Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Premise: An adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ children’s book about the four British children who travel to a magical world where they lead the forces of good in a battle against the forces of darkness.
What Works: The film has a similar flavor to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is lighter and more family friendly. Its battle scenes are largely bloodless and cut away from the carnage, which is consistent with the tone of the picture. The film is successfully dramatic without falling into some of the traps of this genre such as overdosing on special effects or getting sentimental. The best performance by far is Tilda Swinton as The White Witch. With a minimum of screen time she is able to be threatening by effectively underplaying the role.
What Doesn’t: This is fundamentally a children’s film and adults may find some of the fantasy wanting. As is true of its source material, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has an oversimplified view of good and evil. Some of the major turning points and revelations do not have the proper pacing and lose out on some of their dramatic potential.
Bottom Line: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fun fantasy film that should be enjoyed by fans of C.S. Lewis’ books and by fans of the fantasy genre. Although some elements are underwhelming, the story is solid enough and the action is exciting enough that the picture is entertaining.
Episode: #78 (December 18, 2005)