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

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

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 611 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
    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
    The movie is a leaden, slow-moving beast.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 223
  1. AdamD
    Dec 10, 2005
    An amazing movie.
  2. AllisonC.
    Dec 31, 2005
    I love this movie so much. It's sad,happy and funny all at the same time. I just feel like seeing it again and again.
  3. Feb 9, 2011
    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
  4. GeoffH.
    Dec 9, 2005
    Excellent cinematography and character development. The slight changes that were made from the book worked well, overall it was a fantastic movie for both kids and adults! Would have like it to be a bit longer, but it is well worth seeing, especially if you're already a fan of the story. Expand
  5. AlfonsoL.
    Jan 7, 2006
    Aun no he leido los libros, y aunque sencilla, la pelicula me parece bastante entretenida, la vi 2 veces (como con 15 dias de diferencia) y mantuve el interes en ambas oportunidades. Expand
  6. Nov 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 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. Collapse
  7. LukeE
    Dec 13, 2005
    Absolutely devoid of talent or... well, that's it. Shots and film editing were handled like a freshman at film school, and the special effects looked like stock animations (and at times, b.g. images seemed prerendered liked a Hitchcock car ride). The costumes were shabby, as though taken from the dressing room of a community theatre, polished up, and dry-cleaned before shooting. And beginning with an air raid? For a moment I thought I had entered the wrong theatre. I'm not sure who approved this script, but fire them. No clear plot structre, a desperate hook (air raid) -- I'm not even sure which scene was intended to be the climax. It's a very casual, classic structure Lewis used, and for any writer to find it hard to adapt is simply laughable -- as is this film. A simple fantasy should not be handled as an epic. It only makes it sluggish. Oh, I'd nearly forgotten the grating soundtrack! Were the sound editor's headphones broken that he continued cranking up the score? Or was this an experiment in cramming unwanted emotion into the audience's ears and hoping to reach our bored little hearts? Expand

See all 223 User Reviews