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'Narnia' - It's not like the book, but it's not bad

December 13, 2005|by NELL BARBER and FEDORA COPLEY

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"; rated PG; 140 minutes.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is based on a popular children's book by C.S. Lewis. The story is about four children who, during the bombing of London in World War II, are shipped off to a distant relative's mansion. While playing games in the house, they discover a wardrobe with a hidden gate to a magical world which is ruled by an evil witch.

Nell: Though there are differences in the movie from the book, they kept to the same plot, and did a good job with what they had. Director Andrew Adamson fills the film with action, suspense, and fantasy.

Fedora: Not having read the books myself - though I did see an earlier movie version - I can't really say if it follows the book well. But by itself, "The Chronicles of Narnia" was a good movie. The acting of the four kids, Skandar Keynes (Edmund), Georgie Henley (Lucy), William Moseley (Peter) and Anna Popplewell (Susan), is generally believable, though some of their facial expressions are repetitive.

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Nell: The rest of the cast, including James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus the faun, Tilda Swinton as the White Witch, and Jim Broadbent as the children's distant relative, act well, but a few characters, including the White Witch are a bit different from how they appear in the book.

Fedora: The dialogue is pretty good. Plots and subplots - why things are the way they are - are fully explained. If people haven't read the book, they don't need to to understand what's happening.

Nell: There are also a few humorous lines randomly dropped in throughout the movie that don't really fit, but are funny nevertheless.

The costumes are very good. In the beginning, they portray the mid-1900s children's clothing style well, and the fantasy outfits that appear in the magical world, Narnia, really set the scene well.

Fedora: I really liked the scenery in the scenes, from the ethereal forest, to the scrubby grasslands, and Stonehenge-style areas. It really showed that there was a broad range of landforms and habitats in Narnia. It reflected what was happening in the scene.

Nell: I also like the spread of fantastical creatures, from the scary and slightly disgusting followers of the evil witch to the noble army on the side of Narnia. There are goblins, giant bison, centaurs and pig-like creatures in this mix.

The soundtrack doesn't really play a big part in the movie, though it seems to work well. The parts of the plot that jump out at me are the huge battle scene - like in "The Lord of the Rings," - and the dramatic betrayals. Overall, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, despite its faults.

Fedora: I think that people who are fans of the books should definitely see this movie, but don't be surprised if you're disappointed. It's a little more streamlined than what it could be.

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