this and instead overturned the tyranny without bloodshed in this fashion. It is just so cliche and overdone at this point. Unfortunately for The Chronicles of Narnia, though flaming arrows turning into phoenix is quite cool looking, its battle is quite ineffectual. Even worse, it is predictable and cliche. Each moment comes with the subtly of a punch to the face. What makes the battle worse is that once Aslan is resurrected, the realization that there are no stakes (it is impossible to die) really kills any tension in the battle. It may make it more family friendly, but as a film, it really does not work well.

In spite of overt religious recreations that reveal the thematic elements with no subtly whatsoever, bad child actors, and a useless battle sequence, The Chronicles of Narnia can be a fun and inventive film that introduces one great character: the White Witch. In a darker and more adult film, having Tilda Swinton in a role such as this would be the beginnings of a perfect film. Here, however, she is largely wasted.
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5
SeriosityNov 4, 2012
The fantasy aspect is very dull and weak and the action is underwhelming. It is not completely devoid of entertainment value, but it is too safe and contrived.
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ballpark_frankNov 24, 2012
I sort of like this movie, but might appreciate it more if/when I read the book (and the rest of the Narnia Chronicles). It's not hard to notice the 'Biblical overtones', which to my understanding the author didn't go out of his way toI sort of like this movie, but might appreciate it more if/when I read the book (and the rest of the Narnia Chronicles). It's not hard to notice the 'Biblical overtones', which to my understanding the author didn't go out of his way to include, but also didn't try to disguise the connection. But, placing that aside, it's a cute story about four kids who discover an alternate universe/world, full of magical beings and talking creatures. I thought the special effects were pretty decent, and almost 'believable'. The background scenery is beautiful, which should be a clue to the plot to come. There's an evil being - the White Witch - who's trying to, well, take over the world. It's up to the four children, along with the friends they've made along the way, to stop her. Of course, there's also the primary 'hero', the Lion Aslan - the representation of good. It's also, on another level, a coming-of-age story for the four children. Overall, I'd say this is a decent family film - and for anyone who's concerned about the religious aspects, I'd say: Give it a rest, just enjoy it for it's story. IMHO, if children are old enough to be influenced by anything in this film, then they're also old enough to actually make up their own minds as to what they will take away from viewing this. Expand
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6
HypocriticsDec 24, 2014
I'll start off with the bad. The acting was, for the most part, sub-par and heavily reliant on child actors. The story seemed rushed from beginning to end, which was especially unfortunate when the filmakers expected Edmund to go from 0 toI'll start off with the bad. The acting was, for the most part, sub-par and heavily reliant on child actors. The story seemed rushed from beginning to end, which was especially unfortunate when the filmakers expected Edmund to go from 0 to Hero in a half hour. The battle scenes were corny, to say the least, with a severe limitation on realistic gore/violence due to the PG rating. The choreography in these battles was poor as well; almost laughably so.

However, the film had its moments of brilliance. The more intimate scenes, such as Lucy first passing into Narnia, were excellent. The soundtrack was fitting, adding spice to even the most banal scenes. The story itself, of course, is a creative piece of genius. Aslan and the White Witch, fortunately, were not among the rookie actors.

All things considered, a very average movie that had the potential to be great.
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