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5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 638 Ratings

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  1. Apr 23, 2015
    7
    As the bean counters toil, Eustace waits. So does Jill. And Polly and Digory, too. Walden Media has optioned all seven of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books, but whether the other six (or, more likely, five - since The Horse and His Boy seems an unlikely choice to film) make it to the screen will depend heavily on how much money The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earns. If the movieAs the bean counters toil, Eustace waits. So does Jill. And Polly and Digory, too. Walden Media has optioned all seven of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books, but whether the other six (or, more likely, five - since The Horse and His Boy seems an unlikely choice to film) make it to the screen will depend heavily on how much money The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earns. If the movie scores big with audiences, we will likely be watching Prince Caspian in another two or three years.

    This marks the fifth time that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been adapted, but the first time it has been accomplished as a major motion picture. The first version was a radio play done while C.S. Lewis was still alive. The second, a 10-part TV series, was produced a few years after his death. There was also a 1979 animated edition, and a three-hour interpretation made for British TV in 1988. The only new things that Andrew Adamson's adaptation brings to the table are better production values and more impressive special effects. There is a tendency to say that this The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is redundant.

    The film is geared primarily toward a younger audience and parents who want to have something to see with their brood. Those expecting the epic scope and depth of The Lord of the Rings will be disappointed. Both sagas are fantasies, and both feature dramatic battle scenes, but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is sanitized. The conflict of armies is sketched rather than developed, and many of the themes are presented in easily digestible chunks. Lewis' book was a short, clear-cut fairy tale aimed at children. The movie adopts this tone and approach. It is faithful to the author's vision, and that represents both a strength (for those who have appropriate expectations) and a weakness (for those who are anticipating something more in line with The Lord of the Rings - as hinted at by the commercials).

    The film, despite having come out of the same New Zealand workshop that did such an excellent job bringing The Lord of the Rings to life, lacks the same degree of technical polish. Little glitches in the special effects can be seen from time-to-time. The most persistent of these is the look of Aslan, who never appears real. He looks like a computer-generated lion. If one wishes to view Aslan as "more" than a big cat, then one could consider the "unrealness" to be an asset. To me, it looked like the computer animators couldn't quite get it right. Also, I have to question the decision to use Liam Neeson's voice. Although Neeson has perfect diction, he lacks the "booming" quality that would have leant the lion's voice added authority.

    My biggest reservations relate to the climactic battle scene. Lewis spent little time in the book describing this. It is, after all, a children's story. For the movie, director Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2) and his team decide to show a clash between armies in which hundreds of creatures are killed but, in doing this, they avoid blood and gore. It becomes a clean, perfunctory war, and that's an odd and unsatisfying approach. If we're going to be shown a battle, the entire thing should be depicted in its ugliness. Instead we get a cleaned-up version with plenty of "look away" edits. It gets the movie its desired PG rating.

    Some scenes in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (such as the one featuring Father Christmas) are childish. Others (which I will not mention here to avoid providing spoilers) are poignant. The film's central tragedy is handled with sensitivity, and tears will flow. On balance, more of the movie works than doesn't, but this isn't 140 minutes of unqualified successes.

    The acting is fine, although lacking in the recognition category. The biggest stars are Tilda Swinton and Jim Broadbent, neither of whom would be considered a "household name." Swinton does a good job boosting the evil quotient of her character, while Broadbent's part qualifies as little more than a heavily made-up cameo. As previously mentioned, Liam Neeson has a sizeable vocal part. Also lending their voices are Rupert Everett and Ray Winstone. Three of the four children are portrayed by actors in their first major roles. Only Anna Popplewell has a prior resume.

    It's difficult to determine how audiences will react to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Those expecting something in the vein of Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings will not be satisfied. Much has been made about the movie's "Christian connections." However, while it's true that Lewis' books are allegorical (with Aslan representing Christ), the movie doesn't hammer home this point.
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  2. Mar 16, 2015
    2
    This is not my LOTR. This movie so close with harry blooper and bit better than twilight but not for oscar best picture such as LOTR trilogy. Yes the chronicles of narnia is decent and worth watching. Far from my expectation because LOTR and narnia has the same story, about war in other world.
  3. Jan 31, 2015
    10
    The film is simply brilliant. Tilda Swinton plays the White Witch to perfection. It is a family friendly film with Lord of The Rings action scenes that was not expected. This is a must see.
  4. Dec 24, 2014
    6
    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 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. TheI'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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  5. Nov 9, 2014
    7
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starts off an inevitable saga with finesse, entertaining audiences with something exciting and refreshing.
  6. Aug 28, 2014
    6
    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
    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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  7. Aug 9, 2014
    5
    Certainly inspired by a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter defining influence on the fantasy genre back in the 2000s, "Narnia" does not feel original. It's not about its Christian concept, it's about the fact that it never manages to get its audience refreshed by a Narnia world. It rather sticks to what people are used to due to other films. There are some enjoyable moments, but overallCertainly inspired by a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter defining influence on the fantasy genre back in the 2000s, "Narnia" does not feel original. It's not about its Christian concept, it's about the fact that it never manages to get its audience refreshed by a Narnia world. It rather sticks to what people are used to due to other films. There are some enjoyable moments, but overall the result is irritating because of many clich├ęs and some weak performances, which make everything hardly convincing. Expand
  8. 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.
  9. Feb 22, 2014
    5
    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.
  10. Jan 31, 2014
    8
    A movie case worth and privileged to have on the shelf. It's a child's fantasy escape and an overall thematic tale of biblical proportions, made to share with believers or movielovers. The problem with Narnia is the magical feel toward this fantasy world is not enduring. It'll put a smile on your face, but it's no Lord of the Rings or Pan's Labyrinth.
  11. Nov 29, 2013
    9
    It was a very nice movie. It really does have quite an outstanding storyline full of fantasy. The music is absolutely exceptional. It is children's movie that is great for everybody.
  12. Nov 29, 2013
    7
    It might feel like a kid version of Lord of the Rings but Narnia provides on its own behalf with its grand imagery and fantastical world and characters.
  13. Jul 18, 2013
    10
    A wonderful fantasy film that sticks very closely to the classic novel on which it is based. The acting is great, the music is inspiring, the action is epic- over all this film is a grand addition to the fantasy genre and a classic film adaption that is very, very enjoyable and spiritual.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. 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. 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 meantI 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! Expand
  17. Nov 24, 2012
    5
    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 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 alternateI 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
  18. Nov 4, 2012
    5
    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.
  19. Sep 11, 2012
    8
    I really loved this movie. It's like the start and the marvelous introduction to a saga that will surely be the next Harry Potterish phenomenon! it is not boring, it is not tedious, it is not for the faint of heart and truly, it is something that cannot be lost for sure. Definetly, not one of the movies you wanna miss!
  20. Apr 3, 2012
    4
    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.
  21. Apr 1, 2012
    8
    I don't know about the book, but this movie has a great story and a good heart at its core. It is just about everything you could want in a fantasy movie.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Mar 7, 2012
    4
    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 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 manyYet 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
  25. HMW
    Mar 7, 2012
    9
    This movie was so great, it is now my favorite move. It went almost exactly by the book and it felt like I was actually reading the book while I was watching the movie. The movie had fantasy, comedy, action , and everything else that makes a great movie. I would recommend it to anyone.
  26. Feb 24, 2012
    7
    "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the first film in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series of books in which this film was adapted from. The special effects in this movie are beauteous but It's the landscapes which are simply breathtaking. The acting from the children is nothing special but Tilda Swinton manages to convincingly portray the White Witch as the horrible **** she was in the"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the first film in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series of books in which this film was adapted from. The special effects in this movie are beauteous but It's the landscapes which are simply breathtaking. The acting from the children is nothing special but Tilda Swinton manages to convincingly portray the White Witch as the horrible **** she was in the novel and I must make mention of Liam Neeson who was an excellent choice as the voice of Aslan. I would recommend reading the book first however. Expand
  27. 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 centralThe 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
  28. Nov 24, 2011
    9
    Incredible story. In my opinion a masterpiece within its genre. This first entry into the world of Narnia is simply amazing. You can't go wrong with this movie, good for all ages.
  29. Nov 5, 2011
    10
    It's magical, beautifully scored, impressively designed and well acted. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a worthy companion to it's classical novel of the same name. 4/4 stars.
  30. Oct 9, 2011
    8
    The technical aspects (makeup, art direction, costumes) are the best part and the adaptation doesn't let you down. Add good acting and jaw-dropping visual effects and you have the best film of the series so far.
  31. 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 blockbusters provide.
  32. CRL
    Aug 12, 2011
    6
    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 and entertaining movie world.
  33. Mar 3, 2011
    7
    This movie is the 2nd best in the series, not only is it a good series opener, it would be a good closer too, but they did not make it like that. I liked all the war action and stuff
  34. 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.
  35. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    Okay. anyone who hates this movie are taking things way too seriously. first, some of you hated the second Harry Potter movie and you gave the same score like this one? guys, what the heck? THIS MOVIE IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!! the characters were supporting, the storyline was great, and the source material is brilliant which makes this movie a top-notch fantasy adventure movie for fans of Narnia.
  36. Aug 22, 2010
    5
    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.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. What is lightly sketched in the novel, where much is left to the imagination, blossoms into full-blown, richly detailed life in the movie.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.