The classic C.S. Lewis novel comes to the big screen as siblings Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan travel to the land of Narnia. These children must flee London, England amid Axis bomber attacks during World War II. Their mother sends her children to a rural mansion owned by Professor Kirke, played by Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent.
At the mansion, the children discover a magical world behind the wardrobe in one of the mansion’s room. Georgie Henley has a strong performance as Lucy, the youngest sibling, befriends Thomas, a fawn creature living in Narnia.
This friendship provides the initial bridge between the two worlds and establishes the deep, emotional attachment of the audience to the characters. Lucy embodies the ideal goodness and moral instincts people can have. She immediately takes action to help those in need instead of making things easier for herself and decreasing her involvement in Narnia fearing she’ll never return home.
Skandar Keynes plays the temperamental Edmund and Anna Popplewell plays Susan. Peter, played by William Moseley, takes on great responsibility as the oldest child and an important leader amid the growing conflict in the land of Narnia between good and evil. These four siblings get caught in an increasingly dangerous predicament as the antagonists of Narnia discover how these children can ruin their evil reign on Narnia.
This film is beautifully visualized thanks to director Andrew Adamson (Shrek and Shrek 2) and veteran cinematographer Donald McAlpine. The gradual environmental changes and animal characters enhance the plot well, especially Aslan the lion, which features a memorable voice performance by Liam Neeson. The editing could’ve used smoother transitions in the middle of the plot as the children travel to meet Aslan. The children also encounter the White Witch, well played by Tilda Swinton.
This film goes deeper than your standard popcorn movie by establishing a deep narrative and characters you really care about thanks to the quality source material. Highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and PG for fantasy violence and some scary moments.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler