Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (dir. Andrew Adamson, 2005)

narnia-lionwitch-lucytumnusTHE LION, the Witch and the Wardrobe is about four children who discover a magical country while staying in a professor’s house, far from their home, during World War II. They enter this country, called Narnia, through a secret portal in the back of a giant closet. And once they get there, they discover that their arrival is the fulfillment of an old prophecy.

Narnia, the Pevensie children learn, has been shrouded in snow and ice for a full century; it is a land where it is always winter but never Christmas, thanks to an evil would-be queen called the White Witch. But it is prophesied that, one day, two boys and two girls will come to Narnia and take their place as the rightful kings and queens of that land.

Do the children ever raise any objections to this news? Does one of them ever stop to say, “Hold on a minute, what if we don’t want to fulfill somebody else’s prophecy?”

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Narnia’s Screen History

narnia1988-2When The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe opens on December 9, it’ll be Aslan’s first trip to the big screen — but not to the small one. A closer look at earlier Narnia renditions

At last, in less than two weeks, The Chronicles of Narnia will appear on the big screen for the first time ever. However, this much-hyped movie does not quite mark the first time that cameras have rolled on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The book, first published in 1950, has been dramatized at least three times before — but always for television.

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Wardrobe’s magic ready to appear in early December

narnia-lionwitch-aslanThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe almost began in California, not England. The Pevensie children were almost sent to the professor’s house because of an earthquake, or because Edmund stole a compact disc and not because of the air raids during the Second World War. And the White Witch almost gave Edmund a cheeseburger and fries, not Turkish delight.

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Fantasies and fairy tales speak to our spiritual needs

MAGIC is everywhere you look these days. From bookstores to movie theatres, stories about wizards, witches and mythological beasts are all the rage; and for a person like me, who grew up with hobbits, aliens, flying horses and Jedi Knights, the current fantasy craze — and the various Christian responses to it — bring back a lot of memories.

How popular is fantasy right now? The most successful movie of the year (so far) is Shrek, a cheeky parody of the fairy tale genre that turns conventional wisdom about ogres, dragons and beautiful princesses on its head. That film’s box office performance could be surpassed in a few weeks by Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first film based on J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular novels about a young orphan and his classmates at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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