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Movie review

Narnia fantasy vivid, rich - and creepy

By BILLY NORRIS
Published December 12, 2005


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

RATING: PG for battle sequences and frightening moments

SUMMARY: The Pevensie children are sent away by their mother after raids during World War II make London too dangerous. Taking up temporary residence with a reclusive old man and his maid at a mansion in the countryside, Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Peter (William Moseley) are stricken with boredom and worry about the uncertainty of their future. In a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy finds a wardrobe (read: big walk-in closet) to hide in. In it, she stumbles into a mystical winter world, where she befriends a faun named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) and learns of the plight of the land called Narnia. It is threatened by the White Witch (Tilda Swinton), who dethroned the great lion king, Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson) and condemned Narnia to eternal winter. Lucy leaves the wardrobe and convinces her skeptical siblings of Narnia's existence. They all go into the wardrobe and learn of the prophecy that foretold the coming of two "sons of Adam" and two "daughters of Eve" to save Narnia. Hunted by the witch and rallied by the inhabitants of the magical land, the four set out to fulfill the prophecy and restore order.

MY VIEW: This is one of those films that is open to different interpretations. Based on the C.S. Lewis novel (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) published in 1950, this magical story can be viewed as the fairy tale it appears to be, or you can draw from the greater underlying biblical allusion to the story of Christ. This film is really a significant accomplishment, blending the timeless tale's mysticism with all-around savvy filmmaking. The cinematography is stunning and visually enticing, and the vividness and richness of the scenery captures the fantasy of the story. I was surprised, however, by the creepiness that hangs over so much of the plot. A gruesomely violent and drawn out Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars battle sequence is the vehicle that carries us to the resolution of the main conflict - I definitely don't remember that chapter in the book. Although it has a bit of trouble getting off the ground, once the action shifts to Narnia, it takes off and never looks back.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Be careful with younger kids who frighten easily - the violence may catch them off guard. But this is a great family flick.

GRADE: A-

Billy Norris, 18, is in 12th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the X-Team.

[Last modified December 9, 2005, 11:42:05]


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