This long awaited movie was hyped up in the media for months before the actual release date. I’m certain it made millions of dollars and to be fair, the movie wasn’t bad. Most people gave it rave reviews – except those of us who had viewed and/or own the BBC version of the .
C.S. Lewis’s classic novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe makes an ambitious and long-awaited leap to the screen in this modern adaptation. It’s a CGI-created world laden with all the special effects and visual wizardry modern filmmaking technology can conjure, which is fine so long as the film stays true to the story that Lewis wrote. And while this film is not a literal translation–it really wants to be so much more than just a kids’ movie–for the most part it is faithful enough to the story, and whatever faults it has are happily faults of overreaching, and not of holding back.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tells the story of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, and their adventures in the mystical world of Narnia. Sent to the British countryside for their own safety during the blitz of World War II, they discover an entryway into a mystical world through an old wardrobe. Narnia is inhabited by mythical, anthropomorphic creatures suffering under the hundred-year rule of the cruel White Witch, (Tilda Swinton, in a standout role). The arrival of the children gives the creatures of Narnia hope for liberation, and all are dragged into the inevitable conflict between evil (the Witch) and good (Aslan the Lion, the Messiah figure, regally voiced by Liam Neeson).
While I must admit the graphic cinematography was outstanding. The story line was butchered beyond reason. The characters were not fully developed, lacked depth and didn’t really touch the viewer on a personal level.
In the 1988 version produced by the BBC, the viewer was drawn into the story; the characters came alive on the screen. The learned professor had some very well delivered and memorable lines. Lucy, in the BBC version, was a memorable character that stole the show, she did an outstanding job as the youngest child, delivering her lines with conviction and sincerity.
If the two movie versions could be combined (let’s face it: technology in the late 80s was not what it is today), this movie would be a timeless classic bar none. The basic plot is the same, and both follow the books pretty close, but the story line in the BBC version wins hands down over the newer, highly acclaimed version.
If you haven’t seen the BBC version, (easily 4 stars) please do. See if you don’t agree.
- The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe Study Guide – Free PDF download