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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Coming out of the closet in Narnia

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 15, 2005 -- This is an exceptional family film about four children magically transported to a fantasy kingdom where they find themselves in the middle of a war between the powers of good and evil. It is based on the classic book by C.S. Lewis and faithfully preserves its Christian allegorical structure. The movie features magical images, a compelling story and solid acting.

The four brothers and sisters, Lucy (played by Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell of “Girl With a Pearl Earring”) Pevensie, are sent away from the city which is under air attack by Germany during World War II. They end up in the country estate of the mysterious Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent of “Vanity Fair”). Upon entering a closet, they are magically transported to Narnia, where animals can talk and mythical creatures, like Satyrs, Fawns, Centaurs, Dwarves and Gryphons, all exist. The children find themselves caught in the middle of a war between good and evil.

Events compel them to fulfill a Narnian prophesy about ending the reign of darkness in the land that has persisted for 100 years. The acting skills demonstrated by the four young actors are solid. Tilda Swinton of “Broken Flowers,” who plays the wicked witch, is deliciously evil. Also good is Scottish actor James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus, a faun who reluctantly puts himself in jeopardy in order to protect Lucy from the wrath of the wicked witch.

The movie has a lots of action scenes and impressive special effects. The action often takes place amid sweeping landscapes of great beauty (some scenes were filmed in Poland, the Czech Republic, England and New Zealand). The big battle scenes may be a little too intense for younger children. Most kids will love this film, however, because children are at the center of the story and are more important than the adults. In a way, it is a coming of age story in that the children must learn about courage, responsibility and the consequences of their actions. The film teaches a number of moral lessons, and the way it does that is not as obvious as you might think. The Christian allegory of the tale is clear enough, complete with sacrifice, death and resurrection, but the film doesn't rub your nose in it. The story is strong and compelling. The film also cleverly works World War II into the story, arguably another battle between good and evil. Digital effects are numerous in this film, but they serve the story, rather than dominate it. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2005 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)